‘Covid soup out there’ as expert says cases are vastly under-reported

The level of Covid-19 in the community is “vastly under-reported” due to antigen testing, a consultant in infectious diseases has said.

Professor Cliona Ní Cheallaigh said “we’re lucky the current variant is much milder, most people are vaccinated, so not getting severely unwell, but there is a lot of virus around.”

She said if people do not want to get Covid-19 they should wear a mask because “it’s Covid soup out there”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor programme, she said Covid-19 cases are still high and are “vastly under-reported,” given that “a lot of people are testing using antigen testing, because of the change in policy”.

Prof Ní Cheallaigh said wearing face masks slows the transmission of the virus, but added that from what she can see most people are no longer wearing them.

The mandatory requirement around face masks was dropped last month, although they are still advised on public transport and in healthcare settings.

Prof Ní Cheallaigh said long Covid remains an issue for many people who are “very disabled” with it and there is still a limited understanding of it.