Why there may be cause for optimism despite Denmark’s rising coronavirus cases

A total of 476 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in Denmark on Tuesday.

Why there may be cause for optimism despite Denmark’s rising coronavirus cases
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

That continues the trend of high infection numbers seen daily since last week, with over 400 new infections in each of the last seven days.

Denmark registered 3,486 new infections between September 1st and September 15th, bringing its weekly average at the time to 30.02 infections per 100,000 citizens

Recent days have regularly seen well in excess of over 400 cases, with the highest figure so far being 589 on Sunday September 19th. The highest daily total recorded during the spring was 408 on April 8th.

It is important to note that testing is far more widespread now than during the original wave in the spring.

However, Danish hospitalisations with Covid-19 are also increasing. Tuesday saw that figure rise by 4 to 79. At the beginning of the month, on September 2nd, that number stood at 15. By the end of last week, on September 18th, it had climbed to 58 and has therefore increased by a further 21 over the subsequent 4 days.

The daily totals come from infectious disease agency State Serum Institute, which also reports that there are currently 14 people in ICU care in Denmark with Covid-19. Five are receiving ventilator treatment.

To counter the surge in cases, bars and discos across Denmark are now required to close at 10pm, while several other restrictions and recommendations have been brought into effect.

READ ALSO: Early closing times nationwide: These are Denmark's new Covid-19 measures

Despite the apparently grim reading for which these figures make, there may be some fragile signs of improvement.

The virus is currently spreading in Denmark less quickly than earlier in September, according to health minister Magnus Heunicke.

In a social media post, Heunicke wrote that Denmark’s reproduction rate for Covid-19 has fallen from 1.5 to 1.3.

This means that each infected person on average currently infects on average 1.3 others over the course of their illness. 

If the reproduction rate is above one, that means the number of infected in a society will grow. If it is slightly below, the number will decline. 

“Infections are still increasing, but at a lower rate,” Heunicke tweeted.

“We must get under 1 for the curve to be broken. We have set in motion a series of measures to bring infections down. Together, we’ll break the curve,” he added.

“These are small movements – fortunately movements in the right direction – but it is far too early to conclude anything,” he said in further comments to newswire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Danes praised for hygiene but not good at limiting contacts during coronavirus crisis




Member comments

  1. Hi,I enjoy reading your newspaper and became a member recently however i don´t see much news on Danish politics. May i request you to please add that.
    thank you

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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.”