Should Norway brace itself for an autumn coronavirus wave?

Several European countries are facing an autumn wave of coronavirus. Should Norwegians be worried?

Man with facemask
Infection figures in Norway have been stable in the last month. Photo by Denis Jung / Unsplash

In October, several European countries – including Italy, France and the United Kingdom – reported a steep increase in COVID-19 infection.

Norway hasn’t noticed such a trend for the time being, but health authorities warn that colder weather could lead to more infection cases.

Espen Rostrup Nakstad, the assistant director of the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs, says that situation in the country has been stable in the last 30 days.

“Most people believe we will get more infection cases when it gets colder. That happens with respiratory infections.

“However, at the moment, Italy is facing an increase in COVID-19 inpatients, with a 30% increase in one week. In the United Kingdom, the increase amounted to 45% compared to two weeks ago.

“We do not see that trend in Norway. In Norway, we see 10-20 new inpatients per day. And the number has been stable in the last month,” Nakstad told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) over the weekend.

Vaccination recommendations

Last week, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet – FHI) stated that the elderly are still recommended to take a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

However, young and healthy Norwegians will probably not be included in similar recommendations in the future, according to the FHI’s chief physician Preben Aavitsland.

“Old age is clearly the most important risk factor. We, therefore, recommend that everyone over 65 take a booster dose as soon as possible. We’re also assessing whether there is a need for healthy people in the 45-64 age group to do the same.

“For healthy people under the age of 45, there will hardly be a new recommendation for taking coronavirus doses,” Aavitsland told the newspaper ABC Nyheter.

While there is no sign of an Autumn wave of COVID infection in Norway yet, the country should prepare for the Winter.

“There is less immunity than normal against influenza, and we already have coronavirus in circulation,” Aavitsland added, noting that there could be a simultaneous wave of both coronavirus and flu infections later this autumn.

“Two epidemics at the same time would not be a good thing. They largely affect the same group and thus take over the same capacities in hospitals and nursing homes,” Aavitsland said.

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Norway ‘enters new Covid wave’ as minister issues warning

Norway is at the beginning of a new wave of Covid-19, according to the latest report from the Norwegian Insitute of Public Health. Meanwhile, the Norwegian Minister of Health has said measures could return if hospitals are overrun.

Norway 'enters new Covid wave' as minister issues warning

The spread of coronavirus infection in Norway is increasing, and the number of deaths and hospitalisations is on the up, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) writes in its latest assessment of the virus in Norway. 

It added that the increase in Covid was likely the beginning of a new wave of the disease. 

“It is uncertain how big this wave will be, but it is likely that a winter wave with the variants we know now (about) will not put a significantly greater burden on hospitals than the summer wave in 2022 did,” the NIPH said in the report. 

Over the last week weeks, 316 people in Norway have been hospitalised with the coronavirus. 

Norwegian Minister of Health and Social Care, Ingvild Kjerkol, said that the government would bring back Covid-19 measures if hospitals became overrun with the virus. 

“We have plans to be able to step up measures, if necessary,” Kjerkol told Norwegian newswire NTB on Wednesday.

 “What we are particularly watching now is whether we get several epidemics at the same time, i.e. a tough season with, for example, winter flu and increased corona infection,” Kjerkol added. 

Earlier this week, Assistant Health Director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, Espen Rostrup Nakstad, said that a new Covid-19 Omicron variant, which may be more resistant to vaccines, had begun to spread.