Elderly risk and shorter isolation
Kamilla emphasises that there is a difference between infection and illness, especially in vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated people of all age groups are less likely to become ill even if they become infected.
There were ten COVID-19 patients at Landspítali national university hospital this morning, which was the same number as yesterday. One hospitalised cancer patient (and a cancer ward staff member) found out today that they received false positive test results yesterday and are no longer in isolation. The number of hospitalised covid patients has therefore now gone down to nine. Two are in intensive care.
Around 500 people were sent into quarantine yesterday, bringing the total to around 3,000.
Kamilla Sigríður Jósefsdóttir, the chief epidemiologist while Þórólfur Guðnason is on leave, says that although more people are being diagnosed now than ever (up to 130 per day), most are not becoming very sick.
“Infection is one thing and sickness is another. We are seeing serious illness and we are seeing hospital admissions, though. And with a lot more infections than we are used to, that means that although fewer may get seriously sick thanks to vaccination, there will nevertheless be many of them if there are many more infections. If it carries on like it is doing. And that is probably the biggest worry,” Kamilla says.
Most concern for high-risk people
Kamilla says it remains hard to forecast how the spread of the Delta variant will work out, but says she is most concerned for the oldest generation—even though their rate of participation in the vaccination programme was the highest of all.
“Even so, we still are still concerned that protection against this variant is not as good as against the other variants; not withstanding that people of that age are less well protected by full vaccination than younger people anyway. Data are coming out showing that in infection of vaccinated very sensitive groups, like the elderly, there is still increased frequency of serious illness and death with increasing age. Though it is better following vaccination.”
Vaccinated people diagnosed with COVID-19 will now isolate for ten days instead of 14, as long as they are healthy and not immunosuppressed. Others will continue to isolate for 14 days after diagnosis, or for three days after recovering from symptoms; whichever is longer. It believed the change is a low-risk way to reduce pressure on the health service, and stress on patients.