Saturday, May 21

Corona status in Norway: More good news and gloomy infection predictions

There is reason to lower the shoulders of the omicron danger, FHI believes. But the experts do not want to end the pandemic in Norway immediately.

Where does the road go next? The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has looked at how the year started on the corona front. Here from the queue outside the test station at Rommen in Oslo in mid-December.

On Wednesday, the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) presented a postponed and long-awaited risk report on the omicron variant. This gives cause for optimism at the beginning of 2022.

Preliminary analyzes indicate a 69 per cent lower risk of being admitted to hospital with the omicron variant than with delta.

But at the same time came the week status report about the corona situation. And it had several bright spots, and some still gloomy warnings about the corona road ahead.

These are the positive corona news from the first week of the year:

  • The number of corona deaths is declining. This development has been seen in the last three weeks. Last week, 19 deaths were registered, a halving compared to the last week in 2021. The median age of corona deaths was 84 years.
  • In the last week, there has been a decrease or stable number of new patients admitted to hospitals in most counties with the exception of Trøndelag.
  • Fewer people become seriously ill from corona. The number admitted to the intensive care unit is declining, preliminary figures show. In week 1, 29 corona patients were admitted to the intensive care unit, compared with 38 in week 52.

The proportion who become seriously ill has fallen sharply. Last week there were 25.6 hospitalized per. million inhabitants in Norway:

At the turn of the year, the trend reversed, where the proportion of admissions decreased in relation to the infection, which has increased:

  • FHI’s modeling shows that the trend in the spread of infection is most likely to be decreasing. Reproduction figures since 13 December are now estimated at 0.9. This means that the infection trend is declining, even though the infection pressure has been high in recent weeks.
  • The vaccine pace is picking up. Last week, 339,033 booster doses were set in Norway. It is still a long way behind the government’s target of 400,000 weekly doses, but a sharp increase from a Christmas period with low vaccine activity.
  • This week, 72 per cent of the entire population, 86 per cent of those over the age of 16 and 88 per cent of Norwegians aged 18 and older were vaccinated with two doses.
  • Fewer other viruses are in circulation. The proportion of people infected with other respiratory infections that are neither influenza nor covid-19 decreased last week. 3 per cent of the analyzes were positive in week 1. In week 45, the proportion was positive 9 per cent.
  • The proportion who report respiratory symptoms was 4.1 per cent last week, compared with 8 per cent in week 44.
  • The flu is waiting to happen. There has been a small increase after Christmas and New Year, but the proportion of flu cases is now 0.6 percent, which is a very low level for this time of year, FHI states.

Half of the hospitalized were unvaccinated

One thus does not see the dreaded increase in hospitalization after the omicron variant has spread like wildfire all over Norway. And there are indications that the vaccines are effective – at least it protects against disease.

The weekly report shows this. Vaccine status among the 138 new patients admitted to hospitals in Norway with covid-19 as the main cause in week 1:

  • 49 percent (64 people) were unvaccinated.
  • 30 percent (39 people) were fully vaccinated with two doses
  • 18 percent (24 people) were fully vaccinated with three doses.

Among the fully vaccinated who have been admitted, have a higher median age. A larger proportion of them also have underlying medical conditions such as an increased risk of severe covid-19, compared with the unvaccinated.

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How is the pandemic in Oslo and the neighboring municipalities? This is how the municipalities respond before the government decides.

Omikron hit Denmark and Norway in the middle of nowhere before Christmas. The infection will increase, FHI believes. The picture is of a graffiti on a fence outside Christiania in Copenhagen.

Still gloomy prospects: Infectious winter

Despite the fact that omikron causes less serious processes, FHI is still concerned that the overall infection will burden the health service.

  • Omikron provides hospital admissions, even if the proportion does not increase in proportion to the infection. The proportion admitted with the new variant increased from 1.7 per cent in week 50 to 32 per cent in week 1.
  • The increase in infection is formidable. It increased by 70 percent in Norway from week 52 to week 1. 45,233 new infections in one week is by far the highest number so far in the pandemic.
  • The increase in infection will probably continue in the future, FHI states. “A significant epidemic wave driven by the omicron variant can be expected in the coming weeks,” reads Wednesday’s report. FHI expects that this will result in more admissions.
    This wave of infections can be a significantly increased burden on the health service, the experts believe.
  • The hospitals must use the next few weeks to prepare for large sickness absence and more patients, warns FHI. The municipalities must increase the pace of vaccination.
  • FHI is very uncertain about its modeling of infection. It is difficult to calculate the R-number in recent times, since the omicron has in a short time become dominant in Norway. FHI estimates the R-number for the omicron variant to be between 1.4 and 2.2 in the last 14 days.
  • It has been reported that a subgroup of the omicron virus has increased rapidly in Denmark after the New Year. This sub-variant is an even more mutated version of the omicron. This has now also been proven in Norway with several cases after the New Year. A total of 139 cases where 16 have been confirmed, reports FHI.
  • Refreshment dose for vulnerable occupational groups is late: Among health personnel in the primary and specialist health services, 56 per cent and 70 per cent have received three doses, respectively. So far, only 40 percent of all employees in schools and kindergartens have received a refresher dose.

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