Public health expert details how Covid-19 can be supressed over the next few weeks 1 month ago

Public health expert details how Covid-19 can be supressed over the next few weeks

"We need to keep R close to 0.5 for six weeks."

A public health expert has detailed exactly what must be done to suppress transmission of Covid-19 over the next number of weeks.

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Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, has said that the most important thing is to ensure that viral transmission levels are greatly reduced.

He said: "We can, collectively, suppress transmission of the virus again, if we fully enter into the spirit of these measures, and eliminate, for the next six weeks, close contacts other than our household, ‘bubble’, school or college, or essential work.

"A reproduction number of 0.9 or 0.7 won’t be enough, we need to aim for R = 0.5."

In a series of tweets posted on Monday night, Nolan explained why a period of six weeks was chosen for the nationwide Level 5 restrictions.

He said: "And we need to keep R close to 0.5 for six weeks. If we held R at 0.5 for three weeks, cases would fall to about 400 per day, but rise again to about 1,000 per day four weeks later.

"If we keep R at 0.5 for six weeks, cases remain below 200 per day until end-December."

He added that this information is based on approximations, but that these have so far tracked the pandemic "reasonably accurately".

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Nolan's comments came after it was confirmed on Monday night that the entire country will move to Level 5 from midnight on Wednesday.