Last night.

Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ One

Sunday Independent journalist Niamh Horan scolds the rona ‘plan’.



78 thoughts on “The Science Bit

  1. Harry

    For a journalist who writes for a rag like the Sunday Indo I am not surprised at her lack of knowledge and attitude.
    A vaccine will sort out Covid just as it has for many diseases. Here’s a list of a few that vaccines have saved millions from dying and/or disablement.

    pertussis (whooping cough)
    poliomyelitis (polio)
    haemophilus influenzae type b infections
    hepatitis B
    pneumococcal infections

    1. Cian

      The jury is still out on a Covid vaccine.

      You included ‘influenza’ on your vaccine list, and while there are ‘flu vaccines – it mutates at such a rate that there is always strains of flu each year that there is no vaccine for.

        1. Listrade

          All viruses mutate all the time as they are reproduced inside the host, the question is whether that mutation creates a more “harmful” virus.

          It seems that this virus mutates more slowly than Flu and HIV (considerably slower). Most of the mutations seem to impact the virus (i.e. end up killing it) rather than make it more harmful to us. It’s almost as if mutations in a species are random and only the most effective ones survive in a species. I might right a theory on that.

          TLDR: it is mutating all the time, but nothing worrying in that.
          Nature piece for some background:,the%20University%20of%20Basel%2C%20Switzerland.

        2. jonboy

          The evidence has shown so far it has had only low-level mutations which could point to a single vaccine working but it’s still a new virus so information is limited.

      1. alickdouglas

        I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you’ve never spent any time on a pediatric ward in a developing world hospital, where you’ve been treated to the joy of children smothering from the impact of vaccine preventable pneumonia, dealt with those with chronic hearing difficulties or polio paralysis then. Seen the wards for rabies victims are put in the countries where they don’t have enoug vaccine? Stay classy Max.

    2. Pat Mustard

      Debateble whether vaccines lowered any of those ailments listed above. Developments in sanitation did most if not all of the lifting.

      1. Fergalito

        There is no argument that the vaccines mentioned above have lifted people out of illness and saved others from premature death.

        Why does anyone get sick if it’s just about hygiene and sanitation? Not saying for a moment of course that both didn’t also impact significantly on improving health in the developed world.

  2. Q Celt

    Experts what do they know. Flu virus has a very high mutation rate so a new vaccine is needed each year other viruses like HPV has low mutation rate so vaccine has more or less effective for life.
    COVID 19 appears to be in the later category so once a safe vaccine is available and deployed happier days.

    1. f_lawless

      I think if and when a Covid-19 vaccine is approved it probably won’t be marketed as a once off affair. The current understanding is that a person can technically get re-infected with the virus.However, in the few confirmed cases that have been observed the symptoms the second time round have been relatively mild to nonexistent.

      So if exposure to the virus itself doesn’t necessarily trigger the body’s immune system into to producing lifelong immunity, then a vaccine is unlikely to do so. From a profit-making perspective I can see how a pharmaceutical corporation would advocate for the need to get regular Covid-19 booster jabs even if the need to do so is questionable.

      This is an interesting article, particularly what the medical experts dub “Functional Immunity” to Covid-19:

      “If people who are reinfected don’t generate high levels of SARS-2 viruses in their respiratory tracts and therefore don’t contribute much to the spread of the virus, Covid-19 may become, over time, not just less dangerous, but also less common.”

  3. Jim

    She’s right though, we can’t control it, we’re wasting our time. We had our chance in May to do a New Zealand on it and go 0-Covid and we didn’t. Now, we’re just acting the boopy dooper.

    I’ve been tracking the cases/death charts for weeks, still remaining flat in most counties around Ireland’s timeline. I’m thinking now, what don’t we throw money at the hospitals to deal with more hospitalisations and get on with it.

    I’m really starting the question the strategy and I was an ardent support of the measures all along. The Government’s complete hames making of everything isn’t helping.

    1. Just Sayin

      Sure we could have done a 0-covid island plan but we would have to have done it in January, not May and have no-one enter or leave the island until a vaccine is found and everyone is vaccinated.

      ‘The fastest ever vaccine took 5 years’ — Deputy CMO Ronan Glynn

      Even if you had a time machine to go back to January (or the previous November to be absolutely sure) could you get the North to agree with this zany plan.

      We could call it the ‘United Ireland’ plan, with such a catchy name they’re bound to agree.

      1. Jim

        New Zealand managed it. I know Boris, Arlene et. al. are difficult characters but could we not have figured something out? Would it be any harder than what we’re doing now bringing the country to its knees? McConkey, Mallon and various other 0-Covid adherents felt it was worth a shot.

        1. Formerly known as

          If Ireland had no Arlene, I think it would have been an option. It would not be easy. I am not sure Irish people would be OK with quarantining for two weeks, each time they arrived back in Ireland from a trip to another country. NZ did it but it is easier when you are the end of the line and not on Europe’s door step. After 100 days with no community spread, they had a cluster. A hard lockdown stopped it spreading. Australia is trying to get rid of the virus and hopefully, will succeed in the coming weeks. I can’t see Ireland being able to keep the virus out.

    2. Micko

      Yup, it’s unstoppable.

      You’d think we’d have increased our ICU bed capacity by now.

      We’ve barely. 23 extra beds I think “Mehole” said the other day.

      23 in 7 months? For a virus they claimed could kill up to 85K


    3. GiggidyGoo

      Say in the morning, if everyone had been totally locked down for a month, we’d gotten rid of the virus and we were all let loose virus-free, the first day of flights arriving in the country would re-introduce it. Within a month you’d probably see a return to ‘guidelines’, pub closures.
      It can’t be stopped no matter what regulations / guidelines are in existence. What needs to be done is to ramp up hospital capabilities to deal with people that are brought down by it. What doesn’t need to be done is to cut treatments for other illnesses, nor decimate industry and make people poor.

      1. Listrade

        Eradication was never an option for numerous reasons. If you like XKCD, then Randall addressed something similar in his What If? book. You can find scans of the chapter online (that chapter has had a bit of attention of late), it’s about whether we could just quarantine and eliminate the cold. Different virus means different issues, but essentially the same issue and answer: no, we can’t.

        Many, many reasons. Some of which we’ve seen economically, but also if we did a total lock down that would require the whole world to comply. That would mean no production of any kind, not even food. It would also mean that the virus still spread in poor crowded populations. But then viruses are also canny and we have natural reservoirs where they survive. It can be in a person and could last beyond any lockdown, just waiting for us to all come out and party.

        Mitigation (living with it and protecting the vulnerable) is all we have until there can be a pharmaceutical intervention (either vaccine or treating symptoms enough to reduce risk), but for that to work it also requires a very high level of compliance from people.

  4. GiggidyGoo

    Pitchforks at the ready. Niamh better watch out if she’s going to go against the powers that be. The record relating to the last Indo journalist that dared question the State isn’t good.

  5. diddy

    Niamh horan is a rare sort indeed. A woman who argues her point and doesn’t move the goalposts when a man rebukes with a net bursting half volley smash. nor does she retreat to the alamo of ” your annoying me now, your face that is” ….ladies. be like niamh horan

  6. Masked

    I think we all share the frustrations this pandemic has forced upon us but this is just a really flawed outburst on so many levels.
    The fact that most of us, if not all of us, have the odd lapse in observance of the rules is not a valid rationale to just ignore them.
    Lack of total control is not proof that we can’t exercise very significant control. The numbers do show that we all do very much influence reduction in this disease by observing good hygiene, appropriate mask wearing and social distance. All of these measures are indeed a pain in the neck but are so much less of a pain than Covid.If we choose to just live our lives as before then Covid will indeed spiral out of control, but it has not precisely because of and not despite the measures.
    Indeed flu is still with us but that does not mean per se that science will not defeat Covid so again it is an invalid rationale to suggest that our efforts against Covid (a much different virus and certainly much more deadly) are futile.
    So no we don’t just give up because we want our old lives back and now, but we all do all we can (hygiene masks and distance) so that we can resume normal living sometime within the next few years.
    Just to ignore Covid because the restrictions are a pain is not an option.

  7. Rob_G

    The real intellectual heavyweights lining up to oppose the public health officials – I’d say Fauci is quaking in his boots

        1. Rob_G

          I may not be the cleverest… but I’m fecking Noam Chomsky’s and Alain de Botton’s lovechild compared to you, homeschooled.

  8. Harry xe/xem

    “Are we just meant to pull people in and out for the next 18 months until we have a vaccine”

    Yes, unfortunately, I think that is the approach to ensure that hospitals don’t get overwhelmed and less vulnerable people get infected. If we learn a better approach then great.

        1. Rob_G

          How will RTÉ ever find out the depth of your dislike towards them, and take steps to rectify it, if they can’t assess the scope and scale of the issue?

    1. Harry xe/xem

      She the girl who likes hanging out with the lads. The lads all think that she’s really sound but the girlfriends don’t like her at all. She’s a threat.

  9. ian-oh

    Maybe people who write for D’Indo like Niamh and frog spawn like Paul Williams break the rules, I don’t, not even the stupid ones of which there are many.

    I hate lockdowns, mask and distancing, I miss pubs, restaurants, weddings, christenings and all those other events.

    I miss holidays, I miss hugging so I am doing what I can to bring them back. But I do not break the covid rules (I break other rules and laws now and again but not these ones).

    Anyway, Niamh Horan expert in nothing.

    Who cares?

  10. Art Vandelay

    So I know most people were saying that they didnt care about being on the same side as the Nazis but surely now that they’re on the same side as Niamh Horan…. ;-p

  11. Fergalito

    “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – an appropriate motto for this type of observance.

    I’m sure it’s not actual ignorance on display here rather a mob-pleasing, “voice of the people” type of contrivance that she’s connived.

    Remember what journalists used to be like? Back when it was a credible and ethically noble profession that served the public interest and sated curiosity on all kinds of interesting areas and aspects of life? I do. It was much better than it is now. It’s mostly sh1t now.

    1. Micko

      Yup, journalism sucks now.

      I often think if we (the public) were willing to pay for news again would it get better? Would there even be a market for it anymore.

      Sad alright.

      1. Fergalito

        I think the genie is out of the bottle Micko. Like the humble bumblebee we must flit from pollen source to pollen source sampling what’s on offer before deciding to deliriously roll our bellies in ’em or not.

    1. ian-oh

      Should the Left row in Right behind her?

      Niamh is neither left, right or centrist. She’s a whatever sells copies of D’indo herself.

      Also, she is not known for being overly qualified at anything except puff pieces on stuff like how Helen McEntee is a lovely girl and has nice dress sense.

      That is all.

  12. Yann

    We can complain as much as we want about what is happening in Ireland but it is a pandemic. Unless a global, by that I mean international, strategy is put in place we are going to have to live with that virus for a very long time! There is no point having New Zealand or Ireland being free of the virus and the U.S or India having 90.000 cases a day in a global economy, where people can travel very easily from one country to another!
    But, if look at close to home, I am a firm believer that you cannot control a virus you can only mitigate its impact on society. Then, education, reenforced hygien mesures, juste social mesures, temporary strict border controls (not based on race or origins), limitations on social contacts until the global situation has been fully understood and solutions found what ever the time frame. What we are right to expect from our government is leadership, exemplarity, clarity, education and fairness. It is inevitable, people are going to loose their income, some sectors are going to be more affected than others but some are making huge profits and they all have their European head offices in Ireland so let not forget that ones make the lives of the others more enjoyable or fill a need of the other ones so maybe it is time to see a change and real actions to reduce the gap between the high flyers in some parts of our economy and the low income, 0 hour contract but essential workers as we have seen during locked down, but still they are the first to loose their income in the case of a crisis.
    Let’s use our creativity to be entertained, to adapt, to stay positive, to stay safe, see more fairness and maybe everyone will feel like respecting the guidelines and inevitably all this will allow our government to have less restriction in the country for us. As soon as they keep a close lid on what comes from outside Ireland.
    Ps: Do not see any nationalistic agenda here but a simple prevention system while living on an island, close control of what comes through its border is a very simple solution to control the sanitary state of its territory despite the political impact it can have with its allies.

  13. SOQ

    I wonder did The Claire Byrne show know what Niamh was going to say beforehand. Quite the turnaround if they did. Fair play to her mind- she had her say and it is something a lot of other people are now thinking.

    She is right of course- nobody can stop a virus like this. And if even if they could, for numerous reasons, locking down an island of two jurisdictions was never going to happen. Just look at the airports- if they couldn’t be bothered testing people on arrival from hot spots then they sure as hell were not going to close airports down.

    Six months of data proves that independent of lockdowns or masks, CoVid-19 is sharply seasonal and has a pattern which has been replicated in every country within the northern temperate zone.

    We are trying to something that we never attempted before in history and which just doesn’t work- while wrecking the economy and damaging society in the process.

    1. Cian

      Can you tell me what you mean by “seasonal” please?
      you keep using that term – and I don’t understand what you mean by it.

      To me seasonal suggests that the time of year has an impact on something. Example:
      – The ‘flu is seasonal – it peaks in Winter… (this holds true everywhere – the flu season in North America and Europe is winter (Dec/Jan/Feb) in Australia/NZ/South Africa is the their winter (April-Aug))
      – Deaths are seasonal – the Spring and Autumn months have average numbers of deaths, Winter has above average, Summer: below average.

      Covid has been around for less than a year – what does “seasonal” mean? And what, specifically, is it’s season.

      1. Cian

        Just to add onto his: I’m not saying Covid isn’t seasonal – but we just don’t know yet.

        Looking at the spread of COVID across countries it seems take a similar curve – an exponential growth, a peak, and the a more gradual fall-off. This shape doesn’t seem to be linked to the seasons, it is more related to whenever it arrived to the country/hit a certain threshold.

        Breaking that down:
        Stage 1: exponential increase. The virus arrives into a susceptible population. It is highly contagious and symptoms don’t appear until after the person has passed it on. A large population leads to exponential growth.
        Stage 2: peak. The growth slows down and peaks as soon as it runs out of new hosts. This can be one or more of:
        – most people are immune (either because they got infected & recovered – or were immune anyway – e.g. been exposed to SARS)
        – less exposure: people are following medical advice and social distancing/working form home/reducing social interaction /lifestyle*. The fewer people you meet – the lower your chance of catching it is.
        – less transmission: washing hands/ not touching eyes and mouth/ wearing masks/ better cleaning/ weather*/ health*.
        Stage 3: Gradual fall-off. As both the numbers infected and number susceptible drop the transmission rate drops too

        Stage 4?: second wave – depending on the reason for Stage 1 finishing, there could be a second wave. If Stage 1 finished because the majority of people were immune – there will be no second wave. If Stage 1 finished and there are still large numbers susceptible – then the whole process can repeat (albeit slower/lower since the available population is smaller). Or, if the virus mutates it can strike everyone again.

        *some of these factors are seasonal – in winter we spend more time indoors, with central heating on, have lower vitamin D, play less sport, eat differently, viruses live longer on surfaces, etc… and as the weather changes the transmission reasons in Stage 2 above will become more/less important.

    2. Nigel

      ‘locking down an island of two jurisdictions was never going to happen.’

      Old enough to remember the entire island locking down when livestock got sick.

      ‘Six months of data proves that independent of lockdowns or masks, CoVid-19 is sharply seasonal’

      How the hell can six months of data prove that?

      ‘while wrecking the economy and damaging society in the process.’

      With climate change coming down the pike, we either change our society to weather more shocks and crisis like this, or get used to them being wrecked on a regular basis.

  14. Fakenews

    Why cant we follow what South Korea are doing?

    They have fupp all cases and life is not upended.
    Similar situation in Japan.

    Just copy what they are doing ffs!

    Also where is the public awareness campaign to get the flu vaccine? Surely there should be an urgency in getting as many people vaccinated now before the season starts.


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