Mark_Coughlan Profile picture
Journalist, RTÉ/@RTE_PrimeTime. Ex @AJEnglish. Often-unsuccessfully trying to understand simple things, most of the time... RT=/= etc.
29 Jul
Errmmm interesting update on test positivity: "While the volume of testing is not increasing, the positivity is [rising], between walk-ins and self-referrals - which is the vast majority of our community testing - positivity is at 11.7%. Some sites are still in excess of 21%..."
15,000 tests per day, Monday-Fri. Down 3% on last week. 24 hour median turnaround time.

15-24 year olds take up majority referrals and appointments, also highest positivity level at 14%.
"This week, for one of the first times [household contacts] are not one of the highest in terms of positivity level, transport is the highest positivity - non-flight transport - that's cars, buses, trains..."

Not sure if 'level' means positivity rate or as proportion of cases.
Read 7 tweets
28 Jul
Interesting numbers from @President_MU.
"We were seeing 50 admissions per 1000 cases, now we're seeing fewer than 20 admissions."

i.e. actual case-hosp rate somewhere below 2% - in their July-Sept modelling it's at 1.8%.

Also: Avg length of hosp stay down from 15 to 7 days.
That means lower impact (as expected) on hosp system per 1000 cases now due to vaccine roll-out and younger age profile of cases.

Cases: "Dominated by 19-24s, followed by... 16-17 year olds... Incidence in older age groups and younger than 12s hasn't increased relatively much."
Cases (not hospitalisations, cases) by vaccination status and age group - light gray is 'Don't know'.

"What you're not seeing here is the many infections prevented by vaccination in older cohorts."- Prof Nolan.
Read 17 tweets
28 Jul
Early morning group Skype call to watch the Judo.

HERE WE GO. Next match. #Toyko2020
Look at that!
Short work! That’ll do!
Read 4 tweets
27 Jul
Ehmmm. 70% of our *adult* population... 53% of our overall population.
As per below. The pop numbers are so confusingly reported, by media and lots of others. They should just be published in a single location, rather than leaving them to be reported differently by different outlets/people. The official dashboard surely.
For instance, the ECDC has a 'group size' number for Ireland which appears to be the over 16 population. The CSO provides various estimates of population which could be used... but no one has published specific numbers for 'Over 16s' or 'Over 18s', meaning %age differences.
Read 5 tweets
1 Jan
Thread contd: Gap was 4,000 yesterday. Now it's much bigger again.

The system wasn't designed to handle the influx of testing, Prof Nolan said he's accounted for it in models.

This means confirmed cases are not representative. It's worse than it looks, if looking at just cases.
Hospitalisations are more concrete, you're either there and positive or you're not. The current trend is not good, see images: the upward tick isn't as lagged behind the case increase as it was in previous waves.
What are we looking at for January?

The ESRI provides health capacity modelling. If we get R back below 1 very soon, we'll be looking at 700 to 1000 people in hospital with Covid at the one time in January.

Early pandemic peak was 880.…
Read 14 tweets
1 Jan
Mega thread on seismic few days of the pandemic in Ireland.

📍The govt implemented level five.

📍More info about the UK variant.

📍And NPHET held one of the most important briefings in months on New Years Eve.

What's happened and where does it leave us now?
If you've understandably avoided news for the last week or more this should bring you up to date:

First:📍Stay home unless you have to leave, no visitors bar support bubbles, exercise within 5km. Essential shops only to open.

Full info:…
How did we get here? The current restrictions were introduced on Dec 30 by An Taoiseach.

Prior to that it was to be 'level 5 with adjustments'. Non-essential retail, gyms, tennis and golf clubs were to remain open, schools were to return on Jan 5.…
Read 22 tweets
30 Dec 20
The R number is 1.8, says Dr Colm Henry. Says even if we got R to 1.4 we’d see 2000 cases a day come mid-January, and hospitalisations of 800 mid-January.

(*Plug* Current age demographics are significant concern, see here why that matters:)
Niamh O’Beirne, HSE Test/Trace Lead: Says community demand for testing is expected to double between now and this time next week. Says swabbing site capacity will be ‘maxing out’ in coming days. Expects swabbing will trend in excess of 25k per day every coming day.
Says number of people with 15+ close contacts is increasing, and number of people with 30+ close contacts is rising.

Positivity rates are close to 10%, up to 20%, in the community in recent days.
Read 11 tweets
9 Sep 20
Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) opens with: ‘I’m going to have express concern in the growth of the disease in the last week, in particular in Dublin, and also about the increasing incidence in Covid-19 in older people...’ #COVID19Ireland
Looking at the weekly trends ‘We’ve seen a 5-10% increase per week in recent weeks...’

‘The proportion of cases assigns to community transmission remains stable at 25%... most cases are within households through close contacts’
‘Up until two weeks ago we were seeing very few cases among older people, last week we reported an increase among the 75-84 age group, this week it’s been joined by an increase among 85+... This spread from young to old is a source of very considerable significant concern to us.’
Read 12 tweets
8 Apr 20
Tomorrow it will 100 days since an outbreak of a new virus was *first reported* to the WHO by Chinese authorities.

It'll be still just 58 days since the disease was actually given the name 'COVID-19'.

The speed at which scientists and medics are responding blows my tiny mind.
Remember there was a trend where politicians said what they were gonna do in their first 100 days in office?

People were like 'Smh. Good luck, changing *that* tax rate slightly in 100 days. Impossible.'
In meantime, scientists and others have sequenced the genome for the virus, developed and validated a test, distributed the knowledge about the test process globally, tested masses of people to the point we're all running out of stuff to complete it...
Read 11 tweets
14 Aug 18
On a night shift with some time here. Given the interest in the @gavinsblog tweet about the other archive piece I tweeted, there may be interest in an archive thread on housing. T'is turning an 7,000 word research document into a tweet thread. Here goes. IRISH HOUSING HISTORY:
1/ This'll include various archive links, if you know of any others please send them my way. I keep them all in a Google Doc. Anyway, the first modern housing crisis in Ireland was in the 60s...
2/ Prior to that it was vacancy rather than availability that was the issue. That changed when Leamass implemented TK Whitaker's' 1958 'Economic Development' plan. You can see Whitaker talk about the plan here:…
Read 71 tweets