ROME — Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister (Tánaiste) Leo Varadkar has warned of a “long war” with the coronavirus, during which the government may allow only “periods of freedom” for the people.
The number of cases of the Omicron variant will “break all records” as soon as next week, Mr Varadkar claimed, based on modelling from Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
In a chilling display of authoritarianism, Varadkar nonchalantly explained that the government may grant people occasional breaks from lockdowns or “periods of freedom” in the midst of ongoing confinement.
While the future course of the pandemic is difficult to predict, Varadkar said, Ireland is facing a “long war” that could go on for several more years.
“There may well be a case to say, in this long war, that if it’s possible to have periods of freedom then that might make sense,” he said.
“Because there will be other variants and there will be other winters and perhaps in advance of those winters and those variants we should try to have periods of freedom and give people a break, an opportunity to de-mob if you like, during this long war,” he said, adding that we may have to accept that we “go backwards on occasion.”
On Friday evening, Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Micheál Martin introduced a series of coronavirus restrictions, including enforced 8:00 p.m. closing times for pubs and restaurants, which will last at least until January 30.
Despite widespread excitement in Europe over rising numbers of positive cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, less attention has been paid to the harmful health effects of the virus, which may be significantly lower than last year.
In Italy, for example, there has seemingly been no spike in coronavirus deaths like there was a year ago. The number of patients in intensive care as well as the number of coronavirus deaths seem to have been substantially lower than the same period in 2020.
On December 18, 2020, there were 2,819 coronavirus patients in intensive care units (ICU) in Italy, whereas on the same day in 2021, the number has dropped to just 953, a 66 per cent decrease.
Looking at deaths from the coronavirus, the numbers seem starker still. On December 18, 2020, 685 persons died in Italy infected with the coronavirus, whereas on this same date in 2021, only 107 persons died with the virus. This represents a 84 per cent decline in deaths from the disease.
The Italian daily Il sole 24 ore published a superimposed graph Saturday comparing deaths with coronavirus in the two years, which appeared to show that the winter spike in deaths that occurred in 2020 has not been replicated in 2021:
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