Have you ever had a dream, where your loved ones are walking towards a cliff with blindfolds on, and there is nothing you can do about it? No matter how loud you shout out to them, they can’t hear you. You try to run to them but your feet seem to be glued to the ground and you can’t budge no matter how hard you try. You watch them getting closer and closer to the edge with every step they take. You can’t stop them. Your mouth goes dry, your hands start to sweat and your body feels paralyzed; Well, for me this is not a dream; it’s a reality!
Why are you taking so long to lockdown and put strict measures Mr. Leo Varadkar? I want you to explain it to the Irish people. Shouldn’t the message be: IRELAND stop what you are doing and protect yourselves and your families; STAY HOME! The population of Ireland is about 4.83 million people living on 84,421 km². Ireland is 280 km wide and 486 km long to be exact. So how long do you think it will take for the coronavirus, running at the speed of light to infect everybody? There is no country able to withstand such a catastrophe.
Why are the Irish people still socializing in city and town centers? Why are they found in the hundreds, at beaches like Baltray in County Louth (this morning); places where you would not find a soul otherwise, now packed with people? Why aren’t the borders closed from the north; we are in a pandemic Mr. Leo Varadkar. Why is there still ignorance in your country? Are the people advised not to watch the news and to avoid social media as this will help them not panic? Meanwhile, everyone is in a state of panic shopping while socializing to find out information about how you intend on saving your country from unnecessary deaths. Ireland is taking too long to comprehend the danger.
Who will be responsible for all the deaths we will witness in the weeks to come due to a delayed lock-down? Today on the 22nd of March, lockdown or face the fate of Italy. The Irish people need you to keep them safe, even against their will. When are you planning on doing that? Ireland’s total cases have increased by 361.76% in the last 5 days.
How are you going to show your country that you care Mr. Leo Varadkar? The UK has increased by 225%, who up until this morning did not take this issue as seriously as was demanded, Italy has increased by 116.5%, who is now suffering the loss of the most deaths worldwide and, the USA, lead by the Trump administration, which made US airports into a coronavirus holiday and, allowing spring break partying in Florida, among other things, has increased by 536% in the last five days. So, where do you want to take your country from here Mr. Leo Varadkar?
Ireland March 15th/ TOTAL CASES/ 170 people – ranking 40th
Ireland March 16th/ TOTAL CASES/ 223 people – ranking 40th
Ireland March 17th TOTAL CASES/292 people – ranking 38th
Ireland March 18th TOTAL CASES/366 people – ranking 38th
Ireland March 19th TOTAL CASES/557 people -ranking 37th
Ireland March 20th TOTAL CASES/683 people -ranking 35th
Ireland March 21st TOTAL CASES/785 people – ranking 34th
361.76% increase in total cases in 6 days
Boris Johnson is now issuing a warning that coronavirus will overwhelm the NHS unless everyone starts to practice social distancing, after weeks of ignoring the severity of the problem. Now he claims that the UK is no more than three weeks behind Italy when it comes to the spread of the disease; now the news for London is “Stay at home! Save lives” – BBC News.
Doctors and nurses in Italy warn: “We are not a third world country; we are in the most developed area! The numbers don’t make sense! Make no mistake the time you decide to lockdown will determine your path. We are all overwhelmed, no country is prepared for this. We are not able to treat anything other than the coronavirus. We are working at 200 percent capacity but are not able to treat any other patients; Patients coming in due to cardiac arrest are met with no staff. We are starting to get emotionally and physically sick. PLEASE STOP and think! We see the pattern in different areas a week apart and there is no reason that in a few weeks it won’t be the same everywhere!”
This is the pattern:
One: a few positive cases; first few mild measures people are told to avoid the emergency department, but still hang out in groups; everyone says not to panic.
Two: Some moderate respiratory failures within a few days’ then more serious ones, then in no time, tons of patients overwhelming numbers which can’t all be treated. The staff starts getting so sick; not enough staff to cover shifts; mortality rate spikes. Everything about how to treat people is online.
S.O.S: The only thing that will make a difference is this: Don’t be afraid of the massively restricted measures to keep people safe. If governments won’t do this at least keep your families safe; those with a history of cancer, diabetes, any transplant; these people will not be tubed even if they are young! And by safe; we mean do not attend them, and you decide who does and how to help them.
Another typical attitude is reading stuff people are saying trying to analyze the situation about how it started, and this and that, and it’s not true, wasting precious time, and you go out to dinner thinking you’ll be safe. You won’t be. Take it seriously; you must prepare. There is no public transportation in Italy at this time. Today a Greek student living in Italy paid a taxi driver 650 euros to take her to the coast of Agona to get home by ship.
Channel 4 News Uk believes they are 2 weeks behind Italy because they took too long to lockdown; Interviewing an Italian doctor: the message from Italy (where it took less than a month for the virus to bring them to their knees) is STAY HOME – stop people from moving around! The only way to limit the virus is to limit movement, as people move around the cases keep increasing.
Please do not ignore this letter Mr. Leo Varadkar, for the love of Ireland, and the whole of the population of the world X
Maria Fokas/March 22-2020
Ireland March 22nd TOTAL CASES/906 people -ranking 32nd
Ireland March 23rd TOTAL CASES/1125 people – ranking 31st
Ireland March 24th TOTAL CASES/1329 people – ranking 27th
Ireland March 25th TOTAL CASES/1564 people – ranking 26th
Ireland March 26th TOTAL CASES/1819 people – ranking 25th
Ireland March 27th TOTAL CASES/2121 people – ranking 24th
Ireland March 28th TOTAL CASES/2415 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland March 29th TOTAL CASES/2615 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland March 30th TOTAL CASES/2910 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland March 31st TOTAL CASES/3235 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland April 1st TOTAL CASES /3447 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland April 2ndTOTAL CASES /3849 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland April 3rdTOTAL CASES / 4273 people – ranking 22nd
Ireland April 4th TOTAL CASES / 4604 people – ranking 23rd
reland April 5th TOTAL CASES / 4994 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland April 6th TOTAL CASES / 5364 people – ranking 23rd
Ireland April 7th TOTAL CASES / 5709 people – ranking 23rd
3258.23% increase in total cases in 22 days
Total Deaths/ranking out of 199 countries:
Ireland March 22nd TOTAL Deaths/4 people – ranking 50th
Ireland March 23rd TOTAL Deaths/ 6 people – ranking 50th [Increase 50%]
Ireland March 24th TOTAL Deaths/ 7 people – ranking 48th [Increase 16.66%]
Ireland March 25th TOTAL Deaths/ 9 people – ranking 47th [Increase 28.57%]
Ireland March 26th TOTAL Deaths/19 people – ranking 40th [Increase 111.11%]
Ireland March 27th TOTAL Deaths/22 people – ranking 37th [Increase 15.78%]
Ireland March 28th TOTAL Deaths/36 people – ranking 30th [Increase 63.63%]
Ireland March 29th TOTAL Deaths/46 people – ranking 23rd [Increase 27.77%]
Ireland March 30th TOTAL Deaths/54 people – ranking 24th [Increase 17.39%]
Ireland March 31st TOTAL Deaths/71 people – ranking 24th [Increase 31.48%]
Ireland April 1st TOTAL Deaths/85 people – ranking 23rd [Increase 19.71%]
Ireland April 2ndTOTAL Deaths /98 people – ranking 24th [Increase 15.29%]
Ireland April 3rdTOTAL CASES / 120 people – ranking 23rd [Increase 22.44%]
Ireland April 4th TOTAL CASES / 137 people – ranking 24th [Increase 14.16%]
Ireland April 5th TOTAL CASES / 158 people – ranking 24th [Increase 15.32%]
Ireland April 6th TOTAL CASES / 174 people – ranking 24th [Increase 10.12%]
Ireland April 7th TOTAL CASES / 210 people – ranking 24th [Increase 20.68 %]
*March 11/2020 – At the COVID-19 media briefing, the WHO Director-General said: “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do. We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.”
Unfortunately, WHO delayed in declaring COVID 19 as a pandemic! Also, they gave us false information – vital to protecting us from spreading this virus; Let’s recall what WHO said:
*January 14/2020 – “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human to human transmission of the novel #coronavirus identified in #Wahun #China”
*March 13/2020 – Europe becomes the epicenter of the pandemic. Europe now has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic (WHO).
*March 16/2020 – ″#WhereisBoris” has been trending on Twitter this weekend with many members of the British public venting their frustration at Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government’s apparently cautious approach when it comes to containing, and now delaying, the spread of the virus. The public is questioning the official numbers, and the government’s strategy to keep schools open as long as possible as well as museums, shops, bars, and restaurants. Many members of the British public are now pleading with the government to shut down public life. The scientists said that by putting in place social distancing measures now, “the growth can be slowed down dramatically, and thousands of lives can be spared.”
*March 17/2020 – John Koetsier a journalist, analyst, author, and senior contributor states that Facebook is deleting coronavirus posts, leading to charges of censorship.
The reality, according to a Facebook executive posting on Twitter, is that there was a bug in a system designed to stop spam:
We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back. More soon. Guy Rosen, VP Integrity, Facebook
*March 20/2020 – Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General of WHO said: “Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization. Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.”
*March 22/2020 – My personal experience with censorship, after FB claimed that they had fixed the problem on March 17/2020:
*March 22/2020 – Press conference on Sunday evening, Boris Johnson warned the public to take seriously the social distancing advice to stop the spread of coronavirus, saying it is “absolutely crucial”. First Minister Arlene Foster said legislation being passed at Westminster will allow the government to enforce social distancing; enforcement was needed in some cases to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but she added that the country “doesn’t want to have to go down that road”.
*March 23/2020 – Irish Times states: So why have other countries stopped their citizens from doing this? It is not simply because their numbers are worse. It is because of trust. Those governments have learned that they cannot trust their people to follow these simple rules. Allowing any degree of outdoor recreation quickly became a license for allowing any and all outdoor recreation. The only alternative was to ban it altogether. Ireland is a very small country, with an unusually cohesive common culture. Locking society down in its entirety could incubate a further health crisis for the future: one of mental health. That, too, could take lives – as could the economic devastation, which would leave future governments unable to make necessary investments in vital services. South Korea and Singapore have brought the virus under control without resorting to lockdowns.
Social distancing advice signage erected in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Similar advice has in places been painted onto pavements there. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
*March 24/2020 – The Irish Times writes: The novel coronavirus does not blow in on the wind. It will not jump randomly from a cyclist’s helmet onto your coat. It cannot pass through car windows or infect you through your walking boots. You are unlikely to get it from passing a sliotar. The fine weather on Sunday saw tens of thousands of people take to the country’s beaches, parks and hills, in search of fresh air, sunlight and a break from the anxiety caused by confinement and overexposure to social media. The vast majority appeared to follow the guidelines on social distancing. Unfortunately, others did not. In theory, there is no reason we cannot continue – unlike Italy, Spain or France – to live our lives with a degree of carefully-calibrated freedom. Going for a walk, run, cycle or drive with your close family units and housemates while maintaining your distance from all others and avoiding touching common surfaces, is safe.
*March 26/2020 – Still no lockdown or restrictions – schools and pubs shut, and according to sources 50 % of the people are staying home but, hundreds of people at shopping centers, parks, malls, and beaches.
*March 27/2020 – Morning – Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid 19.
*March 27/2020 – Midnight -Leo Varadkar introduced a mandatory order for everyone to stay at home for a two-week period until 12 April, apart from certain exceptions, across the Republic of Ireland. This is a moderate restriction; No fines are set yet for those who don’t comply. Leo Varadkar said “now is the time for further action”; for a two week period until Easter Sunday, everyone must stay at home unless their work is essential or they are buying food. “Freedom was hard-won in our country and it jars with us to limit liberty, even temporarily,” he said.
*March 28/2020 – RTE NEWS: Over 2,500 gardaí are on duty across the country to ensure that people are observing the restriction measures, to reassure them and to make sure people are traveling safely on the roads – Focusing on encouragement rather than enforcement. People are expressing their disapproval; being upset that they cannot go about their business because of this virus. Irish Government-issued cocooning: a measure to protect those over 70 years or those extremely medically vulnerable by minimizing interaction between them and others. These people should not leave their homes. Even within their homes should minimize all non-essential contact with other members of their household.
*March 28/2020 -BBC NEWS – Coronavirus: New regulations come into force: The Department of Health, makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 25C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d) and 25F(2) of the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967. Penalties, ranging from fixed penalty notices to fines of up to £5,000, are being introduced as enforcement. The new regulations bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. The total number of deaths in Northern Ireland are15. There are currently 324 confirmed cases of the virus throughout the province.
*March 29/2020 – Update from Dr. John Campbell: Lockdown time lag: 3-week death rate time lag/2-week hospital admissions time/1-week new cases 1-time lag – – – Which means, from the moment of lockdown, there will be the above time lag due to the transmission of the virus before the lockdown. In a nutshell from the moment of lockdown, deaths will continue to increase for a period of 3 weeks before they start to flatten, which at that time they will be at their peak.
*March 30/2020 – BBC News Update – The Irish government has made a deal to incorporate the use of private hospitals as part of the public healthcare system for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “This additional capacity will be critically important in dealing with the pandemic.” Mr. Varadkar said the 19 private hospitals in the Republic of Ireland can provide facilities to treat Covid-19 patients where necessary. Arlene Foster says “Whatever differences we may have about emphasis, or the ways of doing things, or who we listen to, it is important that we are able and free to have those discussions at the executive and then come forward with a common strategy and that is what we have done today.”
*March 30/2020 – Social Media Censorship: Scott Bicheno, Editorial Director Telecoms.com states, every day new initiatives are being announced to ensure people have the correct information on the COVID-19 pandemic, but who watches the watchers?The BBC reported today that the UK government is cracking down on misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. This is taking the form of ‘a rapid response unit within the Cabinet Office [that] is working with social media firms to remove fake news and harmful content.’ As ever ‘harmful’ is undefined, but the government seems worried that people could die as a result of being misinformed. Meanwhile, an initiative started by the BBC, among others, called the Trusted News Initiative, has announced plans to ‘tackle potentially harmful coronavirus disinformation’. Most things are potentially harmful, surely, and there’s something distinctly sinister about an organization designating itself ‘trusted’; surely that’s for other people to decide, states Scott Bicheno.
*March 31/2020 – The family of a 13-year-old boy, the first known child to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, said they have been left “beyond devastated”. He did not have any underlying health conditions. His death at King’s College Hospital in London was confirmed by the trust after the UK saw its biggest day-on-day rise in the number of deaths since the outbreak began. A total of 1,789 patients had died overall in UK hospitals as of 5pm on Monday.
*March 31/2020 – The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan claims it has no coronavirus cases. The Press-freedom organization that says Berdymukhamedov’s government has forbidden state-controlled media from writing or uttering the word and has ordered its removal from health brochures distributed at hospitals, schools, and workplaces. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondents in Ashgabat reported that plainclothes police officers are also arresting people who wear face masks or discuss the pandemic in public. Before banning talk of the pandemic, Berdymukhamedov had reportedly offered remedies to battle the virus from a book he authored on medicinal plants.
*April 1/2020 – Prime Minister Boris Johnson lamented the latest coronavirus data that showed a record increase of deaths in Britain, saying it was a “sad, sad day” as fatalities rose by 563. BBC News – Coronavirus cases in Northern Ireland are 774 / source: Public Health Agency
*April 2/2020 – Leo Varadkar said that a decision would be made towards the end of next week on whether or not to extend restrictions on movement and gatherings. He said progress was being made on “flattening the curve” but it was not enough. Mr. Varadkar said he was confident that the health service will be ready for the surge of critical cases when it comes, but added that it was “only starting”. (RTE NEWS) The Taoiseach has said it will be towards the end of next week before a decision can be made on the additional travel, work and social distancing restrictions announced by the Government last Friday. Leo Varadkar said the surge has not yet come and is only starting now, adding that while progress is being made on flattening the curve, it is not enough. The Fine Gael leader said the rate of increase in confirmed cases was falling from 33% to 10% now, although there was a slight uptick today. He said it was necessary to get the rate of increase down to 5% or less. Mr. Varadkar said 2,500 people are being tested for the virus per day, saying this is not where they wanted to be and that “ramping up” testing is a Government objective.
*April 3/2020 – Stormont finance minister Conor Murphy’s deal with the Irish Government to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies of a 200 million euro deal from China has been questioned. Concerns have been expressed about the first batch which has been arriving on Aer Lingus flights since Sunday. Part of the Batch was described as not fit for purpose and unusable by medical staff.
Around 100 prisoners will have been released from prisons in Northern Ireland by Monday under a new temporary release scheme due to Covid-19; necessary to ensure staffing levels did not come under further pressure when there was a confirmed case of coronavirus in the prison population. A virus-hit cruise ship with around ten Irish citizens on board has docked in Florida. Efforts are underway to get the Irish citizens home. [rte.ie]
*Aprile 5/2020 – Mr. Reid said that ICU capacity is “our biggest challenge” during this crisis. Training up staff to support this increased ICU capacity will also be a challenge, he said. The number of people attending emergency departments is now down by more than 50% on this time last year, while hospital admissions from emergency departments have dropped by 41% year on year. Ms. O’Connor said that this is a “concerning story” of people not attending when they need urgent care and urged people who need emergency care to still attend.
*April 6/2020 – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition has worsened since being hospitalized with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and he has been moved into intensive care, his Downing Street office said in a statement. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 death toll in the US has surpassed 10,000 from more than 356,000 coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. The Global death toll passes 70,000. The number of known cases around the world nears 1.3 million as the global number confirmed to have died hits 70,798, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. In all, 271,013 people are confirmed to have recovered after contracting the virus. The true scale of the pandemic is likely to be greater as some countries are suspected of underreporting their figures.
*** Personal Note: Sending my prayers to Boris Johnson and his family –
*April 8/2020 – Paul Reynolds Crime Correspondent (RTE): Minister for Health Simon Harris has signed regulations to give gardaí the power to enforce Covid-19 restrictions. Gardaí launch a nationwide policing operation to discourage people from leaving their homes and traveling to holiday locations over the Easter weekend. The Government is concerned that increasing numbers of people are congregating and not remaining within 2km of their homes.
© Maria Fokas /All Rights Reserved/March 22,2020 – But you can use any part of this post without permission – Thank you!
Image from: Cliffs of Moher from Dublin/Ireland/The tour Creator https://www.viator.com/
(Coronavirus: Irish Times view on further social lockdown, 2020)
BBC Northern Ireland Politics
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