The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control’s (ECDC) corona map also looks vicious for northern Europe. There is a lot of brown on the map and in some parts of Sweden it is also scary dark red. However, in the midst of all the gloom, there is a spot on the map where no coronavirus has been found at all for a whole month.
That area is Järva County, ie Järva County in Estonia. Currently, there is not a single active corona case.
– The last positive coronary diagnosis in our province was made more than a month ago in September and there have been a total of 18 of them, says the Mayor of Paide, Järva Regional Center. Priit Värk.
That is quite an achievement, as the province is home to 30,000 people.
The corona epidemic, which is plaguing the whole world, cannot be seen in the street view of Paide in any way. People do not have face shields and those who feel the need to sneeze and cough do so completely without obstruction without covering their mouths.
During an entire day in Paide, you really can’t see a single person with a face mask on their face.
However, corona tests in Paide can be accessed if desired, but no longer as often as when the epidemic began in the spring.
“I know friends who have taken the test, but I myself have not considered it necessary to go,” says a couple in his twenties working in a café called Tainas Catering in Paide’s central square. Elo Koplik.
Koplik’s job is continuous customer service at close range, but nonetheless, he hasn’t even considered introducing a face mask or plexiglass between himself and clients.
– No-iii… I see no reason for that. I have not felt any symptoms and no clients have complained of fever or flu. I think I’m safe. Paide is a clean town.
Previously, Paide was visited three times a week by Synlab’s corona test bus, which was free of charge with a referral from your own doctor, but now the bus only runs when needed. When Iltalehti popped in Paide, no coron bus was visible. There was only an empty, fenced, reserved parking area with a sign “Keep a mask” attached to its net fence.
Masks are expensive
Paide is a sleepy city of 10,000 inhabitants with no bustle except once a year. Every August, an opinion festival is held in Paide, which raises the city’s national attention for a couple of days.
The twin city of Paide in Finland is Hamina, although the cities have little in common. Externally, Paide is still largely in Soviet patterns, and not a single new apartment building has been built there since the last 30 years of Estonian independence.
It is also quiet in the absolute center of Paide, the central square with most shops and other services on the outskirts. There are not many of them.
There is also no human congestion in the Tamrex store selling face masks, in the immediate vicinity of the square. Tamrex seller Heli Kivirand says that more masks have now been put up for sale, even though their sales are not strange.
– In fact, they have not been sold at all for some time. Sales are intermittent, sometimes they go and then it’s a long time not to go at all, he inches.
– Masks are also available in pharmacies, but I guess they are not sold there any more.
However, no face masks are used in any other city in Estonia and this also applies to Tallinn. The importance of masks has not been emphasized by the Estonian health authorities and their opinions on masks have been partly contradictory.
It can also be about the price of masks, because in Paide they are also much more expensive than in Finland. While in Helsinki you can get a 50-piece mask pack for about 15 euros, and even cheaper, in Paide Tamrex the price of a similar pack is 29 euros.
Kivirand presents a package of three masks, the price of which is 18 euros, but according to him, they are also not suitable for washing and are rather disposable.
−Disposable masks have been distributed free of charge to the elderly who work at the health center, but they have always received only one. According to them, they have not received, says Tamrex at other shopping popped Sirje Järv.
– If some people in Paide wear a mask, they are specifically elderly. Korona doesn’t seem to touch young people in Paide.
Low population density
Paide doesn’t even think about using a mask, she coughs and spits openly there, but still it has done exemplary in crown compression. Why?
Editor-in-Chief of a local newspaper, Järva Teataja Tiit Reinberg thinks he knows the reason.
Järva Teataja is a provincial newspaper published three times a week, with a printed version circulating in three thousand. According to Reinberg, the magazine wipes as well or badly as other similar provincial newspapers in Estonia.
– In Estonia, it must always be taken into account that there are only two cities and regions in this country where the population is growing and they are Tallinn and Tartu. The rest of Estonia is slowly fading. Young people disappear from Paide as well, Reinberg explains.
– 20 years ago, there were 40,000 inhabitants in Järva County and now there are only 30,000 of us. The same trend will continue in the future, unless a miracle happens.
It could be a miracle, for example, that two Estonian milk processing companies are planning to open factories in Paide. They would add a total of hundreds of new jobs.
According to Reinberg, the lack of opportunities for people but also for entertainment has turned in the context of the corona in favor of Paide and the whole province. The population density is low in Estonia as a whole, but it is very low in Järva.
– The area of the city of Paide is larger than that of Tallinn, although Paide has a population of 10,000 and Tallinn more than 400,000. In Paide, people hardly have to deal with each other unless they necessarily want to. This is a sparsely populated area in the strict sense of the word.
According to Reinberg, there is practically no nightlife in Paide, so even the younger group has to stay at home in the evenings, or celebrate somewhere else.
– Previously, Paide had a Bucket Bar, where going was wild, but it is no longer there. The Kreis Trahter is still splashing, but it will also close on Fridays at 9 p.m.
Alcohol in Estonia and Paide should be stopped by midnight at the latest, but according to Reinberg, this rule is easy to circumvent. No one is preventing you from ordering six whiskey pots just before the light sign and continuing to celebrate with their power.
The Mayor of Paide, Priit Värk, believes that shining Järvamaa on the ECDC corona map is largely due to good luck. According to him, the fight against the corona in Paide and the surrounding province is no more vigorous than in other Estonian cities and provinces.
According to Värk, there is no Paide “corona miracle”.
– Unfortunately, I cannot reveal any secret as to why we have done so well with regard to the corona so far, he acknowledges in his study.
According to him, the opposite attitude towards the coronavirus has been perhaps less severe in Paide than in other parts of Estonia.
– In the autumn, we have kept all schools open all the time, although there are restrictions elsewhere in Estonia. In the spring, our schools were closed too, but we don’t think there is a reason for that anymore. About 10 percent of our schools have been out of children at a time, which is normal at this time of year. Of course, we have avoided joint trips and such.
According to Värk, Paide’s age structure is ideal for winning the corona in the sense that the main focus of the population is on older people.
– Of course, the virus is more dangerous when you are older, but at least in Estonia, Korona has recently become more prevalent among young people. Young people meet and sit together in the evening and celebrate, while seniors spend more time in their homes as if in isolation.
According to Värk, Paide, on the other hand, also has those elderly people who loudly protest against the restrictions imposed by the corona. It is not easy for everyone to accept that club activities for the elderly have been reduced or that not all available seats should be allowed in the theater.
Paide is hardly affected by tourism either, even though there are a couple of hotels there, so the virus will not spread there from other parts of Estonia or abroad. It is only a couple of hours drive from Tallinn to Paide, but mentally it is further away.
Staying in their fields
The representative of the Health Agency, which coordinates the fight against the corona in Estonia, is also of the opinion that the very low population density has benefited Järvamaa during the Korona period.
“Coronation cases have also been concentrated in densely populated areas in Estonia,” says Merilin Vernik, a communications expert at the Finnish Health Agency, and mentions Tallinn and the province of Harju County, as well as the city of Sillamäe.
−In the province of Järva, people also stay more in their fields than, for example, in another similar province, Rapla, which is used for work in Tallinn.