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Much of 2020 has been dominated by the omnipresence of the coronavirus, which, at the time of this writing, has taken the lives of over 1 million people worldwide.  The US, which has had almost 8 million confirmed cases of the virus, has consistently reported 25,000+ new cases nationwide every day since June.  In Ireland, the virus has had a much smaller impact, but new cases have recently begun spiking.

It seemed that daily new cases in Ireland peaked on April 16th, when the country reported 1,040 new cases.  Over the summer, new cases plummeted to just double digit numbers, but have slowly begun climbing back as of late.  On October 14th, 1,084 new cases were reported in Ireland, breaking the previously held record.  The virus shows no signs of slowing down: on October 15th, 1,205 new cases were reported, according to the Irish Times.

As a result, measures are being taken by the Irish government to contain the virus.  Under the government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19, five levels with different restrictions associated with each, have been outlined by the government to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  As a result of the recent spike in cases, Level 3 has been enacted across the Republic, except in counties Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal, which are at Level 4 as of midnight on October 15th.

Life Under Level 3:
Prohibits visitors to the home or garden, with exceptions for essential purposes, specifically caring for the elderly or providing support to those who live alone.
Citizens are asked to remain in their county except for essential purposes such as work or health.  

Weddings and funerals may proceed, but with a maximum number of attendees set at 25.

Bars and restaurants may remain open for takeout and delivery.

Public venues (museums, libraries, etc.) will be closed

Public transportation capacity will be at 50% to ensure safe social distancing

Religious services moved online while places of worship will remain open for private prayer

By the time this article is published, however, many, if not all, of the counties in Ireland may be placed under Level 4 restrictions.  Given the current trend in daily new coronavirus cases, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, has come out and said that it’s “likely, though not inevitable” that the rest of the Republic will go to Level 4 restrictions.

Life Under Level 4:
No visitors from outside a household will be allowed.

Citizens must remain in their county of residence except for essential work and health

Weddings may proceed with up to 6 guests in attendance for a ceremony and reception

Bars and restaurants will remain open for takeout and delivery

Public venues will remain closed

Public transportation will be reduced to 25% capacity

Religious services will remain online, and places of worship will be open for private prayer

Visits to nursing homes will be suspended except in essential and immediate instances

Like the United States, Ireland has been having trouble managing the coronavirus.  Unlike the U.S., however, it seems that its citizens haven’t made the pandemic a political issue.  After Donald Trump was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center after having the coronavirus earlier in October, he immediately went on a campaign of misinformation in an effort to continue downplaying the virus’ effects on the United States.  What Donald Trump can’t downplay is the fact that over 200,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, and that the rate of infection shows no signs of easing up.

As we as a people continue to quibble over the threat of the virus, how many lives it’s taken, and whether or not it even EXISTS, more Americans will continue to fall ill and perish.  This isn’t a seasonal flu. This isn’t a hoax. Perhaps it’s time that we took a page out of Ireland’s playbook and take this virus seriously.  If we don’t, thousands more people will die.

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