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CONSUMERS

Here’s how Danish spending has fallen since coronavirus hit

Denmark's Danske Bank has released a fascinating snapshot of how consumer spending has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with grocery spending doubling during panic-buying days, and sharp declines in spending on restaurants, hotels, transport, and non-food goods.

Here's how Danish spending has fallen since coronavirus hit
Spending in restaurants is down to a third of where it would be normally. Photo: Danske Bank
Danske Bank bases its figures on data from the transactions of about a million Danske Bank customers on MobilePay, credit and debit cards, so the report is one of the first reports from Europe on how the virus has impacted spending. 
 
Louise Aggerstrøm, private economist at the bank, told The Local that the sharp falls in spending on restaurants, hotels, cinemas, clothing and transportation would have a heavy effect on the economy. 
 
“It's going to be quite massive,” she said. “It might be helped a bit but this rise in grocery spending, but that's not going to keep on going forever.” 
 
The bank plans next week to follow up the article with an assessment of how the drop in consumption might affect GDP. 
 
Aggerstrøm said that if economy starts to open up as early as expected the fall in GDP could be kept in the very low single figures.
 
“For the year I think more it will be more like one percent,” she said. “That's based on the Danish economy opening up again by May, and that's of course a big if. So if I say one percent, it's a best-case scenario.” 
 
Here's a graph of spending in supermarkets — note the big uptick on March 12 and March 17, when the government made major announcements. 
 
Spending has also increased in health and medical care. 
 
 
The fall in spending on restaurants was followed by similar falls in transport, hotels, and non-food goods. 
 

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COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.” 

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