Sweden confirmed around 9,000 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since last December. Data for individual days are likely affected by factors like less testing (due to for example fewer staff and a lower inclination to get tested) and reporting lags over the Christmas holidays and should be taken with a pinch of salt – but it follows a sharply rising infection rate since mid-November.
Last week Sweden’s three-week rolling average stood at 327 new Covid cases per 100,000 unvaccinated people over the age of 12, and 187 per vaccinated over-12s, wrote the Public Health Agency as it presented the latest available data on Wednesday afternoon.
Of confirmed cases last week, 36 percent were unvaccinated.
So far, 29 percent of all over-18s in Sweden have received their booster dose of a Covid vaccine, and 79 percent of everyone aged over 65, said the Public Health Agency. More than 85 percent of over-12s have had at least one jab, and more than 81 percent have had two.
Sweden’s death rate remains relatively low, although around a handful of people are still dying every day after testing positive for Covid.
But the number of people in need of intensive care is increasing, with 52 new patients admitted to intensive care last week.
More than 100 Covid patients are currently in intensive care in Sweden, as The Local reported on Wednesday. The number of intensive care patients per 100,000 people was last week 12 times higher among unvaccinated than vaccinated people, said the Public Health Agency.
According to a preliminary analysis of positive tests, the number of cases of the new Omicron variant ranged from three to 51 percent across various regions last week, but the majority of regions had not reported new data on the variant over the Christmas holidays.
The variant is believed to be milder but more infectious than other variants, but much about it is still unknown.
The spread of infection has reached record levels in much of Europe, with several countries now recording their highest levels of daily cases since the start of the pandemic. Denmark on Wednesday found 23,228 new cases among 189,512 PCR tests, its highest daily total to date.
Sweden’s confirmed infection rate is still lower than the second wave last winter, but it’s worth bearing in mind that its curve has generally been a few weeks behind many other European countries. The Public Health Agency believes Omicron will dominate by mid-January.