An infectious diseases expert has expressed cautious optimism that Ireland will soon see a “dramatic decline” in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations after a recent surge in infections boosted immunity in the population.
4,761 new cases of the virus were logged on Tuesday, with 1,749 confirmed by PCR test while 3,012 people registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.
Hospitalisations have dropped by about a third in the past two weeks, with the latest figures showing 1,004 people with the virus receiving treatment, down from a recent peak of 1,624 on March 28th.
The number however remains almost double the 579 Covid inpatients recorded in February - the lowest figure this year.
Given the current rate of decline, infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey said he is “cautiously optimistic” the number of people in hospital with the virus could drop below 100 within the next month.
“A lot of people have been exposed and had it, and in some ways that’s a natural booster – the BA.2 strain has boosted our immune system above and beyond even the vaccines,” he told Newstalk radio.
“So I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see a very dramatic decline in the number of cases in hospital, and the number of people getting Covid in the next two to four weeks.
“I’m hoping [for hospitalisations] below 500, and I’m hoping it could go down maybe even to double-digit figures, less than 100 for example.”
He added: “I’m cautiously optimistic that will continue to drop quite dramatically based on something similar that’s happened in Denmark, which is a similar size and vaccination status to us, and they’re two to three weeks ahead of us.”