A message from Dr Liz Barry   14/03/2020

As most of you know I am a GP in Cork city. My kids go to school, GAA, soccer etc along with yours, but I am appealing to you all today in my professional capacity as a GP.

It is vitally important that everyone clearly understands the reason for closing the schools. This is to limit social contact with a view to reducing the spread of the infection. Therefore in order for this to be effective it is really important that the children are not mixing with others, including neighbours and friends, while out of school. This is the mistake that was made in Italy - adults and children alike rejoiced at the unexpected holiday from school and work, and they gathered together in celebration, much like we all did during the ‘Beast from the East’ snow event in 2018. This led to unprecedented spread of the virus within their communities.

Likewise, in Italy, many parents used elderly relatives and grandparents to care for their children during this time. We now see the devastating consequences that this has had on the elderly population in Italy.

We do know that the children themselves are likely to be fine, they are transmitters of the virus rather than victims.
How we react now will determine the course of this outbreak. We have never before faced a Public Health emergency of this scale. We need to learn from Italy’s mistakes and act now. Yes it will be difficult, it will be painful, and we will probably all be fit to kill each other by the end, but if this is what it takes to protect the most vulnerable in our society then that is what we must do. I know that this may be especially difficult for those of you with older children and teenagers, but they need to be aware that they too have a responsibility to their communities.

Every action that we all take now will protect our parents, our grandparents, our immunocompromised neighbours and friends, and our front line healthcare workers. We will get through this together.

Ni neart go cur le cheile.
Le meas
Dr Liz Barry.