How has Christmas affected number of Covid-19 cases detected in Norway?

Pictured is somebody preparing a Covid-19 test sample.
Christmas has led to a lower level of Covid-19 cases being registered in Norway. Pictured is a swab being prepared. Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash
A lower number of Covid-19 infections were detected in Norway during the Christmas holiday with fewer people tested for the virus,.

On Sunday, 2,214 new Covid-19 infections were recorded in Norway and on Christmas day, 1,989 cases were registered.

Infection numbers in recent days are at around a third of a level they were in mid-December, when a record 6,003 coronavirus cases were recorded on the 14th.

Espen Nakstad, deputy director at the Norwegian Directorate of Health, said that the festive period has impacted Covid-19 infection numbers, but not the spread of the virus itself, noting hospital numbers haven’t fallen as drastically as registered cases.

“We see clear signs of a Christmas effect in that the number of registered cases fell more than the number of hospitalisations. This is primarily due to fewer people getting tested at Christmas, but the low infection rates we saw in many municipalities in the week before Christmas may have contributed,” Nakstad told newspaper VG.

The senior health official added that only around 50 percent of coronavirus cases in Norway are actually detected.

“No one knows how many undetected cases there really are, but based on registered admissions and infection numbers in countries that test more than us, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has previously estimated that around 50 percent of cases are detected in Norway,” he said.

Nakstad also explained that the proportion of Covid cases that health authorities are able to detect was likely to have dropped over Christmas.

“In November and December, more and more cases of infection were detected, but at Christmas, the trend can quickly turn in the opposite direction because much of the regular testing in schools and some workplaces is not carried out during the holiday period,” he explained.


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