10 Apr 2020 | 06.04 pm
Lockdown Restrictions Extended To May 5
No rationale offered for wrecking the economy
10 Apr 2020 | 06.04 pm
The government has extended the lockdown restrictions that are decimating the Irish economy until Tuesday May 5.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar didn’t give a reason for the extension of restrictions for another three weeks, beyond noting: “Today the expert recommendation is to extend them for a further three weeks. The government has accepted this recommendation.”
The rationale offered by the Department of Health was this brief statement from chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan: “We are at a very delicate and critical point in our response to this disease. While measures to date have succeeded in reducing the spread, COVID-19 remains a risk to the people of Ireland. We don’t make these recommendations likely, but they are necessary at this time.”
The Department of Health says that an estimated 8,500 Covid-19 cases are notified in Ireland as of Friday 10 April 2020. The first confirmed case was on Saturday February 29.
As of April 10 the cumulative number of people hospitalised was 1,780, with 261 people of that cohort admitted to intensive care. The number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 stood at 329 on April 10.
The daily growth rate in notified C-19 infections has been impacted from April 8 by the inclusion of results of tests carried out in March and early April which were outsourced for analysis to laboratories in Germany.
Underpinning the drastic curbs on personal and economic freedom, not to mention wrecking the private sector economy (pay and pensions for medical experts and politicians are not affected), is the challenge facing Irish hospitals to cope with providing intensive care to large numbers of people at the same time.
However, in its official statements the Department of Health gives no indication of the capacity issues currently faced by hospitals in dealing with C-19 patients.
It is estimated that Ireland has c.255 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds around the country. The table below is extracted from Department of Health C-19 hospital data relating to C-19 patients which has been issued since March 17.
|Weekly Hospital Admissions||Weekly ICU Admissions||Weekly Deaths|
|April 6 – April 12||558||81||191|
|March 30 – April 5||642||81||140|
|March 23 – March 29||426||77||58|
|March 9 – March 22||277||36||6|
Serious though Covid-19 is, in a normal year in Ireland an average of 93 people per week die from respiratory diseases.
According to the Central Statistics Office, 1,205 deaths in the January to March 2019 period were attributed to diseases of the respiratory system. Of that total, 32 deaths were attributed to influenza and 323 deaths were attributed to pneumonia, which can be a flu complication.
In Q1 2019, the CSO also counted 566 deaths attributed to chronic lower respiratory disease, and 284 deaths attributed to other diseases of the respiratory system.
Of those deaths caused by respiratory diseases, 34% were people aged 75-84, and 43% were people aged over 85.
The current estimated mortality rate for Covid-19 is 20-30 per 1,000 people. It follows that 15,000 confirmed C-19 cases in Ireland could lead to c.450 deaths. This would represent an 11% increase on the number of deaths from respiratory diseases expected in Ireland in a normal year.
That spike in mortalities would not justify shutting down the private sector economy and inflicting financial stress on hundreds of thousands of individuals and households. Perspective on ‘excess deaths’ is explained by Thomas Moore in the video below:
On March 26, when the death toll attributed to Covid-19 was 18 people, the Department of Health published the first data on the median age of the deceased. For the 10 deaths announced on March 26, the median age was 79 years.
On April 1, when the death toll was 84 people, for the first time the Department released data on the median age of all the fatalities since the first Covid-19 death on March 11. The median age figure announced was 82. On April 3, when the deaths attributed to Covid-19 stood at 120, the median age calculation on all the fatalities to date was also 82 years.
In more recent Department bulletins, median age data has only been released in relation to the deaths announced that day, as follows:
• April 4: 17 deaths, median age 77
• April 5: 21 deaths, median age 81
• April 6: 16 deaths, median age 78
• April 7: 36 deaths, median age 81
• April 8: 25 deaths, median age 80
• April 9: 28 deaths, median age 81
In a data set, the median is the middle figure when the data is arranged in order from least to greatest. So the median for the six median age figures above is 79. Where the median age is 79, half the deaths will be aged under 79 years and half aged over 79 years.
Reflecting the elderly age bias of Covid-19 victims, the Department of Health says 30% of C-19 deaths to date have occurred in care homes, and that 84% of victims had underlying health conditions.
On April 10 the Department announced that the median age of all C-19 deaths is 82. For the first time the Department revealed that the mean or average age of fatalities is 70 years.
Data from the Department of Health in December 2019 indicated that average life expectancy in Ireland is 84 years for women and 80.4 years for men.