Photo credit: Royal Irish Academy Website

NPHET numbers “way off”, says Maynooth Professor

Immunology Professor Paul Moynagh of Maynooth University has asserted that NPHET’s projected case numbers are “way off,” and said that found them “very surprising.”

The remarks were made this week during an interview on Virgin Media’s The Tonight Show with Matt Cooper, during which Prof. Moynagh said he was “very encouraged” by recent Covid-19 data.

“Certainly if you look at the daily increase day on day, that’s decreasing,” he said.

“We just heard there the percentage of confirmed cases that are ending up in hospital is decreasing. So we’re certainly in a much better place.”

He went on to criticise NPHET’s projected figures for the coming months.

“If you cast your mind back a few weeks ago where we were hearing numbers mentioned in the region of 700,000 (cases) – I think that was pessimistic, they seem way off now at this stage,” he said.

“I know the CMO has said that this is due to the vaccination program. But again, we had good estimates at that stage, in terms of the rate of rollout of the vaccination program.

“One of the things at that stage that I was surprised at was assumptions around seasonality, schools closing, and the benefit you get from them. I’m not sure that was included in the models. So it did surprise me to have numbers like 700 thousand.

“And when you look at the models now, there is a high degree of uncertainty with these models. And I think we need to take that into account, because these really guide government decisions, and we end up making very important decisions around them.

“Not only here but in the UK as well, estimates of 100,000 cases per day were estimated. And now, the maximum was about 40,000 and it’s coming down now to about 20,000. So I think we have to look at these models and accept that they are models, they can inform us, but there is a high degree of uncertainty associated with them.”

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