From Iceland — COVID-19 In Iceland: Positive Trends Continue, Gender Imbalance Revealed

COVID-19 In Iceland: Positive Trends Continue, Gender Imbalance Revealed

Published April 27, 2020

Poppy Askham
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No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Iceland yesterday, April 26th. This is the second day since February that no infections have been detected since February. The number of patients in intensive care has dropped to just one and no one is on a ventilator for the first time in five weeks. There are currently 158 active infections in Iceland, 11 of which have resulted in hospitalisation.

The latest data is in line with the University of Iceland’s prediction model that suggested that Iceland would reach the milestone of a day without new infections by the end of this month.

Hospitalisation Gender Imbalance
Almost twice as many male COVID-19 patients have required intensive care in Icelandic hospitals as female, RÚV reports. There have been 26 patients in intensive care so far, 17 of whom have been male. The gender imbalance is less severe in general hospitalisation figures – when gendered data was last released, 56 men and 45 women had been hospitalised. However, men do not appear to be more likely to contract the virus. Around 890 men in comparison to 900 women have tested positive for COVID-19, but it is also worth noting that a greater number of women have come forward to be screened.

Hospital data suggests that men are more likely to experience the most severe effects of the virus, but the reason for this trend is yet to be understood. The Chief Epidemiologist, Þór­ólfur Guðna­son, explained at a press conference over the weekend that similar gender imbalances have been observed in outbreaks of many other infectious diseases.

Whilst men may suffer more from the physical impact of the virus, the UN suggests that women are hit harder by the social and economic effects of the pandemic. Read more here.

Future Of 2-Metre Distancing Rules Discussed
The Chief of Police, Víðir Reynisson, has stated that public health authorities aim to remove two-metre distancing rules by late May or early June, Vísir reports. Instead of strict legislation he is hoping that Icelanders will abide by a ‘social covenant’ when it comes to following health advice such as frequently washing hands and minimising contact with others.

Dagur B. Eggertsson, the mayor of Reykjavík has suggested that parts of the city may be pedestrianised to allow people to keep two-metres apart. The proposal comes in response to complaints on Twitter about busy streets in downtown Reykjavík over the weekend. Dagur plans to take the matter up with the Víðir Reynisson and Þór­ólfur Guðna­son later this week.

Icelandair Redundancies
As reported, mass dismissals are expected at Icelandair this week. The chairman of the Association of Icelandic Commercial Pilots, Jón Þór Þorvaldsson stated in a RÚV interview that he believes that it is likely that around 90% of the airline’s workforce will be laid off before the end of April. The firm has already issued 240 redundancies and 92% of the remaining staff have suffered a wage cut.

COVID-19 Sampling Over Winter
Víðir Reynisson, the chief of police, has stated that COVID-19 screening will need to continue over the winter in order to avoid a second wave of infections, Vísir reports. All Icelanders showing flu-like symptoms should be tested for the virus according to Víðir, who fears a that a second outbreak could be even more deadly.

Correction: 26 patients have required intensive care in Iceland according to figures published by RUV.

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