The second year of the coronavirus pandemic was characterized by variants and vaccinations. Infection rates skyrocketed towards the end of the year

The first cases of the alpha variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious than the virus in the wild, were noted at the end of 2020. A few weeks later, the number of coronavirus patients at HUS hospitals began to increase, peaking around Easter. The delta variant arrived in Finland in March, but its impact did not begin to show in hospitalizations until late summer, and the resulting growth in patient numbers continued through the autumn.

The first infection caused by the omicron variant of the coronavirus in Finland was found in early December. This variant differs from its predecessors in that it is highly contagious. Within only a few weeks, infection rates skyrocketed. Because testing capacity was exceeded, it was no longer possible to test all patients presenting with symptoms, and thus the actual number of infections must have been substantially higher than the statistics show. 

The number of patients in inpatient care also increased towards the end of the year, but at a lower proportion to the number of infections than with the previous variants. Although coronavirus vaccines have been unable to prevent infections caused by the omicron variant, they have reduced the incidence of serious forms of the disease. 

Finland’s first outpatient clinic for patients with long Covid symptoms

In early June, we opened an outpatient clinic for patients with long Covid symptoms, not only for caring for patients but also for engaging in medical research in an international network of university hospitals.

The outpatient clinic got off to a smooth start during the summer. Patients are referred to the clinic by a physician if they have been diagnosed with a Covid-19 infection and have had at least three months of long-term symptoms. 

This section is an extensive account of our operations during the second year of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic is also addressed in many other articles in our Annual Report: