Covid-19 infection rate in Copenhagen concerns expert

A total of 964 new infections with Covid-19 were registered in Denmark in the latest daily count on Sunday.

Covid-19 infection rate in Copenhagen concerns expert
A reopened gym in Copenhagen earlier this month. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The figure reflects the daily number of new infections seen generally during May, with the total hovering close to 1,000 in recent days.

Sunday’s total was gleaned from 173,269 PCR tests for the coronavirus. That gives a test positivity rate of 0.56. The figure has crept over 0.5 this month having ranged between 0.3-0.5 since a partial lockdown was in place in February.

However, comparing test positivity in different months is not necessarily helpful, given the circumstances related to testing – corona passport rules were not in effect in February, for example – are not necessarily the same. The number of tests conducted on a daily basis can also vary over longer periods.

An expert from the University of Southern Denmark called current infection figures in Denmark “stable” but expressed concern over trends in Copenhagen.

“The thing that could concern me a bit is the development in Copenhagen. We’ve seen an abruptly increasing trend there over the last several days,” professor of clinical microbiology Hans Jørn Kolmos told news wire Ritzau.

A total of 1,504 infections were recorded in the capital in the seven days preceding Sunday, giving the city one of the country’s highest incidence rates.

Kolmos noted a higher population density, younger population and lower vaccination coverage in Copenhagen as relative factors.

Official data currently shows the Capital (Hovedstaden) health authority as having the lowest vaccination coverage of Denmark’s five healthcare regions.

The region, which includes Copenhagen, northeastern Zealand and the island of Bornholm, has given 26.9 percent of its residents a first vaccine dose and fully vaccinated 17.5 percent, at the time of writing.

That compares to 30.7 percent and 19.4 percent respectively in Zealand, the most-vaccinated region.

Kolmos said that infections in Copenhagen are “nearing something that is reminiscent of lockdown (levels)”.

READ ALSO: Denmark eases travel restrictions: EU tourists can now visit country

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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.”