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rising cases More abandoning face masks and hand sanitiser as new Covid-19 cases soar to over 2,000


Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Stock image. Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

More of us may be getting complacent , ditching face masks at work and ignoring shop hand sanitiser amid concern at a steep rise in Covid-19 cases to 2, 002 yesterday.

Increasing numbers of us are abandoning face masks and social distancing at work while walking by hand sanitisers in shops, according to the Economic Social and Research Institute (ERSI).

The unexpected daily toll yesterday comes against a five-day average of 1,242 case of the virus. As the majority of adults are vaccinated against Covid-19 and “freedom” day nears, we may be letting down our guard too quickly.

The Government’s plan is to remove most Covid-19 restrictions from October 22 and it will now examine if yesterday’s spike in cases is a blip or a trend.

Yesterday’s infection figures have come as a surprise, prompting deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn to say the situation needs to be “monitored closely” to see if the higher level of cases is sustained.

There were 354 Covid-19 patients in hospital, a fall of one from Thursday. But the numbers in intensive care rose to 73, an increase of four in a day.

Earlier HSE chief Paul Reid said hospitalisations due to Covid-19 were up 17pc this week.

The ESRI’s tracker for September 22 to 28 recorded “a gradual decline in mask-wearing, maintaining distance and hand hygiene while at work .”

It noted a “steeper decline” in hand hygiene in shops and “less adherence to social distancing on public transport”.

It said people who exercised indoors reported “low levels of mask-wearing and relatively low levels of ventilation, with 38.1pc saying the facility was not well ventilated”.

“People associate risk of infection with how many people they meet and which locations they go to, but not with whether they wear a mask, wash their hands, or keep two metres distance from others.”

The phased return to the workplace began on September 20 and the ESRI found two in three staff have been back at some point. More of us are also socialising .

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Around 88.6pc of everyone over the age of 12 in this country is now fully vaccinated.

Among the 373 people over 15 admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 between April 1 and October 2, 69pc were unvaccinated, 31pc had at least one dose and 21pc were fully jabbed for more than fourteen days.

Among the fully vaccinated 97pc, or 75 people, had an underlying condition. Of the fully vaccinated 28 died. Doctors have raised concern about the pockets of people aged 20 to 30 who have chosen not to accept a Covid-19 vaccine.

Cork GP Dr Ronan Boland said that “as we start bringing more and more patients in for face-to-face consultations and we check Covid vaccination status, worrying numbers of adults – 20 to 40-year-olds –
are opting not to get vaccinated, saying ‘there is not enough research’.”

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