Covid press briefing round-up

12.01.2022 - 13:16
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Júlíus Sigurjónsson - Almannavarnir
The ‘holy trinity’ of Alma Möller, Víðir Reynisson, and Þórólfur Guðnason, have this morning given another open press briefing. Among the items raised were that six more covid patients were admitted to hospital yesterday, and that children are three-times more likely to become ill due to the virus than the vaccine.
  • There are 45 covid patients in hospital today, which is six more than yesterday. Seven are in intensive care, including four on ventilators. 
  • Már Kristjánsson, senior physician for the infectious diseases department at Landspítali national university hospital, told the Alþingi welfare standing committee yesterday: “My experience of those who have been admitted unvaccinated are individuals who have chosen to be unvaccinated. Not because they have received advice on it from a doctor not to get vaccinated.”
  • There were 1,135 positive PCR tests in Iceland yesterday, which was a similar number to the previous day. 60 tested positive at the border. A total of 10,033 people are now in isolation with active infection and 10,063 are in quarantine. 
  • The civil protection alert level was raised back to “emergency” yesterday due to pressure on the system—especially on Landspítali. It is the fourth time Iceland has declared covid an emergency since the pandemic started—most recently between March and May last year. 
  • The general assembly limits in place were extended yesterday for a further three weeks; though the health minister emphasises the rules could be strengthened if required and that the coming days will be critical in finding out. 
  • Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason told reporters that two to seven patients are being admitted to hospital per day with the virus. The number of inpatients with covid is up seventy percent since the 1st January. Three have died at Landspítali in the past three days. A one-year-old child is in hospital with the virus and 2-5 other children come in for urgent outpatient treatment each day. 
  • According to computer modelling the number of new cases will continue to around a thousand, or slightly more, every day in the short-term. Late this month, there will probably be around 70 in hospital and 20 in intensive care. 
  • Þórólfur confirmed that ten children under 16 have been admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 so far, out of 9,300 infections—or 0.1 percent. Two of them were treated in intensive care. Hundreds more have needed outpatient treatment at the Barnaspítali Hringsins children’s hospital. One child has been admitted due to side effects of vaccination. Six cases of serious side effects have been reported, out of 22,000 vaccinated children—or 0.03 percent. Þórólfur calculates, therefore, that the virus is three-times more likely to cause serious illness in children than the vaccine is. 
  • Þórólfur says that the computer model indicate that he will probably have to recommend stricter anti-contagion measures to the health minister. He did not recommend more restrictions in his last memo, instead recommending no change. He might recommend changes before this weekend. 
  • Both Þórólfur and Alma agreed it would have been better to delay the start of the new school term in light of the number of infections among children now. They added, though, that they understand why the government decided to open them, because schools are extremely important, despite the virus risk. 
  • Asked about the Janssen vaccine, Þórólfur said it is not discrimination to exclude people initially vaccinated with Janssen from the new relaxed rules on quarantine that allow triple-vaccinated people to ‘shield’ rather than quarantine when exposed to possible infection. The single shot of Janssen once considered a complete vaccine has now proven to provide similar protection to a single shot of Pfizer, Þórólfur explains, and cannot be counted as a complete vaccination. That group unfortunately needs to wait a little longer. 
  • Þórólfur re-emphasised that there is no respectable research indicating that Ivermectin works against COVID-19. The approach to the illness is led by science and treatments are only used after extensive research and peer review, which is not the case for Ivermectin. 
  • Alma Möller said that there is covid infection on at least six wards at Landspítali and that the burden has also increased on other hospitals around the country. Operations have been postponed in Akureyri, for example. She once again called on people who can, to register as reserve healthcare workers. 
  • In closing, Víðir said the goal is still to protect the health system and vulnerable people. The daily infection rate must be brought down to 500 from the current thousand-or-so. Personal sanitation and social distancing measures remain one of the most important tools, he said. 

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