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Bad Covid advice September 26, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Depressing to read this in the SBP at the weekend.

Cathal Friel, the executive chair and co-founder of Open Orphan and Poolbeg Pharma, said the government should not “overreact” this winter when Covid-19 cases begin to peak once more.

He’s decided that:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is over. The government should disband its Covid-19 test centres, while there’s no need for people to be wasting their time with lateral flow antigen tests either. We just need to treat Covid-19 like the common cold or flu and just move on,” Friel told the Business Post.

“There’s no doubt there’s going to be a big spike in Covid-19 cases in November and December this year. But that’s because the virus will behave like the common cold or influenza, which both peak at set times each year.

And:

“The Covid-19 virus is now going to peak every winter, which means everybody, including governments and businesses, needs to deal with it as they do with the common cold and flu outbreaks.

“This idea that people should sit at home from work for a full week after contracting the virus is nonsense. People should take a day or two to recover as if they had the flu and get back to normal after that.”

As the SBP notes:

Friel’s comments run counter to the HSE’s current official advice, which says people who develop Covid-19 symptoms or get a positive antigen test result should self-isolate for seven days. If people have symptoms after this period, other than a mild cough or a change to their sense of smell, they should continue to self-isolate until they have had no symptoms for 48 hours.

But that’s not correct about the how to treat flu either. The advice around dealing with flu is long-established and predates the Covid-19 pandemic. As the HSE notes:

Flu can be severe and may cause serious illness and death. Those most at risk are the very young and elderly.

But if you are generally fit and healthy, you can manage your symptoms at home. You can usually treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week…

You can start your normal activities again when you feel well enough.

In other words flu would likely leave you unwell enough that you would be unable to resume normal activities for, well, a full week, after the symptoms manifest. 

There’s a further couple of points – a cold outbreak is not the same as flu, and flu is not the same as Covid-19. They are very different viruses and with different effects – the latter significantly more severe than the former. At best we could say that Covid-19 is as lethal as a bad flu season but Covid appears to be prevalent across the year in a way that flu isn’t. And Covid-19 is more severe that the flu, even with vaccines. He also appears blithely unaware that Covid-19 is going to see numbers affected in addition to those with flu. So the health service is going to likely be stretched further than it already is during bad flu seasons. 

He argues that the pandemic is over, that ‘even Joe Biden has said so’. That is far from a settled opinion. And while we have been fortunate that currently variants of concern are not a factor that does not mean they could not manifest further down the line. Keep in mind Andrew Flood’s thoughts on this matter about costs – and some indications of cases rising again. 

 

Particularly depressing to see this in the SBP piece:

Friel, along with Professor Luke O’Neill, an immunologist at Trinity College and a non-executive director in Poolbeg Pharma, will host a number of events around the country this week in Cork, Limerick, Galway, Belfast and Dublin to outline what they believe will happen this winter regarding Covid-19 and influenza cases.

I’d love to think everything was done and dusted, that there was no continuing threat from Covid-19 and we could all pack up the tents. And there’s absolutely no harm in people – as best as they are able – enjoying the lack of restrictions (while bearing in mind that not everyone has that luxury). But assuming all will be well seems panglossian.  

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