‘This could be huge’: how key figures realised the full extent of Covid-19

This time last year, most people had no idea of the coronavirus tidal wave that was about to hit us, but a handful of individuals realised the gravity of the situation straight away

Medical workers in protective suits attend to coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China, in February 2020

For many Irish people the realisation of the scale of the pandemic that was about to unfold was starting to take shape this time last year.

But for Cliona O’Farrelly, a professor of comparative immunology at Trinity College Dublin, it came 15 years ago when a small group of bioethicists gathered together on October 17, 2006 to prepare a plan.

“In 2006, we got a group talking and everybody said, you know, a pandemic will ...