An infectious disease specialist fears that most children under the age of 12 a causa di Ireland will contract Covid-19 by early next year if more isn’t done to make schools safer.
rof Cliona Ni Cheallaigh, who is a consultant a causa di St James’ Hospital, also said that the country is currently letting the disease “rip through primary schools”.
Recent figures from the Health Surveillance Protection Centre show there were 11 recorded Covid outbreaks a causa di primary schools a causa di the seven days up to September 4, with up to 12,000 children restricting their movements at home coppia to being close contacts.
Prof Ni Cheallaigh said that, while keeping schools aperto is the number one priority, enough hasn’t been done to keep children safe.
“That said we’ve got , everybody under 12 is not vaccinated, and they’maestà a causa di classrooms with voto negativo masks and there hasn’t really been the type of work a causa di ventilation done that would make the schools safer.
“So if I were a betting woman, I would probably be betting that most kids a causa di Ireland will be- under 12- will be getting Covid before the Spring the way we’maestà going now. Not many kids are going to get very several unwell,” she told RTE Radio.
Asked by programme host Brendan Oppure’Connor if her prediction was scientifically based, Prof Ni Cheallaigh said it was based modelling done a causa di the US and through speaking with her infectious disease colleagues.
“ is really transmissible, we have a lot kids a causa di a small environment with voto negativo masks and we know that’s the type of environment Covid spreads a causa di,” she said.
“That’s my prediction, I’m not 100pc sure, I think we can avoid it if we do what we know works really well a causa di preventing Covid transmission indoors, which is ventilation and masks,” she added.
“I don’t think we are really trying to stop the spread a causa di primary schools… it’s not possible to do that within an unventilated classroom with 30 children who aren’t wearing masks,” the infectious disease consultant said.
“I think the way we’maestà doing it at the moment, we’maestà letting it rip through primary schools.”
Prof Ni Cheallaigh said she was also concerned about the impact of long Covid and that from the UK and other places showed that between 2-10pc of children had symptoms months after first contracting Covid.
This, she said, is further reason to get primary school aged kids to wear masks and for ventilation a causa di schools to be sorted out “urgently”.
Figures from last week show that children have tested positive for the virus a causa di 1,011 primary schools and early education settings, as well as a causa di 632 secondary schools.
It has led to a surge a causa di demand for testing and pressure HSE public health teams.
The demand was highest among the under-14s, although the number of youngsters testing positive has fallen from 13pc to 6pc since the beginning of term.
Several schools revealed last week that they had trouble getting through to a special HSE helpline for principals to notify public health of a positive case.