Ireland says current level of COVID-19 has surpassed first wave

FILE PHOTO: An empty city centre shopping street is seen after the government imposed the highest level of restrictions amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Galway, Ireland, January 1, 2021. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The underlying level of COVID-19 disease in Ireland is now higher than during the first wave in April and May after authorities reported another daily record of 6,110 cases on Monday, a senior health official said.

Ireland's 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate per 100,000 people has risen almost five-fold to 583 in the last two weeks but modelling chief Philip Nolan said the true underlying rate, owing to a backlog of positive tests, is 700-800. The underlying 14-day rate per 100,000 people at the April peak was around 600.

"We haven't been as concerned at any point in the whole pandemic as we are now. This level of infection just simply puts too many people in hospitals and too many people in funeral homes unfortunately," Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan told a news conference.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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