“Now is the time to keep our cool,” a senior government said over the weekend as the country braces for Covid-19 infection rates to reach levels not seen since the crisis. life or death last January.
As concern grows that Covid rates rise again, threatening the healthcare system this winter, a book to be released this week reveals significant missteps and serious interpersonal relationship flaws in the management of the crisis to date.
The book also reveals the “firm belief” of the chief medical oAccording to Dr Tony Holohan, the failure of the government to follow Nphet’s advice around this time last year meant the country had lost control of the virus as Christmas approached, resulting in 100,000 hospitalizations and 1 420 deaths in January.
The revelations could lead to stronger calls for a public inquiry into Ireland’s handling of the pandemic and will be seized if the crisis gets out of hand again, as some fear, in the weeks and months to come.
An excerpt from the book, A state of emergency: the story of the Covid crisis in Ireland, by Virgin Media reporter Richard Chambers, is published in the Independent Sunday today.
He reveals that Dr Holohan believes the government’s decision Failure to introduce Level 5 restrictions last October had a “major impact” in January when hospitals were overwhelmed and the third wave death toll reached record levels.
Dr Holohan is said to have said: ‘We have had the opportunity to intervene with the full set of level 5 restrictions which we believe should be tried for a period of four weeks. Two weeks later, we were back at the same decision point.
“Things got worse. We needed it for six weeks instead of four. We needed two more weeks for this, and we started two weeks later – so that’s four weeks later than we would have been. We never really got back to a sufficient checkpoint.
At the time, the government believed he was ‘bounced back’ by Nphet in a Level 5 decision, which led to an extraordinary attack on Dr Holohan by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar live on RTÉ. Claire Byrne Live. Dr Holohan’s late wife and family were reportedly “particularly upset” by Mr Varadkar’s intervention.
The book refers to an “underlying resentment” towards Dr Holohan and the belief of “many in the political arena” that he “wielded too much power”. Some politicians admit that there was an “element of jealousy” about its “status as a national icon”.
However, the book is also indicative of Dr Holohan’s robust management style, which is questioned by some even within Nphet.
While on compassionate leave to care for his terminally ill wife at the time, Dr Holohan reportedly told his deputy, Dr Ronan Glynn: the calls. Do not be afraid.
Nphet’s chair Epidemiological Modeling Group Prof Philip Nolan says, “I have to honestly say I think October was one of those points where Tony’s strong style got the better of him. Urgent action was needed, but I think the whole process of how advice was provided to the Ggovernment could have been better managed.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the author that the so-called “flamboyant row” last October after Dr Holohan’s return may have affected the way the government viewed Nphet. Christmas recommendations later. “Maybe he had. Maybe it was, “he admits.
Teacher Nolan is quoted as saying, “These tensions, anger and mistrust, were still in the air” at the time of the Christmas decision.
“If we hadn’t had this argument in October, maybe we would have been listened to.
At the time, the government determined that there would be a “meaningful Christmas”. However, following the emergence of a new variant in the UK, Covid rates soared to peak in January of more than 2,000 hospitalizations and 200 in intensive care.
Mr Varadkar yesterday revealed his concern over the potential emergence of another variant of the virus this winter, which would throw government and Nphet projections in serious doubt.
More than 75 cases of a potentially more transmissible strain of the coronavirus have already been recorded in Ireland. The strain was detected for the first time here in June.
There are fears that the subvariant – known as Delta Plus – may be the most transmissible yet, but there is no indication yet that it is more resistant to vaccines.
If the new strain turns out to be more transmissible, it is “inevitable” that it will become dominant in Ireland, but this will not be known for 10 weeks.
Ahead of the new reopening last week, the government, based on Nphet’s modeling, predicts more than 1,000 hospitalizations for Covid, including 150 in intensive care by the end of November, the highest levels since the last Christmas crisis and through January.
Yesterday, the Department of Health confirmed 2,427 new cases of Covid-19. There were 449 people in hospital, down eight from Friday, but 93 are in intensive care, up three out of 24 hours.
Last week there were concerns that the government, based on Nphet’s assessment, would proceed with opening particular nightclubs and lifting more Covid restrictions while leaving others in place.
Over the weekend, a senior government source said: “Covid rates are expected to increase dramatically by the end of November, but we need to be confident in the vaccination process. We must learn to live with the Covid. Now is the time to keep our cool.
However, if Covid gets out of control again and overwhelms hospitals, the public will point the finger at handling the latest wave.
The new book also reveals that there has been a serious argument between Dr Holohan and HSE Clinical Director Colm Henry. He says: “Colm Henry phoned Holohan, a man he has known for over 30 years. years. The respect between the two is unwavering. It is understood that Henry told the Marketing Director that he messed it up. He told the Nphet chair that he still had his back and had stood by his side for many dark days, but there was no escaping the fact that he had made a recommendation dog dinner and how he had landed her on government. The spirits are on fire.
He also reports strains between Nphet and HSE CEO Paul Reid, who was himself “shocked and surprised” by Nphet’s recommendation to go to level 5 around the same time last year.
However, Nphet members were “appalled” when Mr. Reid made a presentation to the Ggovernment at the time to the effect that hospitals were facing.
“For the members of Nphet, the fact that they believed Reid fought for the government was a blow and reinforced the feeling that he was not an ally in the field of public health. “