Ireland has the worst coronavirus infection rate in Europe, after recording more than 45,000 new cases over the last week.
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Our World in Data, a non-profit online scientific publication based at the University of Oxford, show the disease is now spreading at a faster rate in Ireland than other European nations and the United States.
The dataset uses the rate of infection per million people, giving a better understanding of the spread than straight case numbers.
Ireland is recording 1,267 cases per million, based on a rolling average of new cases reported during the seven days to January 9th. In early December, the State had the lowest rate in Europe at 50 cases per million
Czechia follows with a seven-day rolling average of 1,164 cases per million.
The United Kingdom, which is dealing with a new and more contagious strain of the virus, has a rate of 881.3. The US is recording 734.9 cases per million.
Ireland reporting more coronavirus cases per capita than UK and US
The surge in cases in the Republic is one of the biggest seen during the pandemic. Densely populated Belgium also saw a massive surge in the autumn, peaking at 1,536 cases per million at the end of October.
Ireland has not yet reached that point and experts hope the levels of infection here will soon begin to decrease.
Belgium had Europe’s worst outbreak in the autumn
The caseload is putting Ireland’s health system under severe pressure.
The HSE confirmed on Sunday that it is accessing the surge capacity agreed with private hospitals to give non-Covid urgent care to public patients in recent days.
This comes as eight further deaths and 6,888 new cases of Covid were recorded in the Republic on Sunday.
By Thomas Doherty