Coronavirus: Finns met 75% fewer people than normal during April

Researchers say this period of relative isolation has helped reduce the infection rates of coronavirus in Finland.

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File picture of Aleksanterinkatu, Helsinki, showing pedestrians and trams / Credit: iStock

There’s no doubt that coronavirus, and the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of infections around the country, have had a profound impact on the way we live our lives day to day.

One new figure shows just how much things changed during April, when Finns met on average 75% fewer people than normal.

According the results of research carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the average adult had only 2.5 interpersonal encounters per day during the week of 21st to 25th April.

Compared to a 2005 study which used similar methodology, Finns are meeting far fewer people during the time of coronavirus restrictions – and people who live in Uusimaa had 15% fewer meetings than the rest of the country.

The number of interpersonal contacts decreased the most among people aged 70-79 who saw their meetings with other people drop by as much as 85%.

But researchers say that this period of isolation has helped stall the spread of the virus.

“The infectivity rate of the coronavirus in Finland has been less than one in April. The decrease in contacts observed in the study explains well this observation of the slowdown of the epidemic” says Professor Kari Auranen from the University of Turku who conducted the study for THL.

Researchers contacted 1,175 people aged 18-79 all across the country for their questionnaire, and also obtained the data for 165 children living in the same households as respondents.

Each person was asked about their interpersonal contacts – whether there was a physical skin-to-skin contact like hugs or kisses, or if they were just in close proximity to someone else.