Schools fear as data shows 12% of Covid cases are kids

FEARS are growing over a full return to schools as new figures show one in eight of all Covid-19 cases in Ireland were children and teenagers under 18 within the year of the pandemic.
With primary schools set for a full return next week, experts are warning that children should be outdoors as much as possible.
New figures show the impact of the spread of Covid-19 on schoolchildren.
More than 13,000 secondary school-age children, as well as over 10,000 primary school-age children, have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Almost 6,000 under the age of four have been infected.
Of those aged 0-18, more than 400 have been hospitalised but fewer than five have died.
The figures were supplied by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to the Irish Independent.
Meanwhile, nearly 30% of Barnardos’ staff say most or all children they work with have not been able to engage “whatsoever” with remote learning, with many teenagers finding it “very difficult to get out of bed or engage in any online learning”.
As the daily figures show Covid not dissipating anytime soon pressure is mounting on the Government to go on a solo run and source vaccines elsewhere to speed up the rollout.
It emerged that the country will receive 1.1 million doses instead of the expected 1.24 million in the first three months of the year.
The HSE delivered the blow to the Dáil’s Health Committee. CEO Paul Reid said around 175,000 vaccines were expected to arrive here at the end of this month and delays meant the 1.2 million target would not be reached until the first week of April.
Mr Reid said between delays in supply and changes to the sequencing and prioritisation of who gets which shot, the HSE has changed its operating plan up to 17 times since the programme began at the start of the year.
The makers of the Covid-19 vaccines will continue to disappoint with smaller or stalled deliveries in the coming months and targets will need to be rewritten.
Some people who were expecting the jab will be left waiting for longer.
Vaccine manufacturers are facing unprecedented demand from countries which have advance purchase orders for deliveries. This has created suspicion that some countries are being favoured over others.
Finally, there has been an increase in the number of Kilkenny residents travelling further than 10km from their homes during the lockdown.
The latest Staying Local Indicator (SLI) issued by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveals 59.1% of Kilkenny residents did not travel further than 10km at any point during the week ending February. This was a drop of 0.6% (59.7%) recorded the previous week.
Although moving in the wrong direction, Kilkenny’s drop is the second-lowest in the country with just Offaly seeing a smaller decrease in people outing the current restrictions (0.2% decrease).
It was the fourth SLI report in a row that indicated a drop in Kilkenny residents’ adherence to the lockdown restrictions, yet another indication people’s patience with the current restrictions is wearing thin.

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