424 lives claimed by Covid in Limerick since 2020

Stock photo: CDC/Unsplash.

THE Covid-19 virus is still claiming lives across Ireland, with 424 people having died from Covid-related illness in Limerick since the beginning of the pandemic.

That’s according to the latest published HSE figures, which may not be the final toll as there is a lag of three months in valid available statistics.

Local numbers, 217.5 per 100,000 of population, put Limerick in seventh highest place for Covid mortalities since March 2020.

There were 920 deaths nationwide involving the virus in 2023, a significant downtick compared to 2,403 Covid-related deaths reported in 2022. The worst year for Covid-linked deaths was 2021 when 3,827 people died.

In the first year of the pandemic, 2020, a total of 2,162 Covid-related deaths were recorded. This was before any vaccine was available.

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But the new JN.1 variant of the virus, while it appears to not be causing the same severe symptoms as previous variants, is nonetheless much more infectious, experts say.

More than 1,200 cases of Covid were diagnosed nationally in one week in January, while 459 patients were in hospital with the virus.

Medical advice is that while vaccination programmes have helped slow the rate of transmission and the severity of the infection substantially, certain categories of people are still at huge risk of becoming infected and suffering serious illness if they do.

Older people and people who are immunocompromised or with underlying conditions are in this cohort.

The counties with the highest death rate include Mayo, Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Roscommon, Carlow, Limerick, Dublin, Donegal, Waterford, Wexford, and Clare.

The county with the lowest rate of death is Sligo followed by Tipperary.

In the four years since the pandemic struck, there have been 9,358 Covid-related deaths in Ireland.

Around 72 per cent of these, or 6,741 people, had an underlying condition. One in 10 – 946 – had no pre-existing illness.