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Delta variant still haunts Ireland; Rise in number of double-vaccinated people being treated for COVID-19

DUBLIN: The COVID-19 threat is still looming over Ireland, with 314 individuals being treated in hospitals for the virus, a 55% rise over the previous day and the highest number since the end of March. The number of people in ICU has increased by five to 59.

It comes as the Department of Health confirmed 1,485 new COVID-19 cases in the Republic yesterday. HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid said the latest COVID-19 figures show that the “threat is still very real.”

Almost 6.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered in Ireland, with 85% of the adult population receiving two doses and 91% receiving at least one dose.

Mr Reid said that over 135,000 children aged 12 to 15 have registered to get a vaccine, with 77,000 doses had been administered to that age group.

Meanwhile, Cathal Walsh, a member of NPHET’s Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said the country is now in a very worrying stage of the pandemic, but that very strong vaccine coverage has been helpful.

According to UL Statistics Professor Cathal Walsh, some breakthrough COVID-19 cases were being recorded for a number of reasons. “Perhaps people haven’t waited fully until the vaccine has taken effect before they’ve mixed and socialised… we’ve seen a number of cases where people have been infected very close to the time of their vaccination, and so the vaccine didn’t have time to take effect,” he said.

“The second point to emphasise is that we are at a critical phase where we have good coverage, we have protection in the population, but the fire is still raging. We have very high incidence. In fact, we have one of the highest incidences of disease at present in Europe,” Mr Walsh added.

Even those who receive two doses are not completely safe

St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin has reported that a concerning number of double-vaccinated people are being treated for COVID-19.

Professor John Ryan, head of the emergency department at St Vincent’s Hospital, said that just because people have received two doses of vaccine does not mean they are immune to the virus.

“Right now, we’re seeing a significant number of breakthrough cases,” Prof. Ryan added.

Roadmap for the further reopening

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government will release a roadmap for the further reopening of society by the end of August.

Mr. Coveney said that he realises the public’s impatience and frustration, but that there is a reason for the government’s caution.

“For a number of days now the number of people who tested positive is well over 2,000, and we see in Northern Ireland in the last few days the highest number of positive tests since this pandemic began, and we have seen now the numbers in hospital over 300 and the numbers in ICU over 50,” he said.

“The Delta variant is dangerous, it’s spreading and it’s present, very much so,” the minister added.

Mr. Coveney also hinted at the reopening of the entertainment sector, saying that the reopening date might be in September.

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