A Cork GP has warned that society will “have to live with Covid in some fashion and adapt to it” in the near future.
Dr Mary Favier was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland following the news that more than 4,000 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in Ireland since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr Favier said that while the country’s vaccination programme “brings great hope”, that people will still need to adhere to social distancing measures into the future.
“We’re going to have to live with Covid in some fashion and adapt to it and that's the challenge for next winter is what happens with variants and does it impact on our vaccination schedule,” she said.
Dr Favier said that the pandemic has taught us that “our health service must be appropriately funded and structured and particularly public health”.
“We need to look at what underpins a lot of inequality now in our country and those impacts in health. And that is around poverty, inequality, it's around poor educational achievement and they’ve been unmasked in this and we really need to pay attention to them in the future,” she said.
Reflecting on the past 11 months, she said “it is like we've all been living is something of a time warp”.
She said that the way in which people think and converse has since been changed and that we have come to understand terms we never had to know about prior to the pandemic.
“We’ve learned to understand things like 14-day moving averages and positivity rates, who thought positivity rates weren’t to do with optimism or who thought modeling wasn’t to do with the catwalk? There’s just been a huge change in our language,” she said.
Dr Favier said that there are also “lessons to be learned” from the past year in terms of institutional solidarity which she said “hasn’t been as good” as the resilience shown by society in relation to the most vulnerable, socially disadvantaged, those with special needs and children who she said “have not all been as well protected potentially as they might be”.
“There are lessons to be learned from this but vaccination is going to potentially make a big difference and brings a lot of hope,” she said.