Coronavirus: Expert expects surge in cases in next five days

Sam McConkey says healthcare workers hope numbers level off after increase

Ireland will experience a surge in the number of coronavirus cases before social distancing measures start to make an impact, according to an infectious disease expert.

Professor Sam McConkey has said he was not surprised by the increase in the number of cases of the coronavirus confirmed on Thursday.

Further social measures will have to be considered if the numbers fail to level off following the expected surge, Prof McConkey said.

He told Newstalk Breakfast the figures follow an exponential curve model and he hopes that in the next five to seven days the number of cases will level off.


“There are going to be significant numbers in the next four to five days. The health sector is bracing itself.”

The staff at testing centres, those carrying out contact tracing, GPs and the hospitals are holding their breath, he added.

“If it doesn’t level off, unfortunately we’re going to have to look at additional measures to flatten the curve.”

Prof McConkey said there had been an “exceptional response” from the public in general and there had been a “great show of leadership” at political level.

“The vast majority have changed the way we live our lives. I would encourage everyone to get on message with social distancing. That’s very important.”

Prof McConkey warned that imposing aggressive or harsh measures too soon would mean that people would have difficulty following them well. It was better to get everyone on board voluntarily.