Coronavirus in Denmark: infections ‘stabilised’, but face masks the new normal

The weekend saw 112 new cases of coronavirus registered in Denmark on Saturday, followed by 78 cases on Sunday.

Coronavirus in Denmark: infections 'stabilised', but face masks the new normal
Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

Three fewer people were hospitalised on Sunday compared to Saturday, while the number of ICU admissions increased from one to two. One of the two intensive care patients is on a ventilator.

The latest figures come from the State Serum Institute, Denmark’s national infectious disease research agency.

The relatively large swing in cases registered Saturday and Sunday reflects a trend seen throughout last week. A total of 700 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Denmark in the week leading up to Sunday August 23rd.


A variation in numbers from one day to the next is not surprising, said Hans Jørn Kolmos, professor of microbiology at the University of Southern Denmark and consultant doctor at Odense University Hospital.

Infection spread in Denmark has “stabilised” during the last few weeks, Kolmos said.

“Just now we are keeping an eye on the number of new infections each week and right now I note that the numbers have stabilised,” he said.

 “The figures are so small that they are subject to significant variation, so there’s a limit to how much you can set by them. But in general, we are seeing a positive trend – including based on the number of hospitalisations,” he added.

Saturday saw Denmark introduce obligatory wearing of face masks on all public transport in the country.

The face mask requirement will be necessary for the foreseeable future regardless of developments in infection numbers, Kolmos said.

“A lot of face masks will be need for a long time before you will be able to see in any serious way whether they have affected the (infection) numbers,” he said.

“When we see a stabilisation of infections, it might be tempting to ask oneself whether (face masks) are now needed. But we need to be firm here and say that it can change a lot from one day to the next, but that face masks are needed,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark's face mask requirement comes into force: these are the rules you need to know



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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.”