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McConkey: No “normal Christmas” – we need a “new normal” instead

Prof. Sam McConkey has said “We’ve all gotten into the idea that we’re going to have a normal Christmas,” but added that this “can’t be the case.” Instead, he says, we should prepare for “a new normal” of smaller Christmases.

The comments were made yesterday on Claire Byrne Live by the RCSI infectious disease specialist.

“I think we need to take action,” he said.

“I think in Ireland we’re really good at socialising. I think it’s fair to say that we showed in December last year how good we are at having fun when we’re let do that. And I think we’ve all gotten into this idea now that we’re going to have kind of a normal Christmas, if you like. A normal December. That, unfortunately, I don’t think can be the case.”

He continued:

“We need a new normal. And that will involve maybe having small groups of 4 or 6 people together, to enjoy our time together, but not these huge groups.”

At this point Claire Byrne put it to McConkey that his tone sounded like “we have wound back to the clock” to Christmas of 2020 last year.

“Well in December 2020 we all went wild and had a great time, and everything was open for that time,” he said.

“And we realised afterwards in January that this was a huge error. And what I’m really saying is we shouldn’t do that again.

“If we go back and pretend that it’s 2019, and have a December where there are 200 of us in a fairly tight place in town having a great time, with lots of singing and dancing and drinking and music…then our rates of Covid will continue to rise at two to five percent.”

He said that this type of socialising should be prevented, either by “government-imposed restrictions,” or individuals choosing to socialise less off their own bat.

“I do think we need coordinated action of 5 million people. Whether that’s enforced or advised is up to our government,” he said.

Notably, while cases did rise significantly in December and January, this trend began before the country was reopened and the lockdown lifted.



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