Ireland has highest incidence of Covid-19 in EU, says centre for disease control

State records 1,414 new cases of Covid-19, with 353 people in hospital, 55 in ICU

Three counties – Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan – have 14-day incidences of over 1,000. Photograph: Alan Betson

Three counties – Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan – have 14-day incidences of over 1,000. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Department of Health has reported 1,414 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday. The number of patients being treated in hospital is 353, with 55 in ICU.

The latest figures come after the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) reported that Ireland has the highest incidence of Covid-19 in the European Union.

With a 14-day incidence of 504 cases per 100,000 people, Ireland has taken the mantle of Europe’s national “hotspot” for Covid infections from Cyprus, which has an incidence of 496.

Incidence is lowest in eastern and north-eastern Europe, but the highest regional incidence is in south-eastern France rather than Ireland.

The Republic’s incidence is 2½ times the overall EU rate of 199.

While Ireland is currently experiencing very high rates of the disease, case numbers have been declining since mid-August, the latest HSE update shows.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre says incidence peaked at about 515 cases on August 23rd and now stands at 493. Incidence is rising in nine counties and falling in 19. Three counties – Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan – have 14-day incidences of over 1,000.

The ECDC figures show the death rate for Covid-19 patients in Ireland is only half that of Europe’s – 6.65 deaths per 100,000 people over the past fortnight compared to 12.68. This, along with relatively fewer cases of serious illness compared to previous waves, is generally attributed to high vaccination rates.

With 88.2 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated, Ireland has the second highest vaccination rate in Europe, behind Malta.

New data show that the highly infectious Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variants account for more than 94 per cent of cases recorded in the State since the middle of December.

The Alpha (B 1.1.7) or Kent variant, which was first identified in Ireland in November, was responsible for the huge surge in cases and deaths which occurred in January. It has since been almost completely eclipsed by the even more infectious Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.

The Alpha variant accounts for almost two thirds (62.8 per cent) or 15,994 of all sequenced cases from December 13th until August 21st.

The Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain, accounts for 7,929 cases since it was first identified in the Republic in April.

Between July 12th and August 13th Delta accounted for 98 per cent of all cases and Alpha just 2 per cent in the State.

The Delta strain, which became dominant during the vaccine rollout, is clustered overwhelmingly in the young population with less than 14 per cent of cases occurring in those over the age of 45. This reflects the rollout of the vaccine which first targeted the older age group.

The Mu (B.1.621) variant accounts for just four cases in Ireland so far, though it has only recently been sequenced. It was this week designated a variant of interest (not yet a variant of concern) by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mu was first identified in Colombia and cases have been recorded in South America and Europe. The WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic said the variant has mutations suggesting it could be more resistant to vaccines but that more studies would be needed to examine this further.

Variants

New data show that the highly infectious Alpha and Delta Covid-19 variants account for more than 94 per cent of cases recorded in the State since the middle of December.

The Alpha (B 1.1.7) or Kent variant, which was first identified in Ireland in November, was responsible for the huge surge in cases and deaths which occurred in January. It has since been almost completely eclipsed by the even more infectious Delta (B.1.617.2) variant.

The Alpha variant accounts for almost two thirds (62.8 per cent) or 15,994 of all sequenced cases from December 13th until August 21st.

The Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain, accounts for 7,929 cases since it was first identified in the Republic in April.

Between July 12th and August 13th Delta accounted for 98 per cent of all cases and Alpha just 2 per cent in the State.

The Delta strain, which became dominant during the vaccine rollout, is clustered overwhelmingly in the young population with less than 14 per cent of cases occurring in those over the age of 45. This reflects the rollout of the vaccine which first targeted the older age group.

The Mu (B.1.621) variant accounts for just four cases in Ireland so far, though it has only recently been sequenced. It was this week designated a variant of interest (not yet a variant of concern) by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mu was first identified in Colombia and cases have been recorded in South America and Europe. The WHO’s weekly bulletin on the pandemic said the variant has mutations suggesting it could be more resistant to vaccines but that more studies would be needed to examine this further.