Denmark reaches sad coronavirus milestone as 800 deaths passed

A total of five deaths with Covid-19 were registered in Denmark in the last day, bringing the country’s total loss of life to the virus to 802.

Denmark reaches sad coronavirus milestone as 800 deaths passed
Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The State Serum Institute (SSI), the country’s infectious disease agency, meanwhile registered 1,183 new cases of the virus from 75,856 tests. There are currently 251 inpatients with Covid-19 at Danish hospitals, 4 fewer than in the previous daily update.

Those numbers are in keeping with the level of infections in the country during the last week. The test positivity rate of 1.6 is also similar to that seen in recent days.

That reflects a stable situation with the virus in Denmark currently, according to Viggo Andreasen, professor in mathematical biology and epidemiology at Roskilde University.

“The number of new cases has been slightly increasing, but not in an alarming way,” Andreasen said.

“The figure confirms the impression that the epidemic is more or less stable,” he said.

Infection numbers have been rising in Denmark throughout the autumn and have exceeded numbers reported in the spring, with the caveat that far fewer tests were conducted during the country’s first wave of the pandemic.

SSI has estimated that around 3,000 cases per day would have been registered at the beginning of April if testing had been at 70,000 tests daily at the time.

Based on that estimate, the virus was more widespread in Denmark the spring than it is now.

This also correlates with the number of hospitalised patients, which was over 500 at the peak of the spring wave and currently stands at 251, though that number is twice as high as it was a month ago.

Andreasen said he expects further increases in infection numbers in the upcoming Christmas period.

“We have Christmas ahead of us, when we’re more likely to meet with more people than usual,” he said.

“That will transfer to more infections, unless there’s a political intervention to further tighten restrictions,” he added.

READ ALSO: Denmark to mass test West Jutland residents after cases linked to mink farms

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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.”