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.
THE pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Merck have generated excitement with the news that they have pills that could help keep people out of hospital if they catch Coronavirus.
The UK Government has been told it must be "absolutely prepared" to trigger its Plan B Covid measures if and when it is needed.
More than 50,000 cases of Covid have been recorded in the UK for the first time since 17 July.
The overwhelming majority of Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths continue to be preventable says a study published this week in the United States.
Most people who become ill with Covid-19 may be able to recover at home.
THE Covid pandemic has caused the biggest fall in life expectancy in Europe since World War II. Data from 29 European countries, the USA and Chile recorded reductions in life expectancy last year and at a scale that has wiped out years of progress.
Whilst we are preoccupied with the Delta variant others may be on the way. At present there are four variants of concern to the World Health Organisation and these are Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.
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.