Comparing Covid-19 with 'flu "doesn't stand up in scientific terms"
"Neither should be taken lightly."
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn has dismissed comparisons between Covid-19 and the 'flu, saying that stating that the two illnesses are comparable "simply doesn't stand up in scientific terms".
Ireland has seen an upswing in cases of the virus in recent weeks, with Dublin and Donegal both placed at Level 3 of the government's Plan for Living with Covid-19. Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly also warned about potential restrictions in Galway, Cork, Wicklow and Louth on Monday morning.
As Ireland prepares for winter and the impending 'flu season, concerns have been raised about the health service's capacity to deal with Covid-19 alongside annual influenza infections. These fears are somewhat tempered by the effect social distancing, hand-sanitizing and mask-wearing will have on the spread of 'flu here.
🤒 "We just don't have the capacity whatsoever to deal, not only with the flu, but with Covid on top of that."
Ireland's health service routinely grinds to a halt during the winter months.
How will we cope with #Covid19 on top of that?@DrZeroCraic outlines the concerns. pic.twitter.com/jDtSWU84E9
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) September 16, 2020
In an interview with JOE, Dr. Ronan Glynn emphasised the differences between Covid-19 and the 'flu seen in Ireland annually;
"In the first instance it's more infectious. We've had not far off 2,000 deaths in this country, as a result of Covid-19. And that's in the context where we shut down the vast majority of society for a significant portion of time. If we hadn't done that, I don't want to think about the number of additional deaths that we would have had."
Dr. Glynn was also keen to stress that while 'flu is a potentially fatal disease, Covid-19 is markedly more dangerous;
"Let's not downplay the seriousness of 'flu, 'flu itself can be a fatal illness. But in the context of Covid, Covid is probably about 10 times more lethal than 'flu, so neither should be taken lightly.
"But the throwaway remark that Covid is similar to 'flu simply doesn't stand up in scientific terms, and it doesn't stand up when you reflect on the experience that we've had here or indeed the experience internationally with hundreds of thousands of deaths."
Dr. Ronan Glynn sat down with JOE's Rob O'Hanrahan to discuss how the vast majority of young people are adhering to public health guidelines, why NPHET dismissed the Swedish 'herd immunity' Covid-19 strategy and how we all need to make an individual plan for meeting people while living alongside Covid. You can watch the full interview below: