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Wednesday’s papers: Covid-19 immunity, dental decay and summer job rethink

Some soon-to-be graduates in Finland are left scrambling after coronavirus upends summer internships.

Nainen poimii mansikoita Rossi Tarhojen itsepoimintatilalla
The coronavirus outbreak is drawing workers to Finnish fruit farms. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Helsingin Sanomat’s most-read story on Wednesday morning suggests that some people develop mild forms of Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, because their immune systems have already fought some strain of coronavirus in the past.

Seasonal flu viruses, common during autumn and winter in Finland, are distant cousins of novel coronavirus, reports HS.

"At least some people have existing immunity that stems from seasonal coronavirus infections. Cross protection from other viruses can also be present," Seppo Meri, immunology professor at Helsinki University, told HS.

HS quotes an early study supporting the idea of viral cross protection, which suggests the measles-rubella vaccine potentially confers some acquired protection over Covid-19.

How long can a cavity wait?

With public dentists mainly seeing emergencies during the coronavirus pandemic, the Finnish Dental Association told Iltalehti it’s worried about the state of the country's teeth. This concern is based on its survey of dentists working in both the public and private sector.

Some dentists said Finland was too quick to wind down non-essential dental care while others said they worried about very long queues forming. Waiting times in some areas for public dentists were three to six months already before the epidemic hit.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health told municipalities they could gradually open up appointments beyond those classified as emergencies to prevent oral diseases from escalating.

Corner office to strawberry fields

Business magazine Talouselämä reports that business students say coronavirus has quashed their summer job plans, citing a study by student and alumni association Finnish Business School Graduates. The group reported that last summer 93 percent of business students found employment. Today, some 60 percent have had to change plans due to the pandemic upending their job prospects.

"Many recruitment drives have been cancelled. I ended up looking for a job on a strawberry farm, where I can work for four months," one business student said.

The coronavirus outbreak has been a significant setback to Finnish farmers dependent on labourers during the crop harvesting season. Many say they are unable to find enough skilled, willing workers on the domestic market, and prefer to use workers who are already trained and experienced.

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