Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Clinical Director Claims Covid-19 Not As Harmful As Flu

He says we should be pursuing a "herd immunity" strategy.

The HSE has rejected the remarks of a senior doctor who claimed Covid-19 was not as harmful as flu.

It's after the surgeon said the virus should have been "allowed to spread" throughout the summer in an interview with the Irish Times.

Martin Feeley is a vascular surgeon, and the clinical director at the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

In remarks published in today's Irish Times, he says we should be pursuing a "herd immunity" strategy.

He says people should have been exposed to the virus all through the summer to try and give them immunity -- claiming that would lessen the impact on our health system this winter.

The HSE says it "disassociates itself from and rejects the comments" in a statement issued this afternoon.

Its Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry says there is no known cure or vaccine for Covid-19 -- and unlike flu, most of us have no immunity to the new virus at all.

A study published last month based on blood testing in Sligo and Dublin estimates less than 60,000people in Ireland had been exposed up to now.

Dr Henry says we still don't know if they're immune to the virus or how long they might stay immune.

He says if infection was allowed to spread freely it would "overwhelm healthcare systems and lead to large-scale illness and death".

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