Where is the data-driven approach to pandemic management?
Sir, – Last September the Government’s five-level Plan for Living with Covid-19 was published amid much fanfare. However, since then we have barely used anything other than Level 5 to control the pandemic. A recent update, Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 – The Path Ahead, concentrates on the resumption of education and childcare. The number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital (192) has now dropped below 200, having reached a high of 2020 on January 18th. The number of patients in ICU is below 50, which the Tánaiste previously signalled as a key metric. These patients are spread across our 29 public hospitals and 14,000 in-patient beds. Deaths with Covid-19 have reduced to a trickle, although the reported numbers are still being bolstered by counting of deaths from February and March. Despite these marked improvements in metrics we are still under Level 5 restrictions, without any immediate prospect of resuming many activities that are proven to be safe. We were promised a data-driven approach to pandemic management. It is time to take the aforementioned plan off the shelf, dust it down, and start using it in the way it was intended.
The “abundance of caution” needs to be replaced by responsive, data-driven risk management. Where have Levels 1 to 4 gone? – Yours, etc,