Lutsar: Daily coronavirus case numbers need to be put into context

Irja Lutsar.
Irja Lutsar. Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

Head of the scientific advisory council Professor Irja Lutsar said the rising number of coronavirus cases needs to be put into context and seen alongside the number of hospitalizations.

While more than 100 cases a day are now being diagnosed, the number of patients being treated in hospital has risen much more slowly. On Friday morning, 36 patients were being treated in hospital.

The virology professor said the majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated. The number of deaths has also fallen and only one has been reported this week.

"Certainly, panic or fear does not contribute to the epidemic, nor to an individual. It certainly has a detrimental effect on the immune system," Lutsar said.

Council did not recommend making masks mandatory on public transport

Lutsar said the council had recommended to the government that a step-by-step approach should be taken when new restrictions are introduced.

This week the council advised that masks should be worn indoors, not only on public transport, as the government has decided will be introduced on August 2.

"The council discussed it and our approach was that we could move in stages and initially recommend masks indoors where it is difficult to socially distance, such as on public transport or in a nightclub. In a nightclub, the risk of getting an infection is probably significantly higher than in public transport," she said.

"But this is a government decision, and the council will certainly accept the government's decision," Lutsar stressed.

Lutsar added that t is important to remember that wearing a mask has never been banned and that people can wear masks if they want to.

"We have to move on calmly here. Now such an order has been made, let's act on it, I don't think that confrontation will help here," Lutsar said.

Traffic light scheme could be changed

The council also discussed changing the government's current traffic light warning scheme but it is first necessary to see how the medical system copes with the next wave.

Lutsar said the most important factor will be how many people need to be treated in intensive care and how many deaths there will be.

The traffic light scheme was introduced in spring and has four color-coded levels - green, yellow, orange and red - which indicate the risk is low, medium, high and very high.

For each level of risk, possible actions have been suggested on how each person, institution and the state can contribute to limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

The current level is orange which means high.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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