SIGNIFICANT levels of Covid-19 mortality lie ahead for Ireland, the deputy chief medical officer warned.
A 25-year-old was among those who have died this month, while the oldest was aged 98.
Some fatalities have been linked to coronavirus outbreaks in hospitals and nursing homes.
Dr Ronan Glynn said: "We are not going to get out of this without first having to unfortunately deal with very significant levels of mortality."
Hospitals are under intense pressure and an optimistic outcome could see 800 being treated by the end of the month, those modelling the disease's spread said.
Over the week to Wednesday, on average 23 patients a day have died, health officials added.
Another 28 deaths with the disease were reported on Thursday.
Dr Glynn said it would be some time until life returned to normal and society had challenging weeks ahead.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan gave more information on the 208 people reported to have died from Covid-19 so far this month.
Of these, 23 cases have been linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 38 with outbreaks in nursing homes, he said.
Dr Holohan added: "The ages of those who have died range from 25 to 98 years.
"Every death associated with Covid-19 is a tragedy."
Professor Philip Nolan, modelling the disease's progress for the state, said incidence of disease was 20 times greater than at the beginning of December.
One in 67 people have been notified of Covid diagnoses in the last 14 days.
He confirmed 44% of all cases ever reported have been returned in the last fortnight.
Prof Nolan said even if things go well, there will be 650-800 people in hospital by the end of the month and warned outbreaks could persist in the medical facilities for some time.
"From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse.
"The penetration of the virus throughout all ages of the population is a particular cause for serious concern, as is risk of severe disease that all of these people face."
But he also said the country had "turned a corner" and the number of new infections was beginning to improve.
Prof Nolan added people's efforts are now bringing about, almost certainly, the beginning of improvement in the fresh incidence rate.
The number of contacts outside households has dropped to one as people socialise less.
Another 3,955 cases were confirmed on Thursday.