IRELAND'S Chief Medical Officer has warned that the current Covid-19 situation is now more precarious than it was during Spring last year.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday evening, Dr Tony Holohan reiterated the gravity of the situation, revealing that 208 people had been killed by the virus during January, including a 25-year-old.
A further 3,955 new cases were confirmed last night, as well as 26 new deaths - down from a frightening 63 deaths confirmed on Wednesday.
Dr Holohan said he wanted to be frank and open with the details of the 208 people who have died this month, in an attempt to urge the public to follow all public health guidelines.
"Of these [208 people], 23 cases have been linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 28 with outbreaks in nursing homes," the CMO said.
"The ages of those who have died range from 25 to 98. Every death associated with Covid-19 is a tragedy.
"We must cut our social contacts in order to break the chains of transmission and protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease.
"Stay at home and save lives."
The situation in Ireland's hospitals is also pretty severe, with ICU capacity almost completely exasperated.
1,789 Covid-19 patients are currently being treated in hospitals across the country, 169 of which are in intensive care.
A further 154 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital in the past 24 hours.
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that the current situation in Ireland may now be worse than the very beginning of the pandemic last year.
"From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse," Prof Nolan said.
"The penetration of the virus throughout all ages of the population is a particular cause for serious concern, as is risk of severe disease that all of these people face.
"Poor health outcomes, risk of serious or long-term illness and hospitalisation remain a risk for us all when it comes to Covid-19.
"That is why we must follow public health advice and protect not only ourselves but our hospital system and healthcare workers by staying at home."