On the eve of the three-year anniversary of Ireland’s first confirmed case of Covid-19, many of us are still shaking our heads as we look back in disbelief at the hallmarks of the “new normal”.
Some were so inconceivable as to be almost funny: the “substantial meal”; 2km limits; Zoom quizzes; amateur epidemiologists. Others were decidedly not: social distancing; schools closed; families separated; loved ones dying alone.
One man is also shaking his head at these still-painful memories, but the difference between him and the rest of us is that he was in the room when the decisions to take these unprecedented steps were made.
Martin Cormican is a professor of bacteriology at the University of Galway who, for many years, was the national clinical lead for infection control who spearheaded the HSE’s efforts against antibiotic resistance. A gently spoken and erudite man, he was a member of the Expert Advisory Group, a Nphet subgroup that monitored research and developments in relation to the virus, before becoming a full member of Nphet almost a year into the pandemic.
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