Any easing of Covid-19 restrictions will have to be gradual to avoid pressure on hospital services, according to an intensive care consultant.
Dr Catherine Motherway told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show it was important that everyone “hold on” for the moment to protect the vulnerable and prevent people ending up in intensive care units (ICU) with severe Covid-19.
She pointed out that half of the people in ICU at present were under the age of 60, but they were people with underlying conditions and were in the high risk cohort.
Most people in this cohort were cocooning and as the vaccine roll out progressed it was important that the public adhere to public health measures to protect the vulnerable, she said.
Dr Motherway said she “devoutly” hoped that as the vaccine rolled out, there would be a reduction in the numbers in intensive care.
“The thing that is keeping numbers low is public behaviour,” she said.
When compared with January the current figures were much better and “we’ve all done a very good job,” she added.
Dr Motherway pointed out that UK data on the impact of the vaccine would indicate that it could be another “six to seven weeks” before the rollout had a “significant impact”. This was her “guesstimate” she emphasised.
“We all need to be careful up to the summer,” she said.
“All of us are fed up,” she added. As restrictions lifted and people could meet out of doors, Dr Motherway urged people to be careful and keep their distance especially when meeting those who could be vulnerable. “We have to do that for a bit longer.”