Lecarrow native, Dr. Martin Feeley, who resigned his position as head of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group earlier this year over his opposition to lockdown restrictions, has warned that a vaccine should not be seen as a “magic bullet” in the fight against Covid-19.
Speaking to the Roscommon People earlier this week, Dr. Feeley also said there had been a notable shift when it comes to the public’s faith in lockdown restrictions.
“This ‘magic bullet’ that is the vaccine is not realistic. It might reduce the severity of the illness but we don’t know if it will stop transmission, for example.
“The tide is turning (against current restrictions) but I can only hope that it turns completely in time for the next decision in terms of lifting Level 5 restrictions.
“Level 3 restrictions were working before there was any lockdown; there was no need to move to Level 5 and I think most people would now agree with that,” he said.
The doctor joined dozens of other medical professionals recently in signing a paper entitled ‘Covid-19 Alternative Strategy – A Case for Health and Socioeconomic Wellbeing’ which was highly critical of the current lockdown and test and trace system.
He also accused a number of high profile immunologists and professors – such as Luke O’Neill and Prof. Sam McConkey – of being “mouthpieces for NPHET”.
“I have no regrets about what I’ve said (regarding the lifting of restrictions) especially if it did anything at all to get the debate going. I knew what I was doing when I put my head above the parapet,” he said.
“I still think we can protect the vulnerable and other people can live their lives without any real risk while being careful around those who are at risk. The argument that this approach would ‘discriminate against older people’ is ridiculous. Locking down the three midlands counties earlier this year was also ridiculous,” he said.
Dr. Feeley added that most people affected by what’s known as Long Covid had other serious underlying diseases and that symptoms such as myocardial injury also occur with other viruses.
“Those aged up to fourteen are more likely to die after being hit by lightning and those aged up to 65 and without any underlying conditions are more likely to die in a road traffic accident. The vast majority are low risk but this virus compensates by hitting those who are ‘high risk’ harder,” he said.
Dr. Feeley said he also believes more people will die from suicide than Covid-19 over the duration of the pandemic. He cites recent statistics from the London Ambulance Service which show that call-outs for suicides and attempted suicides have increased by about 15 per day this year.
“Don’t ask me what’s driving this (the use of lockdowns) but it has never made sense to me. Maybe we’re all wrong but I don’t think so.
“There is a bit of common sense coming into the media coverage and a few more politicians are speaking out (against restrictions) in the Dáil. If there is a voice of reason in NPHET then it is not getting out at the moment however. There is blatant scaremongering (at daily press briefings) which only serve to cause panic and fear,” he concluded.