The number of asymptomatic coronavirus patients is currently higher than at any stage during the pandemic so far, the latest results of the University of Tartu's monitoring study show.
There has been an increase in the number of people infected with the virus since December, the last time the study took place. The majority of people are showing no symptoms and transmit the virus without knowingly doing so.
Additionally, people are not changing their behavior when they know they have been a close contact, the study found.
University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, who is head of the monitoring study, said this creates favorable conditions for the continued spread of the virus. She advised everyone to get vaccinated.
"It is estimated that one in eighteen adult people who have been vaccinated with two doses are infected, and one in forty among those who have got the booster dose. The third dose reduces the infection risk more than twice," said Kalda.
In January, 2,352 people were tested at random and 3 percent tested positive. Of these, 2/3rds were still infections - which is almost four times higher than in December.
Kalda said the infection rate is highest among people aged 18-39. Half of those over 65 are infected.
Despite the rapid spread of the virus, the proportion of people with antibodies has increased by only 1 percent over the last month. The professor said this could be because few people are being vaccinated for the first time.
Due to the vaccination rate, it may be possible to avoid a crisis situation in health care during the current wave.
"The fact that 90 percent of the elderly are still covered by antibodies and have the lowest rates of infection suggests that the risk of overcrowding in hospitals may be alleviated," she said.
Editor: Helen Wright