A record 7,921 Covid-19 cases were reported for Tuesday, the highest daily figure that Norway has recorded throughout the pandemic.
The new record surpasses the previous highest daily total of 6,003 infections, recorded on December 14th 2021, by almost 2,000. Tuesday’s figure is also 3,219 more than the same day last week.
The pandemic-high figures come after the government and health authorities warned earlier this week that the country should expect a sharp rise in infections in January as people return to their everyday lives following the Christmas period.
Tuesday’s record high daily infection total is unsurprising, according to immunologist and professor of medicine at the University of Oslo Anne Spurkland.
“It is completely expected. I really think these are low numbers because there can be a lot of underreporting. I think the wave (of infection) is bigger than what we can see right now,” Spurkland told public broadcaster NRK.
Espen Nakstad, assistant director of health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, earlier said the number of people currently infected with Covid-19 was probably significantly higher than official figures would indicate due to ‘dark numbers’ or unreported cases.
“We probably have significant dark numbers in Norway. It is difficult to estimate exactly, but it could be around 50 percent,” he told NRK.
A new record was also set in capital city Oslo, with 1,771 new infections on Tuesday, the highest in the city throughout the pandemic.
Spurkland said the situation in Norway was similar to other countries around Europe.
“It tells me that the situation in Norway is comparable to other countries where we have seen a sharp increase in infection. We will probably have to accept that more people will be infected in the coming weeks,” she explained.
Norway currently has one of the lowest daily averages of Covid-19 infections per million residents, with an average of 775 cases being reported per million people. Only Austria and Germany have lower averages, according to figures collated by Our World In Data.
Norway’s average is also significantly below Denmark’s infection rate of around 3,000 daily cases per million and slightly behind Sweden’s seven-day average of 888 cases per per million people.
However, Norway’s seven-day rolling average is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks as the number of reported infections increases as more people test following the Christmas and New Year holidays and return to day-to-day lives.