At the time when the state of emergency came into force in Latvia in March 2020, there had been only 18 confirmed cases of the disease and the first death was still two weeks away.
By summer, the cumulative morbidity rate remained one of the lowest in Europe, which prompted one of the most ill-judged promotional campaigns ever devised with Latvia bragging that it was "ahead of the curve".
Such hubris was to prove short-lived. By September 2020, the incidence of the disease was increasing rapidly, and in November a second state of emergency was declared and new restrictions were introduced.
But the worst time of the Covid-19 pandemic was the late fall and winter of 2021, when Latvia had some of the highest rates of infection in the world. The situation was dire in hospitals, and in Noveber 2021 there were as many as 1,403 patients with moderately serious symptoms of the disease and 260 with severe symptoms of the disease being treated at the same time. On November 17, the deaths of 79 people were linked to the coronavirus – the highest daily death toll recorded during the pandemic in Latvia.
By February 2022, deaths were declining but the omicron variant was circulating, and a daily infection record was set on February 19 of almost 12,000 confirmed cases, while a record number of sick people – 135,264 people on February 22 – were being treated at home.
Over the last year, coverage of Covid-19 cases has tended to be overshadowed by reporting of Russia's war in Ukraine. However, even now, people suffering from Covid-19 die every week, though overcrowding in hospitals is no longer a problem. Last week there were 45 hospitalized patients with Covid-19 infection and 180 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by laboratories.
Covid-19 has affected practically everyone in one way or another, but most particularly people who have lost their loved ones. In total, 6,632 people died from Covid-19 in Latvia until the end of February 2023, according to the data on the causes of death of the population in the Health Statistics database.
The figure reported by the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) for March 8 is slightly smaller at 6,276, but this is due to some differences in the methodologies used. Either way, well over 6,000 lives have been lost to the coronavirus so far.
In the first year of the pandemic, Covid-19 claimed the lives of 635 people, in 2021 the number of victims of the coronavirus was the highest - 3,935, while last year 1,595 patients died from Covid. This year, according to SPKC operational statistics, the number of victims of Covid-19 has reached 111.