You are currently viewing “Living with Covid” is an empty slogan that needs a plan

“Living with Covid” is an empty slogan that needs a plan

People in affluent countries like Ireland have little experience of living with the long-term reality of serious infectious diseases. Covid-19 has changed that for the foreseeable future. We have been in a new phase for a few months, in which Covid-19 protective measures are largely lifted, but Covid-19 continues to circulate. We can do that better in Ireland. What should we aim for?

The first thing that needs to be clarified is what “living with the virus” really means.

Many people have died and we have reached the staggering death toll of 7,000. Many families are struggling with infections – half the house gets Covid-19 and some time later the other half follows. This leads to a significant disruption of daily life. Many people become reinfected and long-term immunity is limited. This appears to be an unfortunate feature of the biology of Covid-19. While vaccination greatly reduces the worst consequences of this disease, neither vaccination nor previous infection, or both, confer complete immunity from re-infection.

Uncertainty is inevitable. What we can say with confidence is that Ireland’s government protection from Covid-19 is very limited

As a result, we may continue to have large numbers of people unemployed at the same time and then have to deal with the post-Covid-19 fatigue that is disrupting the economy and life in general. We do not yet know the full impact of Covid-19 reinfection on people or the population. However, the long Covid, which is affecting around 125,000 people here (an estimate based on UK figures, to the shame of our health officials), may result in further significant economic losses as some people are forced to move into new jobs or leave the total workforce.

Uncertainty is inevitable. What we can say with confidence is that Ireland’s government protection from Covid-19 is very limited. Tracking the intensity of government action at Oxford University puts Ireland ahead of Mongolia (bottom of 185 countries) in the intensity of protective measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 here.

dr WHO’s David Nabarro called the Irish government’s lifting of its citizens’ Covid-19 protective measures “brutal”. We know that Covid-19 singles out the poor, the elderly and those with existing illnesses for the worst outcomes. We have no plan for these people as we are ‘living with Covid’. Antiviral drugs can be helpful, but their overall effects remain uncertain.

Leave a Reply