The festive season in Finland has taken a somber turn as the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis. The emergence of the JN.1 variant has led to a surge in death rates and hospitalizations, leaving many feeling depressed. Surprisingly, mainstream media and international wire agencies are not reporting on the unfolding crisis in the country. However, a group of independent researchers has been closely monitoring the situation and providing updates. According to their latest findings, the death rates from COVID-19 in Finland continue to rise.
Despite claims by health authorities that infection rates are decreasing, the official data from Finnish health authorities does not align with the rising hospitalization and death rates. The reported decrease in infection rates raises questions about the credibility of the data provided by health authorities. Additionally, the lack of transparency in disclosing the number of daily tests conducted and the COVID-19 test positivity rates adds to the concerns.
Reliable and comprehensive COVID-19 data is often released much later in Finland, and there are concerns among local experts that the reported numbers of excess deaths due to COVID-19 are underestimated. As the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections continues to rise, clinics and hospitals in several cities are being forced to reduce non-urgent services in order to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
Reports from local COVID-19 news sources indicate that the largest health district in Finland, serving west central Pirkanmaa, has raised its preparedness level to high demand mode due to a significant number of COVID-19 patients. In response to the worsening situation, individuals aged 65 and above, as well as those in high-risk groups, are being recommended to receive both seasonal influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Concerns from locals are being shared on various social media platforms, with reports of overflowing hospitals in multiple regions and complaints about long waiting times and difficulties in accessing treatments and vaccination appointments. The lack of additional manpower and the expiration of additional government financing have made it even more challenging for health districts to manage the COVID-19 crisis effectively.
As the Christmas and New Year holidays approach, the COVID-19 crisis is expected to worsen in Finland. The spread of the JN.1 variant and its various emerging forms are likely to be further fueled by the holiday season. This paints a grim picture for the weeks to come as Finland continues to grapple with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis.