Last results of coronavirus study promise a brighter outlook for summer

The results of the last, recently ended stage of the coronavirus prevalence survey led by the University of Tartu show that the percentage of infectious adults in the population has decreased to 0.05%, while the proportion of adults with antibodies has grown to nearly 70%.

In the course of the coronavirus prevalence survey from 13 to 21 June, researchers tested 2,244 random-sampled adults, 10 of whom gave a positive test.  Nine had already recovered from the virus and one was still contagious. This means that at the moment, the estimated number of infectious adults in Estonia is 500 or, on average, one person in two thousand. 

To detect coronavirus antibodies, 2,277 people gave a blood test and 1,854 of them, or 67.7%, had antibodies. Therefore, the estimated number of adults with coronavirus antibodies in Estonia is 726,000. Most of them have achieved protection through vaccination.

Vaccine protects more effectively than the disease

According to the principal investigator of the survey, the University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, the proportion of people with antibodies has grown particularly rapidly among middle-aged and young people. In the age group 18–39, it has increased by a half in the last month. According to Kalda, the current spread of the coronavirus is comparable to that at the beginning of last summer. 

“Vaccination has a huge role in order for our lives to return to normal. The results of our survey show that two thirds of people with antibodies have obtained Covid-19 protection through vaccination,” Kalda explained. Professor Kalda underlines that vaccination is definitely recommended for people who have survived Covid-19. “We do not have good evidence yet on how long immunity gained from infection will last. Therefore, for a more solid protection, it is necessary to have a vaccine six months after recovery,” Kalda said.

The behavioural analysis of the prevalence study confirms that along with the easing of restrictions and increase in vaccinations, people’s bechaviour has become more relaxed. At the same time, close contacts with potential infected people have decreased by a half compared to the last month. “This gives us confidence that the virus wave is receding and we can have a more relaxed summer,” said Kalda.

The recently ended stage of survey was the last one in the study on the prevalence of the coronavirus- in Estonia. Further need for surveys will depend on changes in the spread of the virus. “We hope to achieve such a level of vaccination over the summer that in the autumn, the coronavirus will no longer paralyse our everyday life. On behalf of the research team, I would like to thank everyone who has participated in the survey over the last year. Thanks to you we have been able to estimate the changes in the prevalence of the virus among the population and thereby support decision-makers in solving the complicated situation,” Kalda said.

The monitoring study on the prevalence of coronavirus was conducted by a broad-based research team of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab Estonia, Medicum and Kantar Emor.

For more information about the study, see the University of Tartu web page.

Further information: Ruth Kalda, Head of Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, Professor of Family Medicine, University of Tartu, +372 5698 5599,