May 8, 2021

Government’s new figures: Measures in Norway have stopped all infection growth

Norway Government's new figures: Measures in Norway have stopped all infection growth
Norway statsminister Erna Solberg

Government’s new figures: Measures in Norway have stopped all infection growth

Source: This is an article taken from Filter News

Norwegian health authorities have made new calculations that show that the so-called reproduction number (Re) in the corona epidemic is significantly below 1 in Norway after the measures introduced on March 12 have had an effect. This will be stated in one of the reports that is now handed over to the government, Filter News has confirmed from several sources with access to the figures.

If the calculation is correct, it means that the outbreak no longer grows and that the number of hospital admissions will go down if the current measures regime is continued.

The updated reproduction figure means that the National Institute of Public Health’s complex model now indicates that on average, each carrier in Norway infects fewer than one person each, while the starting point was 2.4 people each.

This situation is what the authorities in the last two weeks have called the “suppress” scenario or to “knock down the virus”.

“How quickly we can mitigate the measures depends on how well we succeed in knocking down the virus,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said as late as Friday – when the reproduction figure was still intended to produce some growth in the number of infected.

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The current figure is an important part of the decision-making process when the government is to decide at the beginning of the week what changes it is possible to make in the package of measures that characterize all Norwegians’ lives . This will be published on Wednesday.

In addition to analyzes from the Directorate of Health and FHI, the decisions will be based on reports from two different expert committees – one of which gives a recommendation on schools and kindergartens, while the other has reviewed the social economy in different constructions of measures. In total, the material must be on several hundred pages. The government has chosen to keep the reports secret until the decisions are made.

No need to cheer

Although there is a great deal of uncertainty about FHI’s model, politicians’ starting point is now a projection from the infection control experts who show that intensive care units in Norwegian hospitals, with today’s measures, will gradually get fewer patients instead of approaching congestion.

But: In the long term, Norway has not solved any problems by stopping the growth of infection during this phase. Since there are probably only a few thousand Norwegians who have been infected and thus may be immune, there is as much danger as before of a full-scale epidemic if the action packages against the infection change and the number of infected flares re-emerges .

In an envisaged scenario in which all measures will be released again, Norway will be able to get just as serious a contagion curve later this year as if this round of closing the country had never been completed.

The FHI noted on March 25 that possibly completing a “suppress” strategy involves “postponing the epidemic until vaccination of a necessary proportion (probably at least 50%) of the population becomes possible by 2021, or until effective treatment becomes available. “.

No simple solutions

“It will be very difficult to titrate to the right level of action, ie measures that just suppress the epidemic, but which do not have unnecessarily significant negative effects on individuals and society. The right measures must be implemented at the right time and have the right duration, ” FHI wrote of the scenario two weeks ago.

Since it is hardly a real alternative for the government to maintain equally stringent measures for about two years, politicians will eventually have to experiment with relief that may soon be tightened again later.

Large relief will, at best, have to be followed by a huge apparatus for accurately monitoring the infection situation and for detecting individual cases.

Epidemiologists fear that over time, Norwegians will become less adept at following the most radical measures if, for example, death rates remain low. “We also fear people’s declining compliance with and respect for measures that intervene in their lives and for which they do not understand the background,” FHI’s previous risk assessment stated.

Internationally, several leading researchers have envisaged that the most stringent measures related to so-called social distancing are turned on and off based on given criteria until the population can be vaccinated – that is, trying to keep new wave peaks so low that the health care system can also remove these . This is one of the few alluring solutions the government must now look into.

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