Alarming Number of New COVID-19 Cases in Iceland

Vala Hafstað

For the second day in a row, the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iceland has risen rapidly. It appears that 19 new domestic cases were confirmed yesterday. The numbers are updated daily on covid.is at 11 am, but Thor Aspelund, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Iceland, first revealed this information in an interview on RÚV Rás 2 radio station this morning. The number, though, has not been confirmed, he added.

Even so, the number must be very close, he tells mbl.is. He finds the trend surprising. “There is something going on,” he adds.

[UPDATE AT 11:02: The number has been confirmed. There were 19 new domestic cases confirmed in Iceland yesterday.]

This is the largest number of new confirmed cases since April 9, when they were 27.

Thor is one of the people behind a statistical model, created by several professors and scientists at the University of Iceland, showing a likely course of the pandemic in Iceland.

As recently as a week ago, when the model was updated, it predicted between one and four new cases a day for the coming weeks, with the possibility of eight at the most in one day.

Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics, finds the number of new confirmed cases alarming. He told mbl.is yesterday that Icelanders must be prepared for another wave of the pandemic in a week or two. Of the 13 new domestic cases confirmed the day before yesterday, only one of the people diagnosed was in quarantine.

“This is alarming,” Kári stated. “These people are throughout society, and I find it likely that so are the infections. I think we should prepare for the possibility of the arrival of a new wave in a week or two,” he warned.

Among the people who in recent days have tested positive for the virus is a student at Reykjavík University who works at deCode Genetics. As a result, deCode employees were screened for the virus, and the company is offering free screening at Reykjavík University. It was already offering the same to students at the University of Iceland, where several cases have been confirmed. 

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