Study: High coronavirus rate due to new strain, declining sense of danger

Samples in a doctor's office.
Samples in a doctor's office. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia's spread of coronavirus remains high for the fourth month in a row due to a new Omicron subtype and people's declining sense of danger, the results of the University of Tartu's (TÜ) latest monitoring study show.

1,970 participants were tested during the most recent prevalence study and 5.8 percent gave positive samples and 3.7 percent were still infectious. Of those, most people, 80 percent, experienced mild or moderate symptoms.

The figures have been more of less the same since the end of August, said TÜ's Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda.

One reason is the Omicron subtype BQ1.1 which has gained a strong foothold in Estonia.

"This is even more contagious than the previous Omicron strain and can bypass the immune response of previous infections. Fortunately, the cases caused by this strain also tend to be mild, and it usually does not cause severe disease," Kalda said.

Comparative results of 31 study waves. Source: University of Tartu.

She recommended older people get a booster dose to increase their antibodies as the survey shows the vaccination to be effective.

The behavioral survey carried out alongside the study shows participants' sense of danger has decreased. Many people are no longer trying to contain the spread of infection.

Kalda said people tend to forget that coronavirus is an infectious disease.  

More information about the study can be viewed on the University of Tartu's web page.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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