June 8, 2023


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Deaths fall in Norway after high death toll during corona pandemic – NRK Oslo and Viken – Local news, TV and radio

– We still have a lot of pressure on the sector, says Jørn Einar Rasmussen, president of the Norwegian Association for Emergency and Hospital Medicine.

He is currently an emergency medicine specialist at Drammen Hospital. Last year, he raised the alarm when the flow of patients increased and he needed to be treated in the emergency department. At most, 100 patients had to be treated daily, and Rasmussen worried about capacity.

Even after that the situation did not change much.

– We seem to have reached a new normal now. “We’re seeing more patients than we did before the pandemic, but now we’re getting better at handling it,” says Rasmussen.

He believes emergency departments in many parts of the country are in a similar situation.

Very few die

However, one important thing has changed since then; Very few patients die.

In recent months, the death toll in the country has dropped dramatically.

The graph below shows Norway’s growth in 2022 and up to April this year.

This clearly shows that something happened after the New Year.

Both the corona wave and the flu epidemic quickly subsided after the New Year, and then the total death toll. It is normal for mortality to peak at the beginning of the year. This time the peak became higher and more pointed. It went up quickly and went down quickly, says Preben Avitzland, special director of the Institute of Public Health.

When the corona measures were stopped in February last year, the virus was practically given free rein on the population. This resulted in significantly higher mortality in Norway.

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In 2022 almost the entire population was infected with the coronavirus, mainly in three major waves. This resulted in more than 3,500 corona deaths, most of them elderly. In addition, Avitsland says we had a peak of severe flu around Christmas time.

Till the 18th week of this year, 563 deaths related to Covid-19 have been recorded. In the same period last year, this number was three times higher.

Preben Avitsland, course director at the Institute of Public Health, believes that the death rate in Norway will return to normal within the next two years.

Photo: Per-Kåre Sandbakk / NRK

Waiting for a less serious illness

The danger is not yet over.

New virus variants threaten to cause new waves of infections, but Aavitsland does not believe this means new rounds with high death tolls.

In fact, the entire population has now been infected with the coronavirus at least once. Most adults receive two to four vaccinations. The professional director believes that thus people have a broad protection against serious corona disease.

According to Aavitsland, the upcoming waves will contain second and third time victims.

We expect them to have less severe disease. Yet, just as influenza and pneumonia have done for years, the corona will still cause many deaths among the old and frail. We expect total mortality in Norway to return to normal within a couple of years.

Fewer deaths in Europe

Other countries in Europe are experiencing similar growth. Numbers from EurostatIt collects statistics from all EU and EEA countries, showing a clear reduction in mortality.

In March, excess mortality was recorded at only 0.3 percent. In comparison, the excess mortality was close to 20 percent in December last year.

In total, the three epidemic years claimed 1,735,000 more European lives than normal.

Mortality has now returned to normal in many European countries.

Mortality has now returned to normal in many European countries.

Photo: Eurostat