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Not there yet Peak of Omicron could still be weeks away, NPHET expert warns

'I think the peak could be another week or two or three away, because of the sheer numbers in the system that haven't been counted to date'

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Dr Mary Favier

Dr Mary Favier

Dr Mary Favier

One of the National Public Health Emergency Team’s Covid experts has warned that the peak of Omicron could still be weeks away. 

However, Dr Mary Favier said they will have to consider a further easing of restrictions “quite soon” even as case numbers rise.

A record 23,817 new Covid-19 cases were reported here yesterday which is the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

There were 941 people in hospital with the virus and 90 are in ICU.

NPHET is also understood not to have recommended any changes to the close contacts rules for the moment.

Dr Favier, who is also Covid adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners, told Newstalk Breakfast the peak of Omicron could still be weeks away.

"I think the peak could be another week or two or three away, because of the sheer numbers in the system that haven't been counted to date.

"Testing has not been able to keep up, it just couldn't.

"So in terms of numbers of the peak we might not have seen it yet, but there is a feel that we may be just coming through this sort of short, sharp steep rise and coming through the other side of it.

"We don't know; but it's caution for another week or two - but after that, if things stay as stable as they are, it looks reasonably optimistic".

In terms of the easing of restrictions, Dr Favier said these will need to be looked at “and looked at quite soon”.

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"There's always a balance in healthcare with prioritising COVID care and then non-COVID care taking a back seat.

"And you always have to do that in terms of what's the most beneficial and what gives the largest health gain".

And she believes there is a concern about non-Covid diagnoses being overlooked.

"General Practitioners are very concerned about non-Covid care being missed, and significant diagnoses being missed.

"So restrictions all across healthcare and across society would be lifted reasonably quickly, not completely, but all with a view to getting healthcare workers back to work, getting society functioning when we have a better sense of what those figures mean.

"As people will know, the last thing anybody wants to do is go backwards - as we've said before - but hopefully we're starting to see some glimmer of light".

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