Vaccine news 'not a time for celebration' as 270 new Covid-19 cases confirmed

Vaccine news 'not a time for celebration' as 270 new Covid-19 cases confirmed

Dr Tony Holohan. File picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

There has been one further death related to Covid-19, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has announced.

There have also been 270 new cases of the virus in Ireland.

The figures come as the Chief Medical Officer urged caution after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said a vaccine it is developing was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 1,948 while the total number of cases in Ireland is now 65,659.

103 of today's cases are in Dublin with 34 in Limerick and 20 in Donegal.

There are 12 cases in Cork, 9 in Kerry, 9 in Kilkenny and the remaining 83 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

Nphet reported that of today's cases:

  • 143 are men / 127 are women 
  • 69% are under 45 years of age 
  • The median age is 34 years old.

Health officials confirmed that as of 2pm today, there are 291 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 39 are in ICU. There has been 12 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Desmond Hickey said over the past 14 days, 7,665 Covid-19 cases have been notified.

The national 14-day incident rate is now 161 cases per 100,000 population.

Dr Hickey said of the cases notified in the past fortnight the median age was 35 and the mean age was 37.

Dr Hickey said: “We are continuing to see a worsening disease profile in many countries in Europe over the last number of weeks, and Ireland remains notable in its overall progress in reducing disease transmission and incidence.” Dr Hickey said Ireland now ranks 28th out of 31 European countries in terms of 14-day incidence rate, according to ECDC data.

He added that 25 out of 31 countries now have a 14-day incidence rate greater than 200.

Seventeen countries have a 14-day incidence rate greater than 500.

“Only three countries have seen a decrease in 14-day incidence compared with the previous 14 days. These are Belgium, Malta and Ireland, and Ireland has been the greatest improvement with 43% reduction in its 14-day incidence compared with the previous two weeks,” he said.

Some 64% of cases were in people under 45 and 11% of cases were in people aged 65 years or older.

Earlier, it was revealed that the first community transmitted case of Covid-19 in Ireland had 780 close or casual contacts.

The case was detected at Cork University Hospital (CUH) in March this year.

It has since been revealed that the patient in question had presented with symptoms at CUH four days before any cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland.

Vaccine

The figures come as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech have said their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.

File picture.
File picture.

The results are based on the first interim analysis of Phase 3 of the study, and evaluated 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in trial participants.

The study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed, the companies report.

They add that safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan described the progress being made on a vaccine as “positive” but he cautioned people not to get their hopes up.

He warned it was too early to start celebrating.

“It is hopeful, but certainly not a time for celebration,” Dr Holohan said, adding that people need to be reminded to adhere to the public health measures currently in place.

Medical virologist Dr Cillian De Gascun said the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine trial was a positive development but he said there would be logistical challenges to its rollout.

“It is not going to be the global solution but it is certainly a positive first step,” he said.

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