Some public health measures are likely to remain in place until the end of the year, the deputy CMO has warned.
Speaking at this evening’s public health briefing, Dr Ronan Glynn said that while he was hopeful around 80% of the population will have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of June, some level of public health restrictions would likely need to remain in place until the end of this year.
“I think there will be some element of public health measures in place, but I would hope that it will be a lot closer to what we have understood to be normal,” he said.
“Hopefully we are not far away from the point where we can have much less focus on these measures.”
One further Covid-19-related death and 687 new cases of the virus were reported by Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) officials tonight.
The total number of Covid-19-related deaths reported in Ireland now stands at 4,319, while the total number of cases confirmed here since the pandemic began is now 220,273.
Dr Ronan Glynn said that while the number of daily cases and the number of people in hospital and critical care remain high, the country was continuing to make progress in driving down test positivity rates through vaccinations and adhering to health guidelines.
As of Friday, February 26, 426,070 doses of Covid-19 had been administered in the State.
285,780 people had received their first dose, while a further 140,290 people have been fully vaccinated.
"In the last 24 hours, we have had no new admissions to critical care, the first time this has happened since St Stephen’s Day," he said.
"This is one more tangible signal of the efforts that people continue to make and how those efforts are impacting positively on the trajectory of Covid-19 in Ireland.
"Please stick with this over the coming weeks."
- 352 are men;
- 334 are women;
- 71% are under 45 years of age;
- The median age is 30 years old;
- 240 are located in Dublin;
- 49 are in Limerick;
- 44 are in Offaly;
- 40 are in Galway;
- 36 are in Louth;
- and the remaining 278 cases are spread across 19 other counties.
The national 14-day incidence rate of the virus here is now 209.2 per 100,000 population.
The seven-day incidence rate is 95.9, and the five-day moving average is 684.
540 people with Covid-19 were hospitalised as of 8am this morning, of whom 120 were in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
An additional 14 hospitalisations have been recorded in the last 24 hours.
The HPSC said that validation of data has resulted in the denotificaiton of one death. The figure of 4,319 deaths noted above reflects this.
Validation of data at the HPSC has also resulted in the denotification of six confirmed cases. The figure of 220,273 confirmed cases above reflects these denotifications.
Professor Pete Lunn, Head of the Behavioural Research Unit at the Economic and Social Research Institute, Professor Pete Lunn told the public health briefing that new data from the Department of Health and the ESRI had offered insight into how people are coping with the current prolonged period of restrictions.
"The evidence shows that while people are finding it tough going, the large majority (79%) believe that preventing the spread of Covid-19 is more important than the burden of restrictions. Just 10% disagree," Prof Lunn said.
He said that this pattern helps to explain how measures of compliance had been rising in recent weeks and months, "despite the frustrations that people feel."
“Just because we feel a particular way, does not mean that this feeling dictates our behaviour. Rather, the large majority of people in Ireland support the restrictions and are sticking to them, despite the frustrations," he said.
Prof Lunn said the new data also showed "systematic misperceptions" about social activity.
"Half the adult population does not meet up with anyone outside their household over a 48-hour period, with less than one quarter meeting up with three or more," he said.
"Yet these more socially active people believe that they are meeting fewer people than average. There is a clear misperception."
He said that most people were of the belief that others were enjoying more of a social life than they are, and that those who most socially active at present do not realise it.
"The finding is important, and we need to try to correct this misperception. When people appreciate effort being made by others, they typically become more likely to follow,” he added.