Covid still takes a life a week in Latvia

The days Covid-19 took over daily news are gone. Though Covid has subsided, it hasn't disappeared altogether. A life is still taken every week by the virus, Latvian Television reported on August 22.

For the Lung Diseases Division of the Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital, the moment where Covid was no longer in the spotlight came only in the middle of the summer this year.

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, only in the middle of this summer came the day when there were no Covid-19-infected patients. I really had a sense of celebration, it could be said,” said Dace Žentiņa, head of the Center for Lung Disease and Toracal Surgery.

Right now, there is the least risk of being infected with Covid since the beginning of the pandemic.  However, in the autumn, when influenza and other viruses return annually, the number of cases of Covid is likely to increase.

Unlike influenza, which has not been detected in the summer, Covid is detected in the wastewaters at very low concentrations, showing a small number of infections. But data from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC) shows that Covid patients also enter hospitals. On a weekly basis, an average of 14 Covid patients are treated in hospitals with it as the primary diagnosis. For one or two, the symptoms of the disease are very severe.

“Still, unfortunately, we also see deaths in Covid-19 patients, but this is also the lowest indicator we had seen throughout the pandemic. On average, one person unfortunately still dies per a week of this disease,” said Jurijs Perevoščikovs, director of the SPKC Infectious Diseases Risk Analysis Department.

Testing is only done in hospitals – around 200 tests per week, of which 15% come back positive.  In Latvia and also in the world, the dominant is still the type Omicron, which does not pose a health hazard for most of the population.

“In Latvia we see about three-four types, the dominant XBB15, and this is also up to 50% overall in the European Union, but recently talks about an increase in the so-called Eris variant,” added the SPKC specialist.

“We're certainly not protected from new waves. There are no indications that these new waves could be as destructive and as devastating as they were, but we do not know how they will actually be, especially when the children come back to school,” said Žentiņa.

For risk groups, Covid can still prove hazardous, so the SPKC noted that during the autumn season, especially risk groups should be vaccinated in order to avoid serious illness.

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