Covid effect | 

Ireland has emerged from Covid-19 pandemic 'exceptionally well', top doc says

'Overall in Ireland, one in 4,000 were dead above what would have been expected. Shockingly in the UK it was one in 400'

Professor Sam McConkey said we had emerged from the coronavirus pandemic “exceptionally well”

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

One of Ireland’s best-known disease experts has said the country has emerged from the coronavirus pandemic “exceptionally well”.

Professor Sam McConkey, head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland said that we fared better “economically and healthwise” compared to other countries.

"A group from Seattle, published in The Lancet about two weeks ago, looking at what they call excess deaths in each country in the world over the last two years.," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"Many people have asked, including on your programme, how many of the folk who actually have died with COVID have died because of COVID?

"Overall in 2020 and 2021 in Ireland, sadly one in 4,000 of our population were dead above and beyond what would have been expected based on the changes of death from the previous 10 years.

"They use the previous 10 years averages to see what you would expect in terms of numbers.

"Shockingly in the UK it was one in 400 - that's 10 times more than us.

"The worst in the world was Bulgaria and Bolivia [which] had one in 70 of their population had excess deaths.

"That's like 1.3%, that would be the equivalent of 70,000 deaths in Ireland - we never approached anything like that".

He says the Irish economy has also emerged very robust.

"In retrospect, in terms of the countries around the world, we've done exceptionally well.

"Economically, somehow, we have come out of this outbreak with our economy reasonably intact.

"I know it's facing problems with [the] high price of oil and inflation, but that's a different issue.

"But in terms of our economic performance through and during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, Ireland has also come out of that very robustly.

"So both economically and healthwise, we've come out of this exceptionally well compared to Europe and America".

He adds that the reason for our lower rates is because we "switched off all of our social interactions" during the first wave.

"But overall... we have about 1,200 extra deaths in Ireland above and beyond what would have been expected in 2020 and 2021."

He was speaking as the total number of COVID-19 deaths here passed the 7,000 mark up to Monday, April 25.

Data shows 7,016 people have died, including "probable and possible deaths" from the virus.

However not everyone who dies with COVID-19 will have died from it.

There were 6,841 further cases of coronavirus confirmed over the weekend.

There were also 20 deaths notified on Monday.

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