– Immunity is weakened

Last week, 130 patients were admitted to hospital with covid-19 as the main cause.

This is the third week in a row that the number of patients admitted due to covid-19 is increasing.

Figures from the National Institute of Public Health show that for week 23, 130 new patients have been reported in this group so far. In week 22, 98 new patients were reported, compared with 78 in week 21.

– We are now seeing an increase in the epidemic. More are infected. And when more people become infected, there will also be a few more admissions, says chief physician at the National Institute of Public Health, Preben Aavitsland.

Weakened immunity and new omicron variant

He says that the increase is partly due to the fact that immunity after vaccination and infection is weakened over time and partly due to the BA.5 variant (a subgroup of omicron) making itself more prevalent in that it bypasses immunity better.

– We do not expect such a large wave as last winter when 3-4 million were infected and over 500 were hospitalized every week, says Aavitsland.

The figures worry the country’s leading vaccine researchers.

– Especially those with a high risk of disease must be careful, and it is important that those who are ill stay at home so that they do not spread disease, says virus researcher Rebecca Cox at Haukeland University Hospital and UiB.

She says that it is normal with less infection in the summer, and that the increase now gives a warning of what is to come.

– The virus is unpredictable, and I also think it is likely that there will be a new wave, says Rebecca Cox.

At the Department of Immunology at the University of Oslo, senior researcher Gunnveig Grødeland says that we are still in a normal situation, even with the new figures.

Researcher in vaccine development and immunology, Gunnveig Grødeland, believes that increased infection can now also be positive. Photo: Rune Blekken / TV 2

– There is still a bit more infection among people now than I had expected, says Grødeland.

Also positive with infection

She also points out that the growing infection rates are not necessarily negative.

– I still consider it likely that we will get a wave in the autumn. In that sense, it is not so stupid with a little infection now, because it provides an even better basis for the variant that may come in the autumn, says Grødeland.

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