Some 200 people with Covid-19 have died each of the last three months in Ireland as infection rates reach new heights.
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) shows the effect of vaccination has suppressed deaths - which have nonetheless increased - while infection levels have soared to record levels.
Some 214 deaths accompanied the 110,452 cases of the virus reported in November 2021, versus the 1,420 deaths which accompanied the 106,241 cases reported earlier this year in January.
Monthly deaths have hovered around the 200 mark for the past three months, with 177 reported in September 2021, 207 in October and 214 in November.
Data on deaths in December remains incomplete, although 47 deaths were notified in the last weekly update from the HSE. At least 18 took place in December, according to HPSC data.
The lowest number of deaths recorded in a month since the pandemic began was in August 2020, ahead of the rollout of vaccines but when infection levels had been suppressed to an extremely low rate.
Just seven Covid-19 deaths were recorded this month, while a 2021-low of 20 deaths was recorded in June 2021.
The highest number of deaths in a month were seen at the peak of the first wave, with 1,161 recorded in April 2020, and at the peak of the third wave, with 1,420 in January 2021 and a further 892 in February 2021.
Christmas in isolation
Of the total 5,788 deaths recorded since the beginning of the pandemic in Ireland, the month of death is known in 5,760 cases.
A further 4,235 cases of Covid-19 were meanwhile recorded on Wednesday, with those infected with the disease from this point now required to spend Christmas day in isolation.
With the Omicron variant understood to account for around 14 per cent of new cases, 24 new cases of the variant were also confirmed on Wednesday. It brings the total identified in the country to 42.
There are currently 470 patients in hospital with the virus, with 105 in intensive care.