Who counts as part of your ‘social bubble’ in Denmark?

Denmark's infectious diseases agency, the SSI, recommended on Tuesday that people in the country should seek to limit their socialising to a 'social bubble' of between five and ten people. Here's what that actually means.

Who counts as part of your 'social bubble' in Denmark?
People out in Copenhagen on Saturday night. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
Who counts as part of my social bubble? 
Anyone you live with, touch, hug, or sit close too on a daily basis. So that would include your partner and children, if they live with you, other close family if they spend time at your house, and your children's friends, if they come over to your house a lot. 
Once all of those people are counted, you might find have space for only a handful of your own friends. 
Do work colleagues and contacts count? 
Not unless you have an unusually tactile relationship with them, and if you do, probably time to keep a bit more distance than normal. 
Should you formalise your social bubble? 
According to the Anders Fomsgaard, a virus researcher at Denmark's state infectious disease agency, you should agree together with the others in your bubble that you are in a bubble together. You should then all seek to avoid too close contact with others outside the bubble. 
“Everyone has to agree and you can only have one bubble. If there is one in this bubble that gets infected, then the whole bubble must isolate itself,” he told state broadcaster DR in an interview. 
What if I want to go on a date, or go to a wedding? 
According to Fomsgaard, you should warn other people in your bubble, and perhaps even withdraw from the bubble for a period. He suggested holding meetings between members of the bubble to decide on how to act. 
How rigorously do we have to stick to this advice? 
Not very. The 'social bubble' recommendation is just a guideline, and there are no hard and fast rules. The most important thing from the agency's perspective is for as many people in Denmark as possible reduce their socialising until infection rates start to decline. 

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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.”