When will the current wave of Covid-19 infections in Norway peak?

Covid infections in Norway will peak in the coming weeks before trending downwards, modelling from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health has predicted.

Aker Brygge, Oslo
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has said that the current wave of infection would peak at the turn of the month. Pictured is Aker Brygge, Oslo. Photo by Kamil Klyta on Unsplash

The current wave of coronavirus infections in Norway, driven by the Omicron variant, will likely peak at the turn of the month or in early February before beginning to trend downwards, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has predicted.

Following the peak, NIPH expects the number of hospitalisations to fall rapidly, based on what it has seen happen in South Africa.

“In South Africa, they had a very rapid increase in infection, and then they got a fairly rapid decrease even after they passed the peak of infection,” Line Vold, director of the infection control department at NIPH, told newspaper VG on Monday.

An updated risk assessment of the Omicron variant published by NIPH last week estimated that the peak would see fewer than 50,000 cases per day with the current level of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

The scenario also estimated that there would be between 100 and 400 hospital admissions per day and around 500 and 2,500 patients in hospital with Covid at any one time. The highest number of patients with Covid-19 in Norwegian hospitals during the pandemic so far has been around 350.

READ ALSO: What are the current rules for Covid-19 self-isolation in Norway?

In the report, director-general of the NIPH Camilla Stoltenberg emphasised that some uncertainty remained around the projected numbers.

“We still cannot predict the future, the scenarios are the best option we have,” Stoltenberg said in the report.

If no measures were in place, the institute said that cases could top 150,000 daily infections and see as many as 700 daily hospital admissions.

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VERDICT: How well did Norway handle the Covid-19 pandemic?

Norway’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was given an overall positive scorecard in an official commission report published on Tuesday.

VERDICT: How well did Norway handle the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Corona Commission, appointed to scrutinise the response of authorities and health services, on Tuesday published its final report on the country’s management of the pandemic.

The commission concluded that Norway’s response to the pandemic was generally good. The report notes that the Scandinavian country has one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates in Europe and limited the impact of the virus on economic activity.

Several individuals made far greater contributions than could have been expected, it also said.

“In the health service, state administration, municipalities and at several companies, an impressive flexibility and ability to adapt was demonstrated,” the report states.

Some criticism is included in the report. Authorities were not adequately prepared to deal with a pandemic of the magnitude Covid-19 proved to be.

The pandemic caused severe strain on a number of ICU wards at times and doctors’ services in local municipalities were poorly equipped, the report said.

“ICU preparedness at hospitals was not good enough,” the report states.

The commission meanwhile pointed out the vaccination programme as a successful element of the response but said the government should have been quicker to take the step of distributing more vaccines to areas with higher Covid-19 prevalence.

A broad range of areas are covered by the report, including its consequences for children and young people, which were found to be excessive.

Authorities failed to do enough to protect children from some of the effects of restrictions, despite this being a government objective.

“To put it a little simply, we can say that children and young people are worse affected by restrictions than by infections and that there is a difference between what you miss out on over a year when you are 16 compared to when you are 46,” the report states.