As people-to-people contacts increase, so does the number of infections. It will soon be seen in the hospital load as well.
Finland the corona situation has stabilized. However, the “back kicks” of the epidemic are possible when society is opened up and people-to-people contacts increase, a leading expert from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said. Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki at a press conference on Thursday.
The possible extent of this kickback in recent epidemic modeling was presented by a specialist researcher at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) Simopekka Vänskä and chief physician Tuija Leino on a webinar open to all on Friday.
This week, interest rate restrictions on events and public events have been lifted across the country. Opening and drinking hours for restaurants and bars were extended on Monday. According to the government, restaurant restrictions can be lifted completely at the beginning of March if the disease situation develops favorably and the carrying capacity of health care is not threatened.
THL: n in the scenarios, people-to-people contacts will increase to the level of early December or slightly higher by the end of February when the restrictions are lifted.
At the same time, the infectivity number (R) rises to about four. The infectivity rate describes the number of follow-up infections caused by a single infectious in the fully susceptible population at the current contact level. The infection rate at the beginning of February was around 2–3, depending on the scenario.
Omicron conversion is more susceptible to delta transformation, but the omicron transformation appears to cause a milder form of disease on average than the delta transformation.
In Norway, those with confirmed self-infection in December – January had 70 percent lower risk to be hospitalized than in those with delta infection when the population was standardized for age, vaccination status, and other risk factors such as background disease.
In Norway, the figures were calculated from registered infections. Not all infections are likely to end up in the registries there either. Therefore, the figures cannot be directly compared with the scenarios made by THL, which also sought to take into account unregistered infections when calculating the prevalence of hospitalization in coronary patients.
“In our analysis, it would seem that 70 percent is the lower limit. So Omikron is at least 70 percent less delta, that’s what the calculations look like, ”says Vänskä.
On Friday, THL presented four different scenarios for how infection rates and the number of coronary patients in specialist care could evolve as restrictions are lifted and people-to-people contacts increase.
Different scenarios have been calculated with different assumptions about how much milder self-infection is compared to delta infection.
If If the micro-infection were 90 percent less delta, about 30,000 people would be infected every day during the January peak. This, in turn, would mean that only a small proportion of those infected would have been hospitalized in January, when there were many infections.
As so many people have already contracted the disease, there would be relatively little susceptibility to infection in this scenario, and deregulation would have little effect on declining infection and hospitalization rates.
Second the extreme, on the other hand, is a scenario where the omicron transformation would cause about 70 percent milder disease than the delta transformation.
In this case, the actual infection rates in January were fairly well in line with the infections that ended up in the register. That, in turn, would mean that there would still be a lot of susceptibility in the population.
In that case, the infection rates would increase rapidly after the restrictions were lifted. In early March, about 30,000 people a day could be infected. As infection in this scenario would lead to more hospitalization than in Scenario A, increasing infection rates would also lead to a burden on specialist care that has not yet been seen during the epidemic. The workload would peak in March, when up to 150 new coronary patients per day could be admitted to specialist care.
Scenarios B and C
Specialist researcher Vänskä estimates that the spring “kickback” is likely to fall between the two extremes presented earlier. In the other two scenarios calculated by THL, self-infestation is 80 or 85 percent less delta.
In either case, infection rates would increase if restrictions were lifted. The need for specialist care would also increase. In Scenario B, the peak in both infection and medical care would remain at around the January level in March. In Scenario C, infection rates and the burden of specialist care would be higher than seen in January, but not as high as in Scenario D.
For models associated with uncertainties. For example, a new variant and seasonal variation could change the direction of the epidemic.
As the testing criteria have been tightened, not all infections will be registered. Therefore, the actual number of infections also needs to be assessed on the basis of actual periods of specialist care.
The severity of the disease determines how many infections must have been the cause of the actual medical cases. Thus, the number of coronary infections received by the population and the coverage of vaccination will influence future scenarios of how many coronary patients will receive specialist care in the coming months.
Vaccination remains an effective way to protect against severe coronary heart disease that requires hospitalization. The vaccine also effectively protects people who are at risk due to their illness from being admitted to hospital.
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