Micheal Donnelly, who writes a health column was born and bred in Andersonstown, educated at Scolie Mhuire, and studied medicine in Queen's before fleeing across the Lisburn Road to BT9.
He undertook further training in epidemiology at Oxford RHA/University and Harvard Summer School. He rose to be Deputy Director of Heartbeat Wales. In semi-retirement he has been helping out with the pandemic and writing about its implications for health. Micheal is part of a cadre of public health doctors who have been commenting on the pandemic. He splits his time between Belfast and Durham.
Nearly a third of people arriving into the UK as the Delta variant took off may have broken quarantine rules, we learnt this week.
THE vaccine advisory body has refused to give the green light to vaccinating healthy children aged 12 to 15-years-old on health grounds alone. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that children were at so low a risk from the virus that jabs would only offer a marginal benefit.
Governments are expecting high rates of Covid-19 in the community to hit schools next week but think that the levels of disruption will be lower than last term. It is believed that infection levels in schools could reach record levels, but that fewer pupils will end up being off because of decisions about ‘bubbles’.
IN February 2020, the British medical journal The Lancet publishes a letter signed by 27 scientists stating: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin.”
The death toll from Covid-19 now stands at 2,230 with 41 patients in ICU and a total of 2,335,798 vaccinations given.
The Stormont Health Committee held an urgent meeting on Thursday past to consider the current impact of the Covid pandemic. Chaired by Colm Gildernew, the meeting heard from Professor Ian Young, the Chief Scientific Officer, who outlined the possible future scenarios, the middle one of which might involve 3,500 to 4000 cases per day.
As predicted, the Executive is progressing gradually and cautiously with an easing of restrictions. Up to 15 people from an unlimited number of households are able to meet in gardens from Monday.
An interim vaccine certification process is being updated to enable users to download their vaccine certificates at home. The current process is transitioning to the planned COVID Certification Service and the first phase commenced at the weekend for all new Covid certificate requests.
Having ambulances from the National Ambulance Service in the South on standby indicates how stretched our health and social care services are.
Expert advice is being awaited on whether children should be vaccinated against Covid-19. The concern is that the risks of side-effects could outweigh the benefits of being protected against a virus that barely hasaeffected them but is beginning to do so.
In a busy week, the British Secretary of State broke his own rules and Michelle O’Neill marked the two millionth vaccination.
COVID has affected Euro football, and probably did for Scotland’s chances, but the pandemic has been eclipsed by local politics and the success of countries such as Singapore and New Zealand has eclipsed the success of our own Rathlin Island, which has not had a single confirmed case in the pandemic.
Easing of some public health measures due from 21 June has been delayed due to epidemiological indicators and to allow time for more vaccinations. Decisions were to be taken by the Executive this Thursday but without a first and second first minister may not be.
As of this morning (Wednesday), we have 81 new cases of Covid-19 but no cases in Intensive Care. Over £6.2 billion has been spent on the pandemic with £1 billion by the Department of Health and the rest, broadly, on the economy (furlough scheme etc).
The one shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine has been approved and has been shown to be 66 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19. However, it uses similar viral vector technology to AstraZeneca and may have similar side effects.