As of September 30, Lithuania had the highest 14-day Covid-19 rate per 100,000 in Europe. Why is Lithuania again being swept over the Covid-19 pandemic, even though over 70 percent of the population have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine?
In September 2020, the highest registered number of new daily Covid-19 cases was 138. The seven-day average then stayed around 80. This year, the numbers were 1,962 and 1,000, respectively.
The mortality rate has also reached new heights, even though over 62 percent of the Lithuanian population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose. In September 2020, the seven-day average mortality rate was close to zero, compared to 17 this year.
Saulius Čeplinskas, former head of the state Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS (ULAC), named three reasons for this year’s worsening epidemiological situation.
According to him, people used to follow protection measures but got tired of them eventually. Some also trusted vaccine protection too much.
“Many people thought that if they got vaccinated, they did not need to follow security measures anymore,” Čeplinskas told LRT.lt.
Finally, new virus mutations have led to a bigger wave of Covid-19 infections. The Delta variant spreads more rapidly, causing “a different pandemic.”
“Before, we needed to vaccinate 70 percent of the population to achieve universal immunity. With delta, this number is 90 percent,” Čeplinskas said.
According to the expert, another quarantine would postpone the pandemic instead of helping to resolve it. The virus could stop spreading only when enough people understood their responsibility to get vaccinated, he added.