The Norwegian Institute of Health published the report “The epidemic of KOVID-19: science, situation, forecast, risk, and response in Norway …”, which made a paradoxical conclusion: at the time of the introduction of emergency measures (lockdown) in Norway 12 This March, the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was close to declining. The most important, but largely conditional indicator of infectiousness – R0, or replication index – at that time in the country was slightly higher than unity.
Simply put, one Norwegian could in theory infect at that time only 1.1 compatriots. If R0 is less than unity, then the epidemic is on the decline, and it was not worth introducing severe restrictions in everyday life and the economy.
However, no one blames the government for the overreaction: microbiologists admit that they themselves did not have complete data on the number of infected and sick people. Director of the Institute of Health, epidemiologist Camilla Stoltenberg (NATO Secretary General Torvald is her younger brother) believes that the current incidence rates, which confidently allow gradually opening the economy (and make life easier for citizens), could be achieved without a lockdown, limiting themselves to a milder sanitary and epidemiological regime. For example, scientists have previously called for not closing schools and kindergartens.
At the same time, the government did not always listen to the opinion of epidemiologists. The authorities proceeded from more pessimistic mathematical models, also calculated by authoritative scientists. Health Minister Björn Güldvog still believes the government’s measures to curb the coronavirus are right.
So who is right? Or who is to blame? The winners are not judged: the peak incidence was passed on March 28, the number of cases amounted to 15 hundredths of a percent of the population, 236 people died. Very good performance, especially noticeable against the background of neighboring Sweden. But, in the event of a second wave, the Norwegian authorities will already better listen to the recommendations of scientists, hopes Stoltenberg, and they will choose more flexible and not so tough tools to combat the epidemic.