Community has control over how things progress

By Tallaght native Dr Niall Conroy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine in Queensland, Australia

It is becoming clear that Dublin is on the verge of a second wave of Covid and that Tallaght has some of the highest rates of disease in the city.

On one hand, the fact that cases are being found in Tallaght reassures us that people are coming forward for testing when they’re unwell.

niall conroy 1

Dr Niall Conroy

It’s easier to deal with a problem we know about than one which is hidden.

On the other hand, there is a problem. Numbers are too high, and Tallaght has lots of elderly and vulnerable people within the community.

Right now, they need everyone else to stand up and protect them.

Government advice can be difficult to follow.

Crowded housing, an inability to work from home, the need to look after elderly family members and reliance on public transport are all barriers.

There’s also a culture of demonising people who don’t 100% comply with the recommendations.

My advice is to do as much as you possibly can, but accept that life doesn’t always allow us to take every precaution we might want to. Don’t feel guilty if you’re in that situation.

Staying away from sick people is one of the most important things anyone can do now.

If someone wants to pop over to your home and they “just” have a runny nose, slightly sore throat, or mild cough, don’t let them.

Even the mildest symptoms can be covid, and those symptoms might be far from mild if they’re passed onto someone else.

Try not to have contact with anyone who has any cold/flu like symptoms. Similarly, if you have those symptoms, stay away from others.

If it’s not possible to stay away, open windows and doors in the room and stay as far apart as you can.

It’s harder to catch Covid in a well-ventilated space.

Wear a mask when you’re around people from other households. Some say masks are useless and others think they’re the answer to all our covid woes.

The reality lies somewhere in the middle. I’d be wearing one if I was in a shop or on a bus in Dublin right now, though.

“Respiratory hygiene” plays a major role in transmission of Covid.

This relates to the simple things. It means we should never cough or sneeze into our hands.

If we have to, we need to wash them immediately. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or an elbow instead.

If you’re coughing or sneezing, call your GP to arrange a test.

Be aware that the community has real control over how things progress. This won’t be the last surge in cases that Tallaght sees.

We need the fittest in society to stand up for the most vulnerable and protect them from harm.

Community solidarity isn’t in the textbooks as a weapon in the fight against Covid.

But it’s the secret sauce that brings everything else together. Luckily, Tallaght is known for its community spirit, and some day it will be known as the community that used to have Covid.

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