Doctors have reported a marked increase in the number of children with upper respiratory infections, and fear this masks the true number of Covid-19 cases.
A general practitioner in Tramore, County Waterford, said children could have between six and eight respiratory tract infections over the winter.
Speaking on RTÃ’s Morning Ireland, Dr Austin Byrne said parents who are repeatedly asked to isolate children are in a very difficult situation and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them. parents to take a PCR test and exclude their child from school or nursery.
“We have a real disconnect between the social need for solidarity and the (…) pressure exerted on parents and families to meet the needs of society. So it is really a difficult place in which they find themselves. find it right now. “
Dr Byrne also said it is ‘sobering’ to think that if the detection rate of Covid-19 in South Waterford appears high, it might simply be two to three weeks ahead of the rest of the country.
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Dr Martin Daly, a general practitioner based near Ballygar in County Galway, also said there had been an increase in the number of young children with respiratory illnesses in recent weeks.
Speaking on the same program, he said he and his colleagues have noticed an increase in “Covid fatigue” among parents who are increasingly reluctant to have their children tested due to the logistical difficulties that arise if a test is positive.
Dr Daly said it was a very difficult situation, but warned that “there is a price to it” if cases are not identified, and urged parents to act if their children have symptoms.
He said that there are a number of viruses circulating and many of them are exchanged and imitated with each other.
âWe’re going to have a tough winter,â he said, adding that the health service could be overwhelmed, which will have a ripple effect on other non-Covid services.
The increase in Covid cases among young children “unsurprisingly”
Meanwhile, a professor of immunology at DCU said the increase in Covid-19 cases in elementary school children is not surprising given that the cohort is yet to be vaccinated.
Professor Christine Loscher said there was roughly the same percentage of positive cases in this group, compared to the previous two weeks, and that a massive increase is not evident.
Speaking on RTÃ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Prof Loscher said everyone should focus on their own interactions instead of focusing on children’s activities.
She said testing and research in schools needed to be addressed and called for the introduction of a more streamlined approach where contact tracing turnaround can be done within six to seven days.
Professor Loscher also warned that there was “potentially a major problem ahead for the healthcare system” and giving booster shots to healthcare workers and speeding up the roll-out of booster shots for those over 60 could solve this problem. .
Speaking on the same schedule, a Shannon-based GP said school contact tracing was to be reintroduced when schools reopen next week.
Dr Yvonne Williams said without contact tracing of asymptomatic children who return to class next week, it will be difficult for parents to manage symptoms in the future.
She said the message to parents was also confusing, asking them to limit children’s activities outside of school, including outdoor activities, while allowing other measures to be relaxed.