Did Easter impact compliance with Covid-19 guidelines in Denmark?

Did Easter impact compliance with Covid-19 guidelines in Denmark?
File photo: Keld Navntoft/Ritzau Scanpix
There is no indication that people in Denmark drastically increased participation in events and social gatherings during Easter, according to a study.

The conclusion comes from the latest report by the HOPE project at Aarhus University’s Department of Political Science, which has been examining the Danish population’s behaviours and attitudes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Researchers working under the project use data to analyse trends in real time and publish their findings to the general public as well as the Danish parliament and government, according to its website.

“Overall, we can see that the total number of contacts has increased a little bit over Easter, but no substantial jump has occurred,” professor of political science and HOPE project leader Michael Bang Petersen told broadcaster DR.

“It is instead basically just an extension of what occurred in preceding weeks, where we see a few more (contacts) each week,” he added.

Petersen also noted a reshuffling of contacts: for example, people did not see as many work colleagues or friends over Easter but spent more time with families.

On average, people are seeing just over five people outside their household in contexts in which they are close enough to risk infecting each other, according to the latest HOPE analysis as reported by DR.

That number has been rising throughout 2021, but it is still under half the level of last summer and parts of the autumn, when restrictions were less tight than those in place currently.

Related factors include current control over the epidemic and that society has begun to reopen, which many people take as an invitation to be a little more social, Petersen explained to DR.

“We know from the HOPE project that people are highly motivated to get tested when they are going to be together with family members. We and the authorities can see that there are many, many people who have been tested. That will help us come out of Easter fine,” he said.

The Easter period saw a record set for the number of tests taken according to national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute.

Health minister Magnus Heunicke wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the current reproduction rate or R-number for Covid-19 is 1.0, indicating that the epidemic is currently stable in Denmark.

“If there has been increased activity in connection with the Easter holidays, however, this is not yet included in the calculation,” wrote Heunicke. “But it is still a good starting point for today’s reopening.”

READ ALSO: What reopens in Denmark on April 6th and what remains closed?


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