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    • Ireland has posted a road map to exit lockdown: Full article here

      TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has laid out a roadmap for a phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland this evening.

      This plan – which can be read in full here – lays out the staggered approach to lifting certain measures put in place by the government to slow down the spread of Covid-19. 

      It must be noted that the plan is tentative and will be kept under constant review. There is an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed. 

      The document setting out the plan noted that, across the different categories, phases might kick in at different times – for instance, a ‘middle phase’ education measure might start earlier than a social/recreational measure from the same ‘middle phase’.

      This evening, Varadkar confirmed that current restrictions are to remain in place until 18 May. However, over 70s will now be allowed to leave their homes to exercise or drive within a 5km radius.

      Tuesday, 5 May

      From Tuesday, people will be allowed to travel up to 5km for the purposes of exercise. 

      “From Tuesday, it will be possible to go for a walk or a drive within five kilometres from your home if you avoid all contact with other people,” Varadkar said. 

      Phased reopening

      Starting on 18 May, the country will begin to re-open in five stages, three weeks apart. 

      Varadkar said that “all things going to plan”, the fifth stage will commence on 10 August. 

      Based on the three-week review process, the current phases would commence on the following dates: 

      Phase one – 18 MayPhase two – 8 JunePhase three – 29 JunePhase four – 20 JulyPhase five – 10 August

      Phase one – 18 May

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase one people should continue to avoid unnecessary journeys. 

      Other guidance includes: 

      Up to four people not of the same household may meet outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing. People should continue to avoid non-essential social visiting. Current restrictions on attendance at funerals to a maximum of 10 people should be continued. 

      In terms of education and childcare measures, schools and college buildings may open for access by teachers for organisation and distribution of remote learning.

      Looking at economic activity, the following is being advised on a risk-based approach: 

      A phased return of outdoor workers will be permitted (ie. construction workers and gardeners). Social distancing will be required. People who are in are position to work remotely will continue to do so.

      Guidance for retail services is as follows: 

      Open retail outlets that are primarily outdoor (eg. garden centres and hardware stores)Open retail outlets that were open in Tier 2 (ie, homeware, opticians, motor and bicycle repair)Retailers will be asked to develop a plan for safe operation and protection of staff and consumers. 

      In terms of social and cultural measures, some outdoor public amenities and tourism sites will reopen where people are non-stationary and social distancing can be applied. 

      Outdoor public sports amenities will be open where social distancing can be maintained. People will be permitted to engage in outdoor sporting or fitness activities in groups of up to four, where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Looking at health and social care services, there will be an increased delivery of non-Covid-19 care and services across phases one and two. A further breakdown of this can be found in the document

      Phase two – 8 June

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase two the restriction on movement from a person’s home will be increased to 20km but unnecessary journeys should still be avoided.

      Other guidance includes: 

      Visits to homes of over 70s and medically vulnerable by no more than a small number of people for a short period of time. People will have to wear gloves, face coverings and maintain social distancing. Up to four people may visit another household for a short period while maintaining strict social distancing. Slightly larger groups of people will be allowed to attend funerals. 

      Looking at economic activity, workers who can maintain working from home should continue to do so. Organisations will be asked to develop plans for a return to onsite working by employees in light of Covid-19. 

      Some of the plans for retail services include: 

      Small retail outlets can reopen with small numbers of staff on the basis that the retailer can control the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any given time. Marts can reopen where social distancing can be maintained. 

      In terms of cultural and social measures, public libraries with limited numbers can reopen. 

      People will be permitted to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities, involving small group team sports training (but no matches), where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Phase three – 29 June

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase three people should maintain restriction to within 20km of their home and to continue to avoid unnecessary journeys. 

      In terms of education and childcare measures, creches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers will reopen in a phased manner with social distancing and other requirements applying. 

      Looking at economic activity, the following restrictions will apply: 

      Organisations where employees have low levels of daily interaction with people and where social distancing can be maintained will reopen. Workers who can work from home should continue to do so. 

      Some of the plans for culture and social measures include: 

      The reopening of playgrounds where social distancing and hygiene can be maintained. ‘Behind closed doors’ sporting events where social distancing can be maintained. The reopening of cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and drinks where social distancing can be maintained. 

      Moving onto retail services, there will be a phase-in opening of all other non-essential retail outlets. This is to be limited to retail outlets with street-level entrances which are not in enclosed shopping centres. 

      In terms of health and social care, there will be a commencement of a phased approach to visiting hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings and prisons, etc. 

      Phase four – 20 July

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase four travel can be extended to outside a person’s region. 

      Slightly larger numbers of people may visit another household for a short period of time while socially distancing. Small social gatherings by family and close friends, such as small weddings and baptisms may be allowed. 

      RELATED READS

      01.05.20Campaign group welcomes slight relaxation of cocooning but calls for voices of older people to be heard01.05.20Coronavirus: 34 deaths and 221 new cases in Ireland confirmed01.05.20The Explainer: Where are we at with testing for Covid-19 in Ireland right now?

      Looking at education and childcare measures, creches, childminders and pre-schools will reopen for children of all other workers on a gradually increasing phased basis. 

      With regard to economic activity, organisations where employees cannot work remotely will be considered first for return to onsite working arrangements. 

      Retail services will see the commencement of loosening of restrictions on higher risk services such as hairdressers and barbers. 

      Some of the plans for culture and social measures include: 

      Reopening of museums, galleries and other cultural outlets. Reopening of religious places and places of worship. Sports team leagues will be permitted but only where limitations are placed on the number of spectators and where social distancing can be maintained. Reopening of public swimming pools. Reopening of hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks for social and tourist activities, initially on a limited occupancy basis. 

      Phase five – 10 August 

      With regard to community health measures, the document advises that during phase five large social gatherings will be restricted due to risk. 

      There will be a continued restriction on all household contact of suspect cases. 

      Looking at education and childcare measures, schools and universities will reopen in September and October. 

      In terms of health and social care, there will be a return to normal visiting for hospitals, residential healthcare centres, other residential settings and prisons, etc. 

      Economic activity will see a phased return to onsite working. 

      Some of the plans for retail services include: 

      Reopening of enclosed shopping centres where social distancing can be maintained. Further loosening of restrictions on services involving direct physical contact for periods of time between people, such as tattoo and piercing services. 

      And, finally, here are some of the plans for culture and social measures: 

      Reopening of pubs, bars, nightclubs and casinos where social distancing can be maintained. Reopening theatres and cinemas where social distancing can be maintainedPermitting close physical contact sportsReopening of gyms, dance studios and sports clubs, only where regular and effective cleaning can be carried out and social distancing can be maintained. Reopening of indoor venues such as bowling alleys and bingo halls. Festivals, events and other social and cultural mass gatherings only in accordance with both indoor and outdoor numbers. 

      Decision-making

      It must again be noted that there is an ongoing possibility that restrictions could be re-imposed. 

      Before each government consideration of the easing of restrictions, the Department of Health will provide a report regarding the latest data available. 

      It will also provide risk-based public health advice on what measures could be modified in the next period. 

      The government would then consider what restrictions could be lifted, having regard to the advice of the Department of Health, as well as other social and economic considerations. 

      This process will be carried out on an ongoing basis once every three weeks. 

    • It’s hard to remember to March when things started escalating quickly in the US, but I believe I had more than one night of stress dreams: scenes where I have no control set in an alternate past. I’ve always viewed such dreams as a warning sign to figure out a way to relax ASAP before things get out of control in my waking life. I think keeping up with conversations like this one was extremely helpful: I felt that I often learned important stuff a week or more before people at work did. Which is about regaining control.

    • Some researchers are saying that the coronavirus has been around for years but was undetected.

      The researchers also found that three sequences later sampled in Algeria were closely related to those in France, suggesting that travellers from France might have introduced the virus to the African country and caused an outbreak.

      France is the latest in a growing number of countries and areas where no direct link between China and local outbreaks could be established.

      Some prominent scientists, including Francis Collins, director of the US National Institutes of Health, said the virus might have been spreading quietly in humans for years, or even decades, without causing a detectable outbreak.

      According to some estimates, the ancestor of Sars-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, might have left bats between 50 and 70 years ago. A recent study by a team of geneticists in Oxford University estimated the first outbreak of the current pandemic could have occurred as early as September last year.

      They found that the dominant strains circulating in China and Asia were genetically younger than some popular strains in the United States.

    • Florida's New Cases of Residents number continues to drop. Last time that I posted on this subject the average was about 840.5 and the average of the last seven days (April 26-May 2) was about 644.6.

      My own county had a hiatus in new cases from April 17 through April 28, but from Thursday through Saturday, we have had two new cases.

    • It's amazing to watch children from our neighborhood grow up to become damn good scientific thinkers. This essay from Matt Silverman, who grew up just a few houses down, is one of the very best I've read about the virus. He believes we thought of it as a lung disease and tried to treat it accordingly with, for example, oxygen. But now we seem to be awakening to the idea that it's a blood disease, opening up entirely new treatment methodologies.

      @Shewmaker , I think you'll like it. This is exactly the way good scientists approach problems, imo.

    • The theory that it should be viewed as a blood disease rather than a respiratory disease would fit with a lot of the symptoms I've seen mentioned in news reports. Some of those symptoms seemed bizarre for a respiratory disease but make a lot of sense if it is a blood disease.

    • A company I worked for had an exchange program; I was to spend two years at a company in Norway in exchange for a Norwegian scientist who would do my job in the U.S.

      Can we we arrange such a trade with you? We would promise to make New Zealand great again. And Jacinda could tackle this vexing problem:

    • Things are not going well if you observe the actions of federal agencies rather than the disinformation of Trump’s daily briefings.

      FEMA orders more than 100,000 body bags, bids contract for 200 cold trailers; task force warns that reopening could be stalled by fear of “catastrophic resurgence,” lack of available tests & treatment, “lack of trust in government messaging.”

      Our state is “re-opening,” which is idiotic, however, like @Meditrider I’m living in a deeply red state.

    • Probably not unfortunately, mainly because I don't know if anybody would want to swap with you in the current circumstances.

      I'm worried for you guys though, with people flooding outdoors and flouting social distancing, along with your 'Freedom' movements demanding the country open up to hell with everyone else which result in things like this:


      If you want to gain residency or move to New Zealand there are options.

    • We hear so much, every day, about how Covid 19 illness is more dangerous and lethal in the elderly, that it begins to sound like a death sentence.

      But apparently, there are a number of survivors of Covid 19 who are over a century old - wow - who knew that!!?? There is a 107 year old survivor of Covid 19 in St Louis Missouri. Indeed this link lists at least 4 or 5 survivors all older than 105. Amazing

    • Not sure where to put this, but it made my day since I live in a red state that is “re-opening.”

    • My projection is that 200,000 to 300,000 people will be dead by Election Day. I am on furlough and other than a weekly trip to the grocery store I plan to stay away from people as much as possible. I am already noticing people “letting their guard down” in not keeping six feet apart. And I can easily see our first wave just getting bigger.

      I think the equivalent of Russian fatalism may become the new normal for those who believe the science and realize the horror show that is our country.

      The Russian avos' (Russian: русское авось) describes a philosophy of behavior, or attitude, of a person who ignores possible problems or hassles and, at the same time, expects or hopes for no negative results or consequences. It is an attitude that treats life as unpredictable and holds that the best one can do is count on luck. (Wikipedia)

    • @Shewmaker Have you heard any truth to this?

      Florida, one of the first states to reopen, has stopped releasing medical examiners’ statistics on COVID-19 victims because the numbers are higher than the state’s official count. (Source)

    • I don't know where Reich got his report from.

      Florida has been releasing statistics every day. They give statewide statistics. Statistics by county and by zip code. Testing Statistics. All of those are given on a daily basis.

      On a weekly basis they also release what they call Health Metrics charts.

      They don't publish individual coroner reports on the website that I visit but individual counties have Covid 19 specific info portals.

      Broward County: https://www.broward.org/coronavirus/Pages/default.aspx

      Alachua County: https://alachuacounty.us/Depts/EM/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

      I've not heard anything about the State attempting to suppress statistics but it may be that Reich knows something I don't. Sadly, he doesn't cite his sources.

    • an 85 year old woman, who is in the same nursing home as my mother, was released from hospital last week, after contracting covid.

      My mother, 85, underlying conditions, tested postitive but is now on day 16 with ny symptoms. ( cautiousl optimistic she will be ok).

      Neighbours, husband and wife, two daughters. The wife and one daughter were severly ill at home with covid, all 4 tested positive. The husband and other daugher displayed zero symptoms.

      It's a strange virus, some get sick , some don't.

    • I've been thinking about the 107 year old SARS Cov 2 survivor I mentioned above. That individual survived the 1918 flu epidemic as a young child, about 5 years of age. As did the other centenarians over 103 years of age or so. It seems like their genetics and immunology status would be of very, very great interest - surviving two major viral pandemics, one ( 1918 H1N1 ) as young children not yet fully immunocompetent, and one at an extreme age most humans never reach. Very interesting indeed.

      @JazliAziz - your link to an earlier appearance in France, in late December, matches other evidence I have mentioned about the Corona virus escaping China much, much earlier than we have all been lead to believe. Along with research like done by the Stanford researchers in Santa Clara Valley and others that show a much wider infection of the general population than thought - perhaps 3-5% or maybe even higher ( maybe >20% in NewYork ) suggest that maybe this pandemic is far more widespread but less lethal than initially calculated due to underestimating the total infected population, since they were not especially ill.

      We continue to learn a bit more about this virus day by day...

      Here is summary of the last few months of Corona virus information from The Atlantic

    • We REALLY need to begin to untie the threads which control who gets ill, and who doesn't with, ostensibly, the very same virus. Very strange - most viruses that cause grave illnesses, tend not to also infect people and leave with no symptoms or ill period.

      Very strange Indeed!

      If we really knew what mechanism determines who gets ill, and who does not, with SARS Cov 2- we might not even need a vaccine, just a means to nudge everyone to go to the mild illness side of the curve...

    • I have read that there is a large percentage, 50 - 80% of people who are asymptomatic.

      This is why testing and contact tracing are needed before large scale lifting of lockdowns.

      Apps are being trialed which will track the phones which have been near you in the last few days, if you test positive. These people can be notified and go into isolation and a bubble of covid can be contained.