Expert: Coronavirus picture similar to that in March or April

Joel Starkopf.
Joel Starkopf. Source: Andres Tennus (Tartu Ülikooli Kliinikum)

Vaccinated people are three times less likely to get infected with the coronavirus, and eight times less likely to need hospital treatment as a result of the virus, board member at Tartu University Clinic Joel Starkopf said.

Starkopf highlighted public information showing that, from the beginning of 2020, 1,471 coronavirus patients have been treated by the university's clinic, 272 of whom have been in the intensive care department. As of October 8, 66 patients need to be isolated.

This has had its effect on the hospital's workload, he went on.

Starkopf said that: "The usual working rhythm gets disturbed; two departments of the adult intensive care departments have been turned into COVID-19 departments. Treating coronavirus patients is difficult and time-consuming. These patients tend to remain in the hospital twice as long as other patients."

Starkopf added that coronavirus patients need significantly more resources than non-coronvirus patients.

"The necessary personnel and bed spaces come at the expense of treatments which can be postponed. Above all, that concerns planned surgeries. The result is long waiting lists for surgery, and reduced access to specialist care," he went on.

Starkopf said that the only way to change things is continued vaccination.

"Health Board data, and professor Krista Fischer's analysis prove that vaccination is the best remedy against the COVID-19, especially against needing hospital treatment."

Starkopf said that it can be clearly seen in the clinic that unvaccinated people mostly need hospital treatment. "The course of the virus is as tough for them as it was for people at the beginning of the first wave. Hospitalized people who are vaccinated suffer from the virus much easier than unvaccinated people. Only a few vaccinated people have needed hospital care and this is also due to related illnesses."

He also said that, unfortunately, Estonia hasn't reached a level of vaccination which would allow health care facilities to return to their normal rhythm.

"The infection rates of the last couple of weeks show signs of the situation worsening, the number of patients needing hospital treatment will probably increase twice at the end of October compared to today. We're in a similar situation to March or April," he went on.

Starkopf also reminded the public of the need to get vaccinated.

"By getting vaccinated, you're not only protecting yourself, but will also ensure accessibility to health care services. There are definitely people around you who need some form of hospital treatment. Please make it accessible for them too," he said.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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