The Rewind

Simon Harris Erroneously Claims 'There Have Been 18 Other Coronaviruses'

Simon Harris Erroneously Claims 'There Have Been 18 Other Coronaviruses'

Simon Harris erroneously claimed that Covid-19 is called as such because "there have been 18 other coronaviruses".

The Minister for Health made the claim while speaking on 2FM Breakfast with Doireann & Eoghan on Wednesday morning.

"There are some encouraging signs that there are a number of vaccines, I think about five, at various stages of trials across the world," said Harris.

But remember this is coronavirus, Covid-19. That means there have been 18 other coronaviruses and I don’t think they have actually successfully found a vaccine for any.

The Covid-19 name is derived from Corona (CO), Virus (VI), Disease (D), and 2019 (19) the year in which the outbreak was first identified.

Harris's error is a common one. Though, not one you expect to hear from a country's Minister for Health.

The minister said that Ireland will take part in clinical trials for Covid-19 treatments in the coming weeks, adding that "you would have to presume that a vaccine is still about another year away".


He also pleaded with people to continue following restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

"What we're planning on doing is that by the end of this month publishing what we'll call a road map which will basically say, 'Here's how we're going to try and reopen Ireland'.

"It's going to take a period of time and we're going to do it in phases. There will be a period of time between each phase.

"If we don't make enough progress from a health point of view from one phase to the next, we won't be able to move forward.

"Being honest, it's going to be very gradual, it's going to be very delicate. We've been blunt with people from the start, no one should think that on May 5th that things are going back to even relative normality. I

"What I think should happen on May 5th that we will see some tweaking of the restrictions but also a plan as to what the next phase might look like.

"We have to give people hope and a plan as to how we will get out of this. If we lifted the restrictions today, thousands of people would die."

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