© Brian LawlessAlmost half of all cases of Covid-19 ever reported in Ireland have been returned in the last 14 days, Professor Philip Nolan said (Brian Lawless/PA)
Almost half of all cases of Covid-19 ever reported in Ireland have been returned in the last fortnight, health officials said.
A 25-year-old was among those who have died this month.
Professor Philip Nolan said incidence of the disease was 20 times greater than at the beginning of December.
Another 28 deaths with the disease were reported on Thursday.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "Today we are giving some more information on the 208 people who have been reported to have sadly died from Covid-19 so far this month.
"Of these, 23 cases have been linked to outbreaks in hospitals and 38 with outbreaks in nursing homes.
"The ages of those who have died range from 25 to 98 years. Every death associated with Covid-19 is a tragedy."
Professor Nolan, modelling the disease's progress for the State, confirmed 44% of all the Covid-19 cases ever reported have been returned in the last fortnight.
He said: "From an epidemiological perspective, what we are seeing in this wave is different to what we have seen since springtime, and perhaps worse.
"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."
But he also said that the country had "turned a corner" and the number of new infections was beginning to improve.
He added people's efforts are now bringing about almost certainly the beginning of improvement in the fresh incidence rate.
Though he expected the numbers in hospital to remain high in January.
Professor Nolan said one in 67 people have been notified of Covid diagnoses in the last 14 days.
The number of contacts outside households has dropped to one as people socialise less.
Another 3,955 cases were confirmed.
Over the week to Wednesday, on average 23 people a day have died.