Public shouldn’t worry about surge of viruses, says expert

Prof O’Neill said that there will “definitely be a surge” of these respiratory viruses, including Covid-19, but that there “hopefully won’t be a huge increase in hospitalisations because of the vaccination campaign and natural immunity combined”.
Public shouldn’t worry about surge of viruses, says expert

Professor Luke O'Neill, professor of biochemistry and immunology

Biochemistry professor Luke O’Neill has said that the country’s health system is preparing for a “tridemic” of flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and Covid-19 this winter.

Speaking at an event at The Dean Hotel in Cork recently Prof Luke O’Neill said that while it is inevitable that the country will see a significant increase of all three viruses this winter, that people “shouldn’t be worrying so much about these things”.

Prof O’Neill said that there will “definitely be a surge” of these respiratory viruses, including Covid-19, but that there “hopefully won’t be a huge increase in hospitalisations because of the vaccination campaign and natural immunity combined”.

He said that there is “a much bigger fear of flu” this winter which he said is “a much more severe disease” than Covid-19 at the moment.

“Without vaccination, Covid is a much more serious disease than flu and that’s what all the data tells us, but the vaccination and immunity have made it less dangerous than the flu.

“The fear we have now is flu, and the HSE are luckily all over this. They are expecting a flu surge and a Covid surge; this phrase ‘twindemic’ has been invented, a brand-new phrase. There’s actually a ‘tridemic’ because RSV is the third respiratory virus and that’s coming along as well.

“So, every healthcare system in the world now is preparing for a big increase in flu, a big increase in RSV and Covid-19 still being there.”

Prof O’Neill urged people not to worry too much about this increase in these respiratory viruses and said that the health service has planned on increasing staff and bed numbers this winter in preparation.

“There are lots of plans in place to prepare for this tridemic that’s coming and that’s a matter for the HSE and we shouldn’t be worrying so much about these things.”

His comments come as a total of 27 Covid-positive patients are currently in hospital across Cork, according to the latest HSE Covid-19 daily operations update on acute hospitals. As of 8pm on Monday, there were 21 patients at Cork University Hospital (CUH) infected with Covid-19 and six patients with the virus at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH). There was also one patient in intensive care with the virus at CUH and one at MUH.

Nationally, there were 12 Covid-positive patients in intensive care and seven Covid-positive patients invasively ventilated.

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