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WHO expert warns Ireland will see another Covid surge in a few weeks

Dr David Nabarro said that there is an “emergency pattern” where there appears to be an increase in Covid cases every 3 to 4 months.

Dr David Nabarro, Special Envoy with the World Health Organisation

Neasa Cumiskey

Ireland will see another surge of Covid infections in 4 to 6 weeks, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s Special Envoy on Covid-19, said that there is an “emergency pattern” where there appears to be an increase in Covid cases every 3 to 4 months.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he said: “The frequency does seem to be about 4 months but the size of the surge is hard to predict.

“It’s partly to do with the number of people in the community that are susceptible and it’s partly to do with the virus itself – has it developed a new ferocity by changing or mutating?

“Saying whether it’s going to be a big surge or a small surge is a bit of a guess, but that’s the pattern we’re seeing around the world. About every 4 months, it comes up again.”

He explained that the immunity granted after catching Covid depletes over time, which is why cases surge every few months.

“When I’ve got an illness, a viral disease for example, what happens when I get over it is my body develops defences, what we’d call immunity, against it.

“Immunity doesn’t last forever. It wears off after time. The immunity that people get after the coronavirus seems to fade quite quickly, especially in older people.

“That’s why the waves come about every 4 months. It does seem that the immunity in most people declines over the months after infection or immunisation.”

Dr Nabarro said that while Ireland can expect to see rising numbers of Covid infections over the next few weeks, it’s likely that the virus will be less intense this time around.

“The waves that come every 4 months or so, we would expect them to be less severe over time.

“I think we should think in terms of viruses becoming more transmissible and less unpleasant as we get used to them and as they settle down in our communities.”

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