“Social Distancing Will Continue Until A Vaccine Is Available”

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RTÉ’s Health Correspondent Fergal Bowers 

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, host Bryan Dobson spoke to RTÉs Health Correspondent Fergal Bowers about the latest Covid-19 developments.

In relation to the current movement restrictions which are set to be in place until May 5, Mr Bowers said:

“There’s no specific date in May, or otherwise, when restrictions will be lifted, or what restrictions will be lifted.

“We simply do not know so it is very uncertain at this point and people shouldn’t be expecting a lifting or a wide lifting of restrictions anytime in the near future I think, I’d say, given the briefings we had yesterday.

“And Covid-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. I mean that means for the years ahead it will be there in the community somewhere, moving as influenza is but obviously Covid-19 poses a different threat, an unparalleled threat.

“And so social distancing will continue until a vaccine is available. And a vaccine won’t be available, certainly you would think, for a year or more.

“There may be some restrictions but only where the evidence points to that and also when the system has the capacity for rapid, speedy testing of people and follow-up contract tracing quickly, that’s crucial.

“So what will be looking at? We’ll be looking at, in order for any restrictions to be lifted, you’d want the infection rate out there to be down below one, so that’s where one person is infecting less than another person. So it’s not spreading in the community. You’d also want to see admissions to intensive care down.

“You’d want to think about what activity could be safely resumed, where social distancing can be exercised and what’s working in other countries. That will be crucial.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Locking Down Our Civil Liberties

27 thoughts on ““Social Distancing Will Continue Until A Vaccine Is Available”

  1. Some old queen

    Why so much talk about a vaccine and none about a cure or an effective treatment for this disease?

    1. spud

      Very little about antibody testing also.
      I would have thought we could see what portion of the population has had it already and built up an immunity and allow them to get back to ‘normality’.

      1. Hansel

        They still don’t know about antibodies because they haven’t completed sequencing it unfortunately.

          1. Hansel

            Sorry, my comment was incorrect: I said “haven’t completed sequencing it” but should have said they “haven’t completed testing it”.

            They’re not yet ready, but hopefully will be soon. And it will be a game changer when they are.

            Some nice reading on progress towards antibody testing of a few days ago:
            https://www.nature.com/articles/d41587-020-00010-2

  2. Kate

    Fergal should abandon the collar and tie and don the black cape these days. He is as pale as a ghost and it’s all doom and gloom.

    1. Andrew

      What do you want Kate? Only positive news? I can tell you one thing, if you think Fergal or George are ‘all doom and gloom’ how would you feel if the actually did some real journalism? Questioned the testing figures or the disastrous nursing home situation and the advice the HSE gave to nursing homes.
      Because at the moment everything is being sugar coated by the Irish media, while being careful to get a dig in at Boris and the brits to keep that little narrative going.

      1. Some old queen

        I agree on the nursing homes issue Andrew- that HSE advice cost many lives. Those who issued it should be forced to resign and prosecuted for reckless endangerment.

  3. frank

    Even if someone said they had a 100% cure rate vaccine available tomorrow it would still have to be tested to establish side effects for the general population. How long does that testing take? 12 months? 24 months?
    If we have to wait for a vaccine then we’re knackered for at least the next 12 months.

    Surely the effort should be establishing who has had the virus

    1. Hansel

      Testing, and treatments Frank.

      If we can get an effective treatment and better testing, we’ll be in a much better place.

      Those will hopefully be available before 12 months.

      1. Frank

        he said vaccine Hansel not testing and treatment.
        and there is no testing so??
        my own test was cancelled after a 10 day wait. will I get a another test?
        am I still on the cancelled list or do I call the doctor again and say I have no symptoms now but Hansel on Broadsheet said testing and treatment.

        if the HSE cant organise the testing of the sick how will they organise blanket mass testing?
        I’ve zero confidence in their abilities

        1. Hansel

          There is testing though Frank: how else would people be coming out day after day with positive results? How would I know my uncle died of it? We do have testing, we just don’t have enough testing or fast enough results.

          I don’t know what to say about your cancelled test: did they give you a reason for the cancellation? Was it because of the change in criteria for people being tested? Are you sick?

          You suggest I’m somehow at fault, or peddling you lies, but I’m just telling what’s going on. My friends and family are going in to the hospital day after day. They’re not getting to see their children, their partners. They’re on a seemingly endless shift and they’re suffering.

          We only have one way out of this right now. They only have one way out of this.
          There is currently no vaccine. There will be no vaccine for 12-18 months. When it becomes available – IF it becomes available – it will take a long time to roll out.

          What would you prefer? Genuine question: what is your suggestion?

    2. Some old queen

      More to the point- it could be dangerous to inject a modified version of the virus (vaccine) into someone who is already infected with the real one as the immune system could react in unexpected and possibly fatal ways- therefore a test would need to be done first.

      1. Hansel

        Yes SOQ, many many questions before we get a vaccine in place and implemented.
        I don’t think people fully understand that.

  4. Jhonny

    Lots of people are dying by this corona virus only because of their careless behavior. This is a unit fight. Only one or a few people can not win this war. We all should maintain distance and should stay at home in this lockdown. Check This Out for more info

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