Our media, and as a byproduct many of our fellow citizens, remain of the opinion that we in Ireland have somehow handled and contained the COVID19 situation in a far superior manner to the United States. They don’t quite use those words, but are continuously writing negative stories about how the White House has responded to the pandemic.
Part of this is a result of the media’s business model. Most people on this side of the Atlantic like to read negative stories about Donald Trump, it results in more eyeballs which has a positive impact on traffic to their sites, along with physical newspaper sales. While I’m not here to comment on or defend President Donald Trump, this phenomenon does result in diverting attention away from what’s happening on our own shores.
When you look at the data relating to deaths, we are not doing any better. In fact, at the time of writing, Ireland had 328.01 COVID19 deaths per million of population, whereas the United States had 293.02.
It’s difficult to draw a direct comparison or conclusion from this, given the sheer size of the United States from a geographic point of view. I personally know many people in New York City and the situation there has been very serious indeed. Cities like NYC, with a population density that is simply not comparable to Dublin, will undoubtably have a harder time containing the virus.
Here In Ireland we have our own failings, the results of which are yet to fully rear their ugly heads. At the end of March, when Ireland went into lockdown, cancer screening was suspended and has still not resumed.
The logic of this fails me. On the one hand we have COVID19, a virus which results in a mild illness for 80% of those who get it and one which close to 99% of those who contract it survive. On the other side we have a disease which one in three people will contract in their lifetime and which is 100% fatal if left untreated.
Why does it have to be all or nothing? Wouldn’t it have been possible to curb the spread of COVID19 through various measures as well as ensuring that screening for a far more serious disease goes uninterrupted?
According to The Times, lockdown in Ireland will mean 1,800 extra cancer deaths over the next 12 months if the health service does not reverse the decrease in GP referrals for diagnosis. In the above tweet, Stephen Donnely, TD (Irish Member of Parliament), warns that without action, cancer-related deaths could be higher than the total COVID19 deaths in Ireland.
Unfortunately I have heard many people say that they think that this decision was warranted. As serious as COVID19 is for a very small percentage of the population, media induced fear backed by daily government updates has resulted in instilling a sense of terror in our population, to the extent that many people can no longer comprehend logic.
The handling of this crisis by our unelected government needs to be thoroughly investigated. Over half of all COVID19 cases in Ireland are comprised of nursing homes and health professionals. There are severe question marks about whether our government has adequately protected some of the most vulnerable segments of our population, those in nursing homes.
A prominent Irish GP, Dr. Marcus De Brun has been very vocal regarding both our government’s response to and management of the situation, accusing them of avoiding difficult questions.
Dr. De Brun has risked his reputation by being one of the only medically qualified people in our country to openly speak out. He is already being accused of being a conspiracy theorist by many people, an always convenient method that’s widely used to discredit people who speak truth to power.
Our government often warns us that we’re not out of the woods yet and that we could face another wave. It’s beginning to look more and more like this wave will be a tsunami of their own unintended creation.