Thursday, December 9

Corona deaths are now on the rise in Norway. Two reasons stand out.

That was not going to happen. However, infection control in several nursing homes and hospitals continues to fail. And the third shot may have come too late for many older people.

An employee uses infection control equipment at Ahus. Ahus is among the hospitals with the largest outbreaks, leading to several deaths.

Despite the fact that most have been vaccinated. Despite the expensive purchases. And although vaccines still protect very well against serious diseases.

In the last three weeks, the infection has entered 37 health institutions in Norway. Since the pandemic began, there have not been as many outbreaks in nursing homes and hospitals.

They are the most vulnerable with underlying diseases.

At the same time, the number of patients and deaths is increasing.

Here is the short version of the large crown image:

How is the pandemic going?

Both the number of patients and the number of infected are increasing. The arrows point up.

But the number of new patients is increasing less than an increase in infection would indicate. And they lie on average only indoors for two days.

Infection rates increased by 39 percent, while patient growth was 22 percent.

But 28 new intensive care patients correspond to 10 percent of the intensive care capacity of hospitals in Norway.

Vaccines no longer protect so well?

Yes. Vaccines still protect well. But a little less for the elderly.

This shows to the highest degree the development of the past week.

The risk of becoming infected remains almost four times higher if you are not vaccinated.

Even more important is the flow of patients. Unvaccinated adults account for the entire increase in the number of patients admitted.

  • Unvaccinated patients increased by 57 percent last week. The unvaccinated make up 10 percent of the population over the age of 18, but account for nearly 40 percent of new admissions.
  • Among those fully vaccinated, the number of patients is stable. They have an average age of 77 years and three out of four belong to risk groups.

42 percent of the new patients were born abroad.

A high proportion are from Eastern Europe and are not vaccinated. Six of the new patients were born in Lithuania.

This development is a great dilemma for politicians and health authorities. This can make it difficult to impose new infection measures on the vaccinated population, if necessary.

The National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) recommends hardening in municipalities with high infection and high admissions.

– We see an increase in admissions that has been more pronounced than we expected. We want to turn that around. Then go first and foremost measures at the local level. And then we see if there is a need for action at the regional level, says FHI department director Line Vold.

Why is the death toll increasing?

28 deaths associated with the crown were reported last week. The median age was 86 years, three years older than in the previous pandemic.

On the other hand, this illustrates how few people die of corona in Norway. During the last week, about 800 died from other causes.

There may be several reasons why the death toll is increasing:

1) Numerous outbreaks in the health system. Half of the deaths have occurred in nursing homes in the past two weeks.

Since week 41, there have been outbreaks of infections in nursing homes and hospitals.

We have to go back to March and April 2020 to see the largest number of outbreaks in health institutions.

Three out of four outbreaks are due to employees bringing the infection.

2) Few have received the third dose. Vaccines lose effect in the oldest and most vulnerable after 5 to 6 months.

On Wednesday, FHI was unable to fully explain the jump from 16 to 28 deaths in the past week.

– The numbers go up and down a bit. It’s a bit early to say it’s a trend. We will also look at whether it may have something to do with backlogs and data updates. But in general, we see that those who enter now are shorter in the hospital and leave faster than before, says Vold.

Delays with the third dose

In Norway, so far, only 108.00 out of 965,000 people over the age of 65 have taken the third dose.

There are big differences between counties. Oslo has gone further and vaccinated 22 percent.

In most of the country, including Trøndelag and northern Norway, only eight percent of the elderly have been vaccinated for the third time.

This week, the FHI reversed its priority, recommending that people 65 and older receive a corona booster before their flu shot. Now it can slow down vaccination a bit, admits Vold.

– We want it to be as fast as possible, so do the municipalities. But it is clear that when you have two vaccines coming out at the same time, it gives municipalities a little extra work.

The challenge is that there must be a week between the different vaccines. In addition, six months must have passed since the second dose of coronidosis was scheduled.

– In general, there will be some classification for municipalities. But we think we will see good progress on booster doses in the future, says Vold.

If we go back six months on the clock, 338,000 elderly and vulnerable people had received two doses. Two-thirds of these have not taken a third dose.

This could have consequences for both patients and mortality rates in the coming weeks.

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