Estonia’s seven-day per capita coronavirus infection rate is the highest in the world among independent countries – with 128 new cases per 100,000 residents.
According to the data, compiled by the New York Times, Anguilla tops Estonia with 146 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, but Anguilla is an autonomous British territory, not an independent country.
Estonia is followed by Latvia (127 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days) and Barbados (120). Lithuania is currently fifth with 105 new cases per 100,000 residents.
According to the New York Times, Estonia’s seven-day per capital infection rate has grown a whopping 56 per cent, compared with the data 14 days ago.
The Estonian Health Board’s coronavirus dataset shows that in the past seven days, 1,705 people have been confirmed infected with COVID-19. This number is slightly higher than the one in the New York Times table – 1,691 – which means the seven-day per capita infection rate could be higher, too.
At the same time, vaccinations against the coronavirus have stalled. The Health Board’s data show that just 57.18% of the Estonian population has completed the vaccination course (meaning they’ve received one Janssen vaccine or two of any of the other available shots), and 66.85% of all adults have completed the course.
Currently, 563 people are hospitalised with COVID-19; a week earlier, this number was 454.
Anti-vaxxers protest vaccines and the government mandates
On 23 October, hundreds of people gathered at Tallinn’s Freedom Square to protest vaccines and the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the virus. The action was supported by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party, known for its acronym EKRE – a populist ultra-right-wing party that was part of the previous governing coalition.
People at the protest wore T-shirts that announced, “Estonian doctors are shit. Unlike the doctors of many other countries, they’re silent about the horrid corona crime and terror!” and “COVID-19 the biggest scam in history & genocide.”
On 28 October, it emerged that anti-vaxxers were spreading calls on the social media for people to attack the hospitals and film what’s going on there. According to Postimees, the Estonian interior minister, Kristian Jaani, confirmed the police were aware of these calls and the hospitals had been warned.
A famous Estonian drummer, Jaak Ahelik, called on social media for people to protest against the mask mandate at grocery stores by piling up goods at the register with the sole purpose to make the cashiers’ life a living hell. “Pile up your cart, preferably tiny things, take them to the register and leave, and do that ten times a day, believe me, you’ll be happy,” he wrote.
Some people took the musician’s advice and the day after, a customer at a grocery store took two cartfuls of goods to the register. The customer put their mask on at the register, but when the cashier was half-way through with scanning the goods, they took their mask off and told “good day” to the cashier, causing extra duties for the low-paid and tired store staff.
Currently, all people older than 12 need to wear a mask in public indoor spaces and people need to keep physical distance from each other. Public indoor spaces include shops, post offices, public transit, theatres and so on.
When engaged in sporting activities, going to school, eating out or attending indoor events, the visitors have to present a COVID certificate that proves they’re either vaccinated or had been diagnosed with the coronavirus and have since been declared cured.
Cover: Nurses taking care of a patient with COVID-19 at the North Estonia Medical Centre in Tallinn. Photo by the North Estonia Medical Centre.