New figures reveal dramatic fall in Covid-19 deaths and hospitalisations

CSO statistics show vaccine rollout is leading to decline in all measures of the disease

The rollout of the vaccine programme has significantly reduced the number of older people being infected with Covid-19. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty

The rollout of the vaccine programme has significantly reduced the number of older people being infected with Covid-19. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

 

The rollout of vaccines has significantly reduced the number of older people becoming infected with Covid-19, figures from the Central Statistics Office suggest.

Eighteen per cent of those who tested positive for the disease were aged over 65 in the week ending January 29th, but this fell to just 6 per cent in the week to April 2nd, when there were 3,010 confirmed cases in the State.

The figures show that all the major indicators of Covid-19 spread remain on the decline, with 29 people dying with the disease in the week to April 2nd.

The case fatality rate (CFR) has declined too as a result of the vaccination of older people. In April last year, when Covid-19 was prevalent in many nursing homes, the mortality rate peaked at 77 per 1,000 confirmed cases. Last month it fell to 4 per 1,000 cases after standing at 13 per 1,000 in February.

There has been an even greater decline in hospitalisations, with the number of people being treated for the disease last week (264) down 86 per cent on the 1,846 recorded on January 15th. The numbers in intensive care units (ICU) have fallen by about two thirds in the same period.

The vaccine effect is also benefitting healthcare workers, with just 71 contracting the disease in the week to April 2nd, the lowest weekly figure since August.

The average number of contacts per positive case per week stood at three last week, with Dublin and Offaly the counties with the highest average number of contacts per positive case – four.

The proportion of asymptomatic cases has almost doubled since January, rising from 15 per cent to 30 per cent last week.

The lower number in January reflects a decision to abandon contact tracing because the number of new cases was too high. The practice has since resumed.