06 Jul 2022

Covid-19: Dr Tony Holohan 'cautiously optimistic' for 2022 but it will be a 'difficult' start #omicron

Latest Covid-19 figures exceed 20,000 again as CMO expresses

Latest Covid-19 figures exceed 20,000 again as CMO expresses 'cautious optimism' for 2022

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

The Omicron wave of Covid-19 will make for a difficult January but the Chief Medical Officer has expressed the 'hope' that 2022 may be a better year in the pandemic battle.

Dr Tony Holohan was speaking after the National Public Health Emergency's Team's New Year's Eve update on the pandemic as Ireland enters the third year of tackling the disease.

NPHET said the Health Protection Surveillance Centre says it has today, December 30, been notified of 20,110 confirmed cases of this disease this New year's Eve. This is slightly lower than the number of cases reported on Thursday.

As of 8am this Friday, there were 682 patients with Covid-19 in hospitals across the country - of which 86 were in ICU.

Commenting on the latest figures, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health said: “Once again, we are reporting another very high number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland. The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 is continuing to increase.

“I know many people have cancelled or postponed planned social and family events, not just for New Year's Eve, but right throughout the Christmas period. The occasions in life we most look forward to have been changed utterly by this pandemic. However, these collective efforts are necessary to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our health service," he said.

The CMO says today is a timely day to remember all of those who continue to contribute so much to the country's response to Covid-19, particularly the individual and collective efforts of frontline healthcare workers who are now facing into a third year of pandemic response.

"In the most challenging of circumstances, they continue to work to protect public health and to maintain access to services across all parts of our health service. In the delivery of both Covid and non-Covid services, patients and their families have benefitted from their empathy, skill, and care. January will likely be a difficult time and I would like to thank all of our health care workers most sincerely for their efforts," he commented.

Dr Holohan added: "We also remember those who have sadly died with Covid-19 in Ireland since the beginning of this pandemic, along with their families and loved ones who are grieving their loss. We must all remember that it is our collective, national response and the ongoing and extraordinary sacrifices each one of us is making that will break the chains of transmission, minimise the pressure on our health service, ensure that as few families as possible are similarly impacted in 2022 and lead to brighter days ahead."

The CMO looked back and forward saying there are many reasons to be hopeful.

“2020 was a very challenging year from a COVID point of view. We were dealing with a new disease, with no drugs, no vaccines and no background immunity. In 2021, we saw the emergence of vaccines and the extraordinary response of the scientific community internationally to produce them. As we look to 2022, there are many reasons for cautious optimism. Advances in science and public health including the development of new treatments like antivirals and monoclonal antibodies and the continued evolution of our understanding of this virus give us grounds to hope that 2022 may be a better year from a COVID point of view than either 2020 or 2021.”

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