Covid blame game: pool of suspects for virus spread just keeps growing

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Frustration is rising as Covid-19 restrictions again force businesses into a dangerous pause with livelihoods at risk.

The mood has shifted while the blame game for the spread of the virus intensifies.

Is it linked to post-GAA match celebrations and flouting of Covid-19 rules?

Are college students congregating with abandon, or is it the fault of employers who are putting pressure on staff to come to the office when they could work from home?

Rocket fuel

We know Covid-19 is highly infectious. It loves any group – it need be as small as two people. It flourishes in crowds and adores travel, journeying from one person to another along the lengthiest transmission chain possible.

Gatherings where rules are not followed are rocket fuel for it to go anywhere, any time.

Scientists have found many chains begin with “superspreading” events. One person – often in a crowded indoor space – passes the virus to dozens of others.

Some estimates say 10pc of people have been causing 80pc of new infections.

Sports revelries

Public health doctors have long pointed out the problems around sports activities have been mostly the post-match celebrations. They have contributed to the spread.

These are breeding grounds for infection, combining boisterous spirits and alcohol.

Figures show nine clusters have been linked to sporting activity and fitness. It is unclear how many of these happened during play or training or during get-togethers later on.

There is particular frustration in Cavan this week that groups getting together after GAA matches have been among people who tested positive. They would all have returned to homes around the county. The same incidents have been cited in other counties, including Donegal.

The big test now will be how the inter-county season affects the spread and whether it will trigger more of these risky events. Club championships have been suspended.

Colleges and universities

In the summer, third-level colleges did not figure in statistics around clusters but they are back and making a mark. Three of these clusters were open last week. There is a worry around students living on campus, although regulations are in place.

Household outbreaks

The instruction this week to limit callers to the house to essential visitors follows figures showing 3,532 outbreaks in private homes to date. There are 1,906 of these open.

Some have arisen from a member of a household bringing it back but it is also linked to people from different households getting together

Another 26 outbreaks associated with social gatherings are open and range from christenings to birthday parties.

Easy scapegoats

It might be easier to find a scapegoat than look at our own behaviour but those who transgress need to take responsibility. The lesson is that any shortcuts around Covid-19 will be found out and come back to haunt us.

Workplace

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has spoken of the ‘creeping’ rise in the numbers of employees returning to the workplace after working from home.

The advice remains the same: if you can work from home, continue to do so. There were 99 clusters open in workplaces up to last Saturday.

Irish Independent

Source: Irish News