Covid 19 News

According to reports Covid 19 started in a market in Wuhan in China on the 31st Dec 2019. China became the first country to be badly affected and the Chinese government shut down the area around Wuhan in January. Since then it has affected all countries in the world. The first European country affected was Italy especially the northern tourist’s areas. It was suggested that some of the earlier cases in Ireland was brought into the country by people returning from holidays in this area.

Up to the 3rd Aug there were 826,090 deaths and 24,204,686 confirmed cases. Note however that the level of testing varied from country to country. For example here in Ireland,  early on, all suspected cases were tested, however as the number of cases rose and the availability of testing material became scarce, the testing was restricted to frontline workers and the most vulnerable. Then as the materials became more available and the levels of cases dropped the criteria was expanded to include all suspected cases.

The greatest negative impact on all countries affected including Ireland was the shutting down of all but essential businesses and services. This had a knock-on effect on each country’s economy and also an ongoing effect on the viability of the business itself, which had overheads to meet without any income.

Ireland

Figures to the 4th Sept

TOTAL DEATHS

 

TOTAL CASES

 

Recovered TOTAL HOSPITALISED

 

TOTAL TREATED IN ICU

 

CONFIRMED CLUSTERS

 

1,777 29,534 24,000 3,412

 

447

 

2,580

 

The worst hit counties were Dublin; followed by Kildare, Cork, Meath and Cavan. These 5 counties accounted for approx. 66% of the total cases. The least hit county was Leitrim with 85 cases

However the disease continues to spread. At the beginning of July the average daily cases were around 20 per day, however in the fortnight up to the beginning of Aug the average rose to over double that and at the 23rd Aug to over a 100 cases

From St Patrick’s Day all outdoor public events were cancelled including sporting and cultural events. Also shut down from St Patricks day was pubs, restaurants, crèches, and childcare facilities. By the end of March all other businesses were shut down. Only essential businesses were allowed remain open with the exception for those whose workers could work from home.

From the beginning of May restrictions were gradually lifted until cases began to rise again and then Phase 4 was postponed. Slightly stricter restrictions were imposed on three counties, Kildare, Offaly and Laois due to a high incidence of cases in these counties. These were first lifted in Offaly and Laois after 2 weeks on the 21st Aug. Restrictions in Kildare were not lifted until the 31st Aug.

Locally, while there was only a handful of cases, the fact that people were out of work for 2 or 3 months meant incomes were reduced and while the Covid 19 payment went some ways to assist them,  it was barely sufficient for families.

While it was difficult mentally for people to restrict their movements and the elderly people having to cocoon, it protected them from getting the disease and they were looked after by relatives, friends and volunteers from the local St Brigids GAA club who collected groceries and other messages throughout the lockdown. Children also suffered with the closure of schools and not being able to meet their friends. For school going children especially those doing exams home study became the norm as teachers provided online work for their students.

There was both a positive and negative impact on households during the lockdown. Parents got to bond again with their partners and children and got the opportunity to look after their children, as it was years ago, rather than having to depend on childminders and grandparents. It was also an opportunity for people to take up hobbies which had been long forgotten. Unfortunately on the negative side where one or both partners were controlling, then the 24/7 contact left life very unbearable for the other people in the household.

With the lifting of some of the restrictions the return to activity affected the different organisations in the locality in different ways. All organisations were required were required to observe social distancing of 2 meters  or 1 meter with the use of a mask if 2 meters was not practical. They were also required to provide hand sanitation facilities for their employees or members and a contact tracing log for visitors. A maximum of 50 people could attend religious services. Spectators at outdoor sporting events were initially limited to 200 people but this was reduced and confined to players, mentors and officials with the increase in cases in mid-August

The no of people at private houses was set at 15 (from 3 households) outdoors and 6 indoors ensuring social distancing protocol is adhered to.

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