By Sharon Dolan D’Arcy

In his St. Patrick’s night speech, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar mentioned ‘cocooning’ – a term many people first heard in the context of coronavirus.

He referenced cocooning by saying:

“At a certain point, we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks. We are putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on. We call this ‘cocooning’ and it will save many lives, particularly the most vulnerable, the most precious in our society”.

The Taoiseach went on to say that while it can be difficult to stay apart from loved ones, people will need to keep their physical distance from the elderly and long-term sick but to check in with them by phoning them or via Skype and Facetime.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show, Dr Cillian De Gascun, Chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group at the Department of Health explained the term:

 “In essence, it involves creating a zone of protection around them [older people].”

He reassured listeners that the majority of people in the 65+ age group will “bounce back” and re-iterated how with the right precautions from the public at this stage in the coronavirus cycle that, “hospitals can save hundreds of lives but the community can save thousands of lives.”

Dr De Gascun told the public that the virus can take two to 14 days to present itself so that people who acquired coronavirus for example, on the first day the schools and colleges closed last week, would only be presenting with the virus this week.

He also acknowledged that the next two months will be especially difficult for the health services and the country.

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