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.
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.
With Dominic Cummings, assistant to the British Prime Minister, talking about the early days of the pandemic, this is the week for opening up for indoor hospitality and cinemas, amusements, libraries and bingo. .
Having given over one million vaccinations, health chiefs here report that there have been 104 new cases of Covid-19 and unfortunately 2 more deaths.
CONCERN continues over the high rates of Covid in outbreak areas of Donegal with local GP representatives postulating that young people having cross-border parties may be the source of the spread of the infections.
No further deaths and eighty three new cases have been reported leading to a total of 2,146 deaths and 120,501 cases since the start of the pandemic. 83 individuals have tested positive out of 1,567 tested in the last 24 hours. Two people have died in the past seven days, down from eight in the week before.
With things opening up in time for the deputy First Minister to get her hair done to face Ryan Tubridy on ‘The Late Late Show’, we seem to be entering a new phase of the pandemic.
There has been one further Covid death overnight with the toll remaining at 2136 deaths.
After the riots and the royal death our attention now turns to the gradual opening up. More school years are returning and more non-essential ‘click and collect’ retail, car showrooms and car valets and outdoor sports are opening and we await decisions on Thursday 15 April about hairdressing and outdoor hospitality already available in England.
There have been two further Covid-19 deaths and an additional 89 cases until Tuesday. This makes 117,676 cases and 2,118 deaths so far.
With the SSE Arena mass vaccine centre opening, Moderna vaccine expected from the United States towards the end of April, Glaxo to fill the Novartis vaccine and the expectation to send vaccine south, our thoughts may now turn to the long effects of Covid and how it might effect our health and social care services.
As I write, we have reached the first anniversary of lockdown or quarantine, as we used to call it in the old parlance.
Last week the Stormont Health Committee received a briefing from the chair of the Inter-departmental Working Group on Mother and Baby Institutions, Judith Gillespie, a departmental briefing on waiting lists and waiting times, on Severe Fetal Impairment Abortion (Amendment) Bill and SR 2021/39 The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Amendment No 7) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021.
With schools returning in a phased way, we have turned another corner in the pandemic. Last week the Stormont Health Committee received a Ministerial update on the Covid-19 Disease Response from Health Minister Robin Swann and the Chief Medical Officer.