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Numbers are falling - but will loosening of lockdown have an impact?

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Chief medic Dr Tony Holohan

Chief medic Dr Tony Holohan

Colin Keegan

Chief medic Dr Tony Holohan

As daily deaths and cases of the coronavirus fall, where are people picking up the infection now?

The lockdown is loosening and it will be tomorrow before figures will tell if opening more shops and letting building work resume has had much impact.

Clusters

There are still clusters of infection being reported in long-term residential centres, including nursing homes.

On Monday an extra 43 new cases were reported in such centres, 40 of them in nursing homes. But the spread in these settings is largely under control and has significantly reduced.

Private houses

In a week, the number of outbreaks in private houses rose by 17. You can catch the virus in your own sitting room and the more crowded the higher the risk. We know that more coronavirus spreads indoors.

Experts say outside is better than inside; open is better than closed; fewer is better than more people; and stay away from sick people.

Workplaces

Meat plants have been badly hit by the spread of the virus. One problem is that they can be noisy, with staff having to shout.

It is known that shouting can lead to aerosols being emitted causing infection. Other workplaces are less affected.

Unknown source

A significant number of the 59 new cases were due to community transmission. But those who picked it up did not know where they contracted it. These cases are worrying because not knowing the source means that it is harder for doctors to trace the root of the infection. Supermarkets do not appear to be breeding grounds for infection.

Capital

The highest concentration of cases has been in Dublin city. Areas of social deprivation, such as parts of the inner city where there is more overcrowding, have contributed to the figures.

Age advantage

The highest number of cases to date has been seen in the 45-54-year age group (4,418 cases), while among 25-34-year-olds there have been 4,138 cases. This contrasts with 2,228 cases among 75-84-year-olds. Yet, in terms of the death toll, older people have suffered most.

Hospitals

Healthcare workers make up around one third of the people infected here. However, the risks can be cut via proper infection control and the use of personal protection equipment.

A lot of testing of staff has been done, picking up some people who are asymptomatic and feel well.