The Department of Health has been notified of 1,346 new cases of Covid-19. The number of people in hospital with the virus now stands at 315, up four
The Department of Health has been notified of 1,346 new cases of Covid-19.
The number of people in hospital with the virus now stands at 315, up four since yesterday
The number of people in ICU with the virus is 59, up one since yesterday.
HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid has said that 45% of Covid-19 cases in the past week were among those aged between 0-18 years.
However, he said that transmission rates in schools remain lower than in the community.
Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme, he said that the best thing for children is for them to remain in school.
Mr Reid said that 12,000 children out of school as close contacts is a relatively small number out of one million school children.
Responding to suggestions that Covid-19 could spread rapidly among school children, Mr Reid said that the HSE does not expect most under 12s to be infected with Covid-19 by the spring.
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Writing on Twitter, the Chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said that the concerns are based on an uncritical interpretation of modelling from the US, which depends on an unrealistic scenario.
A lot of commentary saying that most or all schoolchildren will be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the coming months, based on an uncritical reading of this modelling study. It is highly unlikely that the scenario modelled will happen in the real world. 1/12https://t.co/AlMbCNWgK8 pic.twitter.com/tNrQtZfEQh
— Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) September 12, 2021
Prof Nolan said that the model depends on assumptions which are very different to the real-world experience of the virus.
He said that the average reproductive number of the virus in schools is below 1, though this may rise due to the Delta variant spreading more easily than previously dominant variants of the virus.
Prof Nolan said “increased transmissibility of Delta might bring in-school reproduction number above 1, making it more challenging to manage outbreaks, so it is prudent to be conservative in isolating close contacts until we are assured in-school transmission remains low with Delta”.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor programme earlier, Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh said modelling in the US shows that the Delta variant is highly transmissible and that without mask wearing in primary schools, the virus will continue to spread.
She said that mask wearing and better ventilation is needed in schools to prevent further spread.
“We need to face facts and have an honest discussion… to focus in on what kids need” to protect their health and education, she said.
While many children will not become very unwell, she said, a small percentage of children will experience severe illness.
She said that keeping schools open is essential, but that aggressive contact tracing is no longer happening at schools.
“I don’t think we are really trying to stop the spread [of disease] in primary schools… it’s not possible to do that within an unventilated classroom with 30 kids not wearing masks”.
Dr Ní Cheallaigh said that while vaccines are not yet being administered to those aged under 12, mitigating the risk of infection needs to be considered in primary schools, and expressed concern over the potential impact of long Covid in children.
Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, a further 1,031 confirmed cases have been recorded, as well as six deaths.