A CORK medical expert has warned that the only way to prevent the health system from coming to its knees is for people to “stay indoors and stick to themselves”.
Retired emergency medicine consultant Dr Chris Luke said he can “almost see a situation where people will be restricted to 1km or to their own house if things get worse and the hospitals completely collapse”.
“Having said that, it’s a fine balance between serious mental ill-health and other general ill-health and preventing further bouts of Covid-19, so it’s a difficult balance to create,” he said.
“If the health service continues to be overwhelmed, I think the only answer is for people to stay indoors for a week or two, but that’s a very hard political decision to make.”
He said what we are seeing now is “the effect of Christmas mingling, celebrations, and congregation” and urged people to stay at home and adhere to lockdown restrictions for the next four weeks.
“We should be out the gap by the end of February.
“If we start behaving ourselves now and stop congregating, we should be out the gap in about four weeks and when I say out the gap, I mean the intense pressure in the hospitals should be more bearable,” he said.
Speaking about the positives to come out of recent weeks, Dr Luke said that the Covid-19 vaccines coming on stream “is not just a boost for the immune system, but it’s a huge boost of morale”.
He said that the vaccination programme needs to be rolled out as quickly as possible in order to protect all frontline workers.
“I am optimistic, but we are in for a difficult fortnight ahead,” Dr Luke said.