PROFESSOR Philip Nolan has said it was “wrong” to suggest that NPHET dealt too early with the recommendation to lock down Level 5.
The chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modeling Advisory Group said level 3 actions taken before level 5 stabilized – but did not reduce – the spread of Covid-19.
Just two weeks after the Level 5 restrictions began, Covid-19 rates have fallen across the country.
At RTE Radio 1, Prof. Nolan said: “It is wrong to assume that this is the effect of Level 3 measures.
“It’s later than that and we have a lot of data from Dublin and Donegal and across the country that Level 3 measures have stabilized the disease, they stop it from growing – but they don’t reduce it.
“What happened here is that in the week or ten days before level 5 was introduced, people willingly cut their own social contacts and know what’s to come, as I can imagine.”
Professor Nolan said the effects of Level 5 are now beginning to show – with a decline eventually seen in Dublin.
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The professor explained, “We are now starting to see the additional effects of level 5 on people’s spontaneous behavior, over and over again the real effects of level 3 restrictions. It’s one of the remarkable things where we are now.
“Dublin has been in Level 3 or stricter restrictions since the beginning of September and yet the number of cases in Dublin is higher than at that time.
“They’re losing weight now, which is really good news, and it’s not uncommon for an outbreak in a capital city to be resilient.
“We are pretty clear that there is a direct and obvious correlation between the level of social contact and the behavior of the virus.
“And people do what needs to be done, and that is the important message.”
Christmas contacts low
The professor said health officials are trying to keep coronavirus levels as low as possible before the lockdown ends on December 1.
He said his team is analyzing the best ways to reopen the country and which Christmas season situations are high and low risk.
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He added that even after Level 5 is lifted, the public will need to keep discretionary indoor social contact down.
He said, “What we’re doing now is keep virus levels as low as possible for six weeks.
He added, “But after December 1st, it’s important to make sure we continue to minimize the transmission of the virus.”
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