16 Sep 2020 | 02.32 pm
Ministers Must Ignore NPHET Scaremongering
Dept. of Health and HSE suit themselves
16 Sep 2020 | 02.32 pm
The government may have outlined its ‘Living with Covid’ blueprint for the next six months, but so far there’s no sign of buy-in from the Department of Health and NPHET.
Covid-19 is a nasty disease best avoided, but it is no longer an existential threat. The sooner ministers realise that the better for the economy and society.
By the latest count there are 475,000 individuals receiving unemployment welfare payments, and another 370,000 people whose pay was subsidised through the summer. That subsidy is now being scaled back, so thousands more will join the dole queues. That’s the real emergency, not a bug that has been suppressed to nuisance status.
Through August there were only 14 Covid-related deaths. Through the first two weeks of September there have been 11 deaths attributed to Covid, though only hospitals know how many of these fatalities had underlying medical conditions.
In a normal week in Ireland, 60 people die from non-Covid respiratory diseases. Happily, every week in Ireland 520 more babies are born than the number of people who pass to their eternal reward.
In the past week, the National Public Health Emergency Team and its allies in RTE have been ratcheting up alarmism over the increasing count of Covid cases in Dublin.
The facts are that in the seven days September 10 to 16, there were 39 Covid hospitalisations and 29 Covid discharges. If the hospital system can’t cope with this level of throughput then its management needs an urgent overhaul.
The concern for business is that the goalposts have shifted since the public health emergency was declared last February.
For the national health system, Covid was an unwelcome disruptor to a normal routine that has now been re-established. Twenty three of the 30-person NPHET membership are drawn from the Department of Health and the HSE, two organisations with a vested interest in avoiding Covid disruption altogether.
Unfortunately, the Taoiseach and his Tánaiste are both former health ministers who seem in thrall to their civil servants. It’s long past time that they made it clear to the HSE and NPHET that ‘Living with Covid’ applies to them too.
Photo: Ashlee Dickinson, owner Ten Feet Tall Events, and concert promoter Shane Dunne at the launch of the Event Production Industry Covid19 Working Group’s pre-budget submission to government. EPIC says 35,000 events workers cannot work due to NPHET strictures. (Pic: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie)