Saturday 9/18/21

Youth infections at leisure events raise Covid-19 cases in Finland

Finland lags behind in vaccine coverage compared to the rest of the EU
A crowded terrace in downtown Helsinki in the afternoon, before curfew. Photo:
A crowded terrace in downtown Helsinki. Photo:

The number of new Covid-19 cases continues to increase in Finland for the fifth week in a row. And as in the rest of Europe, it is young people - who are still largely unvaccinated - who are becoming infected.

On Thursday, health authorities reported 765 new infections, a number similar to those registered at times of high spread of the virus. The incidence of new cases on Thursday stood at 100.3 infections per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide, said the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

According to the latest monitoring report of the epidemic issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the total number of new cases reported between 19 and 25 July was 2,895. The number is almost 30% higher than the week before.

Over the same period, the 14-day incidence rates have increased in 19 hospital districts, that is almost throughout the whole country. For the last two-week period, the incidence of new cases is now 93 per hundred thousand inhabitants.

The share of infections from abroad is around 8%.

Virus spreading among youth

According to the assessment made by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)The epidemic is still spreading among young adults.

Between 19 and 25 July, over half of infections were reported among people aged 10–29 and predominantly among those between 18–21 years of age. Last week, 5,952 people were placed in quarantine. This is almost the same number as the week before.

In the summer, the transmission chains have become wider. People have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus at different kinds of leisure time events, in restaurants and other food and beverage service businesses, and in outdoor parties and public events.

More people hospitalized

Based on the information provided by the hospital districts, a total of 57 people were receiving hospital care due to the Covid-19 disease on 28 July. Of them, 6 were in intensive care units. Among those in need of hospital care in Finland, the number of young adults and non-vaccinated patients is notable.

Finland lags behind in vaccine coverage compared to the rest of the European Union. Two days ago, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced that on average 70% of Europeans have already received at least one dose of the vaccine and 57% have full coverage.

But in Finland this percentage is lower: around 65% of the population have received at least their first vaccine dose and only 32% are fully vaccinated, Finnish authorities say. Still, vaccination makes it possible for the need for hospital care to no longer follow the development of the pandemic.

Finland has reported 982 deaths related to the Covid-19 virus since the epidemic started.