As more and more civil liberties are relinquished by a majority that seem only too happy to embrace the State’s response to Covid-19, it’s hard to see where the population would draw a red line in keeping the government out of their lives. 

Having been told from the outset by apparent experts like Professor Luke O’Neill and the WHO that masks were not at all necessary, the Covid-wave’s passing into obscurity inexplicably brought with it a sudden desperation from officialdom that everyone cover their faces as much as possible, lest they contract a virus that has seen only a trickle of hospitalizations over the last three months, and thankfully few deaths.

This fall-off in severity had already happened by the time HSE officials, on foot of new WHO recommendations, decided to re-ratchet concerns about the virus by mandating masks in shops, other workplaces and public transport.

Irish people currently face fines of up to 2500 and/or six months in jail for refusing to wear a mask in circumstances where they are deemed not to have a reasonable excuse, penalties that will soon be reduced to on-the-spot fines ranging from 20 – 100. They are also set to become lawbreakers if they have over six visitors in their home, although they won’t face prosecution for this infringement of upcoming legislation.

You might be concerned or relieved to hear about the relaxing of fines and jail time, but the precedent set by the whole affair should be of concern to those who mistrust an establishment that seem answerable only to their overlords abroad, be it in the EU or the WHO, as few Irish politicians or journalists appear willing to challenge the measures being taken.

With exponential testing increases around the country last month, the HSE has unsurprisingly found more positive cases, but less focus has been concentrated on the miniscule numbers that were admitted to hospital, and the almost total cessation of transfers to ICU or subsequent deaths.

At the time of writing, out of a population of almost 5 million, only seven people are in ICU in the entire country, a figure that hasn’t increased beyond that in almost one month. More importantly, there have been no new deaths reported in the last fifteen days.

One of the only experts covered by the media who correctly modelled the trajectory of the virus in both Ireland and around the world is Nobel Prize winning scientist Professor Michael Levitt of Stanford University.

He correctly predicted in early May that the virus would burn itself out in two weeks in Ireland, and then insisted in early August that there would be no feared second wave of Covid-19.

The curve has well and truly been flattened in terms of hospitalizations, ICU referrals and deaths, with confirmed cases only rising now because of increased testing capacity. Whereas mid-July saw 6,000 tests being done nationwide each week, this had almost quadrupled to 22,000 by mid-August according to the HSE.

With the vast majority of news tests being found negative, and other areas of public health and the economy continuing to experience severe strain, not least in terms of waiting lists and suicides, now would seem an opportune time for public health officials, politicians and Ireland’s commentariat to reassess their priorities and consider the side-effects of what are now clearly unnecessary measures being imposed on children and adults.