Covid-19 rates have remained stable across the country, although rates vary widely between different regions.
Last week, in data released by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) Monday through Friday, about 2,670 cases of the virus were confirmed, an average of 534 a day.
But within these daily reports, the county-by-county breakdown shows a revealing picture.
Specifically, Dublin accounts for about 1199 of these cases, 44.9% of the cases announced nationwide. By contrast, there were only 110 cases in Cork and only 15 confirmed cases in Co Kerry, with the Kingdom showing less than five cases a day three times last week.
Both counties have managed to keep Covid-19 levels in check in recent weeks, but public health experts have warned that there is no room for complacency.
Recent data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CSO) shows that the number of contacts per person in Cork and Kerry counties was below the national average during St Patrick’s Week earlier this month.
When the national average was 2.5 contacts per person, it stood at 2 contacts in Kerry and 2.2 contacts in Cork. This lower level of social contact may help, to some extent, keep both counties at bay to keep infection levels at bay.
Other data from local constituencies show that some areas outperform others to keep their communities virtually virus-free.
On March 22, Kanturk, Bandon-Kinsale, Bantry, Carrigaline, and the southwestern part of Cork City, as well as Killarney in Kerry, confirmed less than five cases during the previous fortnight, showing that these communities were doing well to keep the infection at bay. low levels.
While the public plays a role in reducing transmission, Cork-based public health doctor Mary O’Mahony said a more effective public health response had allowed staff to contain new outbreaks.
Dr. O’Mahony said this “rigorous” and “very active” monitoring of new outbreaks was only possible now because infection rates had dropped to manageable levels.
“We still come across outbreaks and cases that occur in workplaces, schools and healthcare settings, and they are being closely monitored,” Dr. O’Mahony said.
“Without all this work in the background, I would not break the transmission chains. It only takes one case to drive a cluster and that can lead to other outbreaks. “
Dr. O’Mahony stressed that the number of new cases reported each day was “just the tip of the iceberg” and that many other people, who were considered close contacts, were likely to have the virus.
He warned, however, that the situation could change quickly and until the majority of the population is vaccinated, there was still no reason to celebrate: the rapid growth before Christmas took only 11 days, for example.
UCC professor of public health Ivan Perry said the response to public health, population density and the “randomness” of the epidemic may be playing a role in the low number of Covid-19s in Cork and Kerry.
He said a low population density in Kerry could be contributing to the low number of cases there, but this was less likely in Cork. Good public performance was also a factor, although he does not believe that the people of Cork and Kerry necessarily behaved differently compared to other parts of the country.
Still, the image remains fragile and may not take long to raise infection rates again, he warned.
“It only takes a small number of events before the virus starts to rise again,” said Professor Perry, who added that more public health doctors and surveillance scientists are needed to keep up with the pandemic.
Professor Perry said it was not the time to relax things in Cork and Kerry: “We need to open things up very gradually.
“There is a catastrophe with the P1 variant in Brazil. Variants will continue to appear and some of them will be resistant to the vaccine, so it would be very risky to leave the guard on international trips.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said, adding that it is likely to arrive “by 2022” before all countries are vaccinated.