We’re all a bit disappointed at the way things are going, so as we head up to Christmas, we thought it would help to summarise in simple language what we know about Covid-19 and how we can all help each other.
According to international data available 6 Dec 2021 , since the start of the pandemic there have been over 260 million cases of Covid and over 5.2 million deaths. Both these numbers would probably have been a lot worse, were it not for the efforts every one of us has made.
Covid-19 is an illness caused by a respiratory virus. It is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks loudly. The big problem is that it’s often hard to spot an infected person. We know that infected people can be very ill, however many more have little or mild symptoms. These symptoms often resemble a common cold or flu. We also know that someone can be infectious for a couple of days before they get symptoms.
So what we’re trying to do is manage risk by reducing the risk of developing Covid ourselves. We particularly want to reduce the risk of spreading it to vulnerable relatives and friends.
How do we do this?
Get your Covid Vaccine.
Nearly 8 billion vaccines have been administered worldwide. Ireland has one of the highest rates of vaccination, which has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation. We don’t yet know how effective our current vaccines are against the omicron variant, we think you’re likely to be less affected if vaccinated
Wear a face mask when out.
Face masks protect us to some extent, but they are most effective at protecting others (in the event that we are unknowingly carrying the virus) – therefore do it out of respect.
Most people including children can wear face masks without difficulty if we don’t get frightened.
But please wear one properly, covering your mouth and nose
Meet in well ventilated areas or outdoors when possible.
Airborne viruses disperse much more quickly when there’s a good circulation of air, particularly outside.
“But it’s December and it’s cold outside!”
We quite agree, so if meeting indoors we need to move to number 4
Social distance – try to keep 2 metres apart.
Keeping it simple, viruses don’t travel too far in the air. The further you are from me, the less likely you are to catch my virus.
We try to avoid crowds because it’s harder to distance effectively, but there’s a higher probability that the crowd may contain an infected person.
And do if you suddenly need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth.
But if you’re coughing or sneezing or running a temperature, then please
Get a test if unwell
Let’s keep this simple too. Antigen tests if well; PCR tests if unwell.
This is again about risk. Antigen tests are quick and cheap but less accurate.
If you’re well, the risk of Covid is less, and the level of inaccuracy in the antigen test becomes statistically less important
However if you have symptoms, the risk of Covid is higher, and it’s important to get a more accurate PCR test
We don’t want to cancel Christmas, so let’s just try and make it a little safer.
Stay at home if unwell; do a bit less than normal if you’re vaccinated and feeling ok.
Do the simple stuff well – masks where appropriate, distance and fresh air if you can.
Mind each other at home; think of others who may be struggling – Would a restaurant voucher be nice for Christmas, and help our friends in hospitality when things pick up again?
We actually have made progress in 2021. Let’s make 2022 a good year!
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