Faculty Publications

The Second Year Of Pandemic In The Arctic: Examining Spatiotemporal Dynamics Of The Covid-19 “Delta Wave” In Arctic Regions In 2021

Document Type



arctic, COVID-19, delta, indigenous knowledge, pandemic, resilience, variant, vulnerability, waves

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International Journal of Circumpolar Health






The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Arctic was dominated by the Delta wave that primarily lasted between July and December 2021 with varied epidemiological outcomes. An analysis of the Arctic’s subnational COVID-19 data revealed a massive increase in cases and deaths across all its jurisdictions but at varying time periods. However, the case fatality ratio (CFR) in most Arctic regions did not rise dramatically and was below national levels (except in Northern Russia). Based on the spatiotemporal patterns of the Delta outbreak, we identified four types of pandemic waves across Arctic regions: Tsunami (Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Northern Norway, Northern Finland, and Northern Canada), Superstorm (Alaska), Tidal wave (Northern Russia), and Protracted Wave (Northern Sweden). These regionally varied COVID-19 epidemiological dynamics are likely attributable to the inconsistency in implementing public health prevention measures, geographical isolation, and varying vaccination rates. A lesson remote and Indigenous communities can learn from the Arctic is that the three-prong (delay-prepare-respond) approach could be a tool in curtailing the impact of COVID-19 or future pandemics. This article is motivated by previous research that examined the first and second waves of the pandemic in the Arctic. Data are available at https://arctic.uni.edu/arctic-covid-19.


Department of Geography


Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version