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Coronavirus infections down by a third from last month

The results of the recently ended wave of the prevalence study led by the University of Tartu show that the number of people infected with coronavirus has been on the decline for a third month. The prevalence of coronavirus antibodies has remained stable since March. Furthermore, older people who have not yet received a booster dose are more inclined to receive the addictional vaccine dose than other age groups.

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From 1 to 13 June, a total of 2,496 adult persons tested for coronavirus and 2.5% of them tested positive. Two thirds of the infected had already had the disease and were no longer infectious, while nearly a third of those who tested positive were still contagious. The leader of the survey, University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda estimates that one person in every 38 is currently infected. This is a third less than in May, and the number of infectious cases with clear symptoms has also decreased.

2,439 adults gave a blood sample to determine the amount of anti-Covid-19 antibodies, and 87% of them had the antibodies. According to Kalda, the percentage of adults with antibodies has remained at the same level since March. “Given the slow uptake of new vaccinations, this result is quite an expected one,” said Kalda. This study also confirmed that antibodies persist longer in vaccinated people than in those who have had the disease: nearly all of the vaccinated have antibodies, compared to three quarters of those who have had the disease. According to researchers, those who have not only had the disease but have also been vaccinated have the best protection against new infections.

Booster dose should be taken in summer already

Ruth Kalda said that although it is summer, outbreaks of a new variant of the Omicron strain are already being reported in Europe, so it is likely that Estonia will not be unaffected. This is why the chief executive of the study, University of Tartu Professor of Public Health Mikk Jürisson regards it very important that people belonging to risk groups took the booster dose already before the autumn.

The behavioural study conducted in the course of the prevalence survey showed that willingness to get a booster dose varies considerably by age group. In general, one in three adults without a booster dose expressed their willingness to get one, while 40% of the older age group confirmed that plan. In the older age group, Estonians were, in their own words, more inclined to vaccinate than non-Estonians.

The prevalence study is carried out by a broad-based research group of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab, Medicum and Kantar Emor. It is the only study that provides an overview of the actual prevalence of the coronavirus in the adult population. The next wave of the study is planned for August.

For more information about the coronavirus prevalence study, see the University of Tartu website.

The study is funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the EU measure to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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