THL: The pandemic is becoming less deadly, but the social impact is now visible

THL: The pandemic is becoming less deadly, but the social impact is now visible

Although the number of daily infections detected in Finland is still in the thousands, the incidence and mortality of the coronavirus are declining. The Department of Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) report on the matter.

About 100 Covid deaths have been reported each week in Finland, but this is due to an increase in infections, THL’s director Mika Salminen said at a weekly news conference. The number of deaths relative to those infected is at its lowest level since the start of the outbreak, Salminen added.

Yet the burden of the pandemic on the country’s health care system is high. About 600 coronavirus patients are currently treated in Finnish hospitals, 42 of whom are in intensive care.

However, the figures show that up to a third of patients have been hospitalized for non-viral reasons and have been positive since then, meaning that Covid has not been the main reason for hospitalization.

"The majority of patients in the intensive care unit are present because of Covid. The risk of serious infection is particularly high in those who have not been vaccinated," Chief Medical Officer of STM Taneli Puumalainen said.

Contradictory third stitch advice

According to health agencies, the pace of vaccination has also slowed. This is partly because many have been infected with the virus recently. THL recommends withholding the third injection for at least three months after recovery from a coronavirus infection.

According to Salminen, people with Covid should receive a second dose of the vaccine, even if they have already received two doses.

However, as of Thursday, THL’s online advice does not reflect this position.

"Others (who are not in the vulnerable groups) do not need a third dose to protect against the virus, at least for the time being, if they have received Covid and received two doses of the vaccine." THL website reads.

THL: Masks should stay on

The Department of Health and Welfare also recommended that masks continue to be used in public indoor and public transportation, regardless of the degree of vaccination.

"A recommendation is a recommendation. It leaves room for people to decide for themselves what kind of mask to wear and in what situations," Mika Salminen said.

The pandemic affected the Finnish welfare state

Finland has been a success story in coping with the pandemic compared to other European countries, Ministerial Assistant Jouni Varanka said at a news conference.

According to Varanka, trust in the authorities and good communication between the agencies have been key.

"The (pandemic) crisis has tested Finnish democracy, but we have dealt with it well," Varanka said.

But while the economy was not felt as badly nationwide as expected, individuals and companies have certainly paid a heavy price, Varanka added. This is reflected in an increase in applications for grants and other financial support throughout the crisis, but inequality has also increased.

Finnish health care has also suffered greatly, which is reflected in staff shortages, long waiting lists and low morale of health care workers. According to the minister’s strategy, mental health services are currently particularly congested.

Source: The Nordic Page

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