Denmark’s Covid-19 infections in slight fall-off but infectious variant spreads

Denmark’s Covid-19 infections in slight fall-off but infectious variant spreads
A deserted central Copenhagen on Tuesday. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark on Tuesday registered 1,076 new cases of Covid-19 in Denmark, the lowest total since November, but the country’s situation with the virus remains precarious.

The positive cases were found amongst 57,956 tests, giving a test positivity rate of 1.86 percent.

That means the percentage of positive tests remains at a similar level to that seen in recent days.

But the somewhat encouraging numbers are still not at a satisfactory level given the spread of the more infectious B117 variant of the virus throughout Denmark, according to an expert. The B117 virus was first reported in southeastern England in December. It is estimated to be 50-74 percent more infectious than previous variants.

“If (B117) is to be prevented from spreading uncontrollably, we need social distance to such an extent that the number of new positive tests falls by 30-40 percent each week,” Viggo Andreasen, a mathematical epidemiologist at Roskilde University, told news wire Ritzau.

According to Andreasen, the B117 variant is not currently a major factor in hosplitalisations and deaths with Covid-19 in Denmark but its prevalence amongst infections is currently doubling by the week.

917 people were admitted to Danish hospitals with the virus as of Tuesday, a decrease by 3 people compared to Monday.

1,623 people in total have died with Covid-19 in Denmark since the outset of the pandemic.

“In the course of a few weeks – (national infectious disease agency) SSI believes it will be four to five weeks – B117 will become the most common,” Andreasen said.

“We will then see a period in which infection numbers double in a week, unless strong measures are taken to reduce infections,” the mathematical epidemiologist said.

Current lockdown rules are scheduled to expire on January 17th, but are expected to be extended.

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