From Iceland — Random Sampling Reveals 0.6% Of Icelanders Infected With COVID-19

Random Sampling Reveals 0.6% Of Icelanders Infected With COVID-19

Published April 6, 2020

Poppy Askham
Photo by
Magnús Andersen

Random sampling carried out by deCODE has shown that the COVID-19 incidence in the general population in Iceland is 0.6%, mbl reports. According to deCODE, 13 of the 2,300 people selected at random from the capital area tested positive positive for COVID-19.

Initial screening results in mid-March suggested that 1% of the general population was infected, now it appears 0.6% are. However, the reduction in the percentage of Icelanders infected is likely to say more about the nature of the groups that have been tested, rather than the severity of the outbreak in Iceland. The first results came from voluntary screenings whereas the latest data is the result of random sampling.

This is the first time random sampling has been carried out in Iceland. Kári Stefánsson, deCODE’s CEO, has in the past pointed out that those tested as part of deCODE’s voluntary drive-through screening are not fully representative of the general population. People who book themselves in to be tested are often people who suspect they may have the virus or are showing mild cold symptoms, meaning there is a higher likelihood that they will test positive for the virus. Random sampling provides much more reliable data.

deCODE’s random sampling initiative once again distinguishes Iceland’s COVID-19 response. Few other countries have had the resources to carry out similar research. The results are likely to be the subject of much interest from foreign media and international scientists as Iceland’s trailblazing approach to screening has transformed the country into a case study for those attempting to understand how the virus spreads within a population.

As ever, those looking for more information or advice should go to the Icelandic Government’s excellent COVID-19 help page.

Tune into our daily COVID-Cast for a deeper dive into the day’s developments.

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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