Ireland reaches world's highest COVID-19 rate in early January. How did it go so wrong?

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"We are seeing numbers of cases per day, and numbers in hospital, that we just could not have comprehended prior to Christmas."
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When Ireland came out of a strict six-week lockdown in December it had one of the lowest levels of COVID-19 cases in Europe. Since then, the situation has dramatically unraveled.The country recorded the highest infection rate in the world last week, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication based at the University of Oxford.In the seven days leading up to Jan. 10, Ireland reported around 1,323 COVID-19 cases per one million people, the statistics showed, more than any other country over the same period.On Friday, it recorded the highest daily increase in infections since the beginning of the pandemic with 8,248 new cases, according to a statement from the Irish health department."The alarming level of disease is unprecedented in terms of our experience of the levels of COVID-19 in the community," warned Professor Philip Nolan, a member of Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). Ireland's medical experts, politicians and members of the public are now all debating what went wrong.The seasonality of the virus, the presence of the more transmissible U.K. variant, and households mixing over the holidays all contributed to the surge, according to a spokesperson from Prime Minister Micheál Martin's office.The spike is not "simplistic" and there have been a number of factors that have led to it, the spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.File video: Tufts doctor on why COVID-19 variant is more contagious"We had the rise in socializations over the Christmas period and our public health experts said the seasonality of the virus was a huge factor," they said.Ireland reopened…
Eoin McSweeney, CNN
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