by Frank Schnittger
Fri Nov 20th, 2020 at 12:39:22 AM EST
In Ireland, as elsewhere, debate about the most appropriate public response to the pandemic is becoming increasingly fractious. A minority of expert opinion is still advocating for a zero Covid policy while government and various businesses and interest groups are arguing for a "more balanced" approach which seeks to minimise the economic and social damage caused by lockdown measures.
The success of any lock-down is dependent, very largely, on voluntary compliance rather than enforcement measures, and so it is easy for many people to become disheartened in the face of mixed messages and grim infection and death statistics. I have sought to lighten the mood and paint a more hopeful picture in my letter to the editor published by the Irish Times (scroll down the page) and below the fold:
A chara, - This week Ireland passed a sad milestone - over 2,000 deaths from Covid 19 - and doctors are warning that the current lockdown seems to be losing its effectiveness, with the number of new infections stabilising at a high level.
However, it is not a case of all or nothing, and all is not bad news. Although this may be of little comfort to the afflicted and bereaved, Ireland is actually doing relatively better than much of the rest of the world.
Ireland's ranking in the world for total infections is 77th. total deaths is 51st, cases per million population is 62nd. and deaths per million is 33rd. We have been gradually slipping down these awful league tables as the pandemic has taken greater hold elsewhere.
For those who feel the lockdown is never-ending, the development of safe and efficient vaccines offers the hope that 2021 could see the virus substantially defeated, and probably sooner rather than later.
Improved therapeutics have reduced the serious illness and death rates substantially, and our health service has shown an ability to adapt and meet the challenge head on.
What we need is one last push to reduce the incidence of the disease back down to the levels we achieved last June, so that we can then control the re-emergence of the disease by vaccinating the most exposed and vulnerable as soon as vaccines becomes available.
It would be a tragedy if we were to lose many more people just as the possibility of victory comes into sight. The biggest gift we can give each other this Christmas is a Covid-free celebration, socially distanced where necessary. - Yours, etc,