Today the government announced increased measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus. Sport is cancelled, schools remain closed, nonessential travel is not advised, cafes and restaurants will be limited to takeaway, and playgrounds will close.
This current reality that we have adapted to will stretch into middle of April, at the very least.
Yet none of the efforts to 'flatten the curve' on Covid-19 will work if people do not heed the message of the government and fail to self-isolate and socially distance themselves from friends and loved ones.
Amid the latest briefing from the various stakeholders in the Department of Health and the HSE came one potential green shoot. Photos from Howth and Glendalough withstanding, it seems people are heeding the advice of the government in relation to social distancing. According to HSE boss Dr Tony Holohan, the social circle around confirmed Covid-19 cases has shrunk dramatically over the past week.
Dr. Tony Holohan, @CMOIreland, @roinnslainte - We're at an early stage in the progression of this illness. One of the most significant early indicators that we've seen is the number of cases or contacts we see associated with an individual case has dropped from 20 to 5 now.
— MerrionStreet.ie (@merrionstreet) March 24, 2020
Scientists say that someone suffering from Covid-19 will infect up 2.5 people. This means that reducing the social cluster of sufferers from 20 to 5 is a really positive step in curtailing the spread of the disease. It's also a sign that Irish people are, by in large, adhering to the government's advice on self-isolating and social distancing.
The reality is that Irish society is in for a very long battle with the coronavirus. As we're repeatedly told, actions we took last week and will take tomorrow will have a massive bearing on how this disease effects the population as a whole. We're a long way from knowing whether the government should have taken stricter actions in order to halt the disease, or if more draconian measures like GPS tracking of Covid-19 sufferers is required here.
Regardless, there is clear evidence that the majority of Irish people are heeding medical advice in relation to this disease. If we can't avoid the coming 'surge', hopefully we can mitigate its damage.