Coronavirus infection rates may now be back at about the same level as when the peak was reached this autumn.
The final figures will not be available until Wednesday, but as they stand now, the infection rates during the last week are about the same as when the autumn wave was at its highest in November.
The preliminary calculations were presented by the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) on Saturday.
“Now we may be back at the level we were in November. The danger is great that it goes even higher than that level,” FHI director Camilla Stoltenberg told news bureau NTB.
Higher infection rates
According to the FHI’s calculations, the basic reproduction number (R) has risen to 1.3.
That means that an average of 100 infected people will infect 130 new people.
Earlier in December, R was calculated at 1.1. The number must be below 1.0 for the total infection in society to go down.
Stoltenberg pointed out that there has now been an increase in infection rates for at least three weeks.
The spike occurred after a number of new measures were introduced in November to tackle the second wave of infections.
The new measures led to a flattening and decline in infection after a period of a relatively rapid increase in infection in late October and early November.
New wave of infection?
The head of the FHI is deeply concerned about the infection developments.
She fears that the spread of infection will intensify when everyday life starts again next week.
“It may be that we will see a decline after Christmas because we’ll see less of the social interaction that we have at Christmas.
“But what we fear is a development like the one we have seen in many countries around us,” Stoltenberg told NTB.
She pointed out that several other countries have experienced a new increase in infection rates that has surpassed the first wave this autumn.
Increased contact at Christmas
In previous weeks, the infection has increased by 6–7% per week.
The FHI’s experts believe that several factors may be behind the development.
The social contact has increased through Christmas – both in the form of Christmas shopping and in meetings with family, friends, and acquaintances.
At the same time, travel has increased, both within Norway and in and out of the country.
Furthermore, the FHI is closely monitoring new mutations in the coronavirus that appear to be more contagious.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today