12% of Latvian population could have had Covid without knowing

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Approximately 12% of Latvia's population could have had Covid-19 infection without knowing it, according to a study conducted by scientific institute Bior, University of Latvia and Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvian Radio reported May 26.

The study involved 127 family doctors' practices from all over Latvia, and tested nearly 5,700 samples for samples for antibodies.

Infectologist Uga Dumpis explained that these indicators show that the number of people who have been affected by Covid-19 is not so large at the moment and refutes the view expressed many times that the majority of the population has had it but didn't know.

“We observed great differences geographically – in Latgale there are 21% of those with antibodies and 6% in Kurzeme. And also in age groups, the most antibodies were detected in children who have visited educational establishments. We in principle demonstrate that school closures are an effective measure of limiting the spread of the virus,” the infectologist said.

The youngest participant in the study was 2 years old and the oldest 96 years old. The head of the study, the director of the Institute for Public Health, Anda Ķīvīte-Urtāne, said that the study covered only those who believed that they had not had Covid-19.

“Each eighth resident of Latvia may have been in contact with the Covid-19 agent or, without knowing, overcome it. If we look at the sexes, there's no real difference. Age trends are interesting. What we hear in the media is that children do not suffer, but what our study shows, which coincides with foreign data, is that, among children, antibodies have been found for twice the percentage of people than it is in the working population or in the elderly population,” said Ķīvīte-Urtāne.

Infectologist Dumpis noted that although the study samples were collected at the beginning of the year, it is also very important at the moment in planning a further fight against Covid-19. The results of the study allow vaccination campaigns to be planned in different regions of Latvia. In addition, it is important to know the true number of sick people in order to assess what action is needed to help achieve collective immunity in each region.

Ķīvīte-Urtāne said that the study is planned to be continued.

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