Covid-19: How many infections are expected in Denmark in late autumn?

An increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections is expected in Denmark over the coming weeks. Experts have given a range of expected daily infections, but say the impact could be ‘at the low end’ of the scale.

People queue for Covid-19 testing in Copenhagen in April this year. An increase in daily infections is projected towards the end of autumn.
People queue for Covid-19 testing in Copenhagen in April this year. An increase in daily infections is projected towards the end of autumn. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Recent weeks have seen an increasing trend of daily new infections recorded by the national infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute (SSI).

While last week saw daily registrations hover at around 700, the figure on Wednesday was 1,127 and on Thursday 1,247. 

The trend is unsurprising given an estimate provided by an expert group working under SSI. The group on Thursday released the estimate based on a new mathematical model of a possible new wave of the virus as colder weather tightens its grip.

According to the expert group’s estimate, the daily infection number will be between 600 and 3,200 by the middle of November, with 25-110 new hospital admissions daily. This does not mean the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 will increase by this amount daily, because the figure does not take into account discharges from hospital.

Thursday saw 34 new hospital admissions with the coronavirus, according to SSI figures.

“The models show how it will go in a scenario where activity in society and vaccination rates both correspond to the level we have now,” Doctor Camilla Holten Møller, who leads the expert group, told news wire Ritzau.

“Based on this, we still calculate an increase in the daily infection number and new hospitalisations during the next six weeks,” Møller said.

A degree of uncertainty should be tagged to the estimates because public behaviour can change, the group notes. Denmark lifted all public coronavirus restrictions in September. The country’s vaccination rate is 75 percent of eligible persons, according to latest data.

SSI also said that both infection numbers and hospitalisations are more likely to fall into the lower range of the estimate.

“We produce a forecast that shows how the trend will be if everything else is unchanged. That’s why we get these large ranges the further away in time we go,” Robert Skov, senior medical consultant with SSI’s infection prevention unit, told broadcaster DR.

“The expectation is that we won’t get right up there and hit 150 new hospitalisations per day by the end of the period,” Skov also said.

The majority of new cases are expected to occur amongst younger and unvaccinated people.

However, the modelling also predicts a “significant number” of infections in vaccinated people aged 12-59.

The calculations do not take into effect the impact of booster jabs, also known as revaccination. Health authorities recently announced that revaccination will be offered six and half months after original vaccination. This will primarily affect people aged over 65 initially.

Care home residents and vulnerable groups are among those who have already been offered – and given — a booster jab. Around 3.3 percent of the Danish population has so far received a booster.

READ ALSO: Denmark to give booster Covid-19 jab six months after vaccination

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Denmark’s Covid-19 hospitalisation figure ‘could reach 750’ in December

The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Denmark could increase to 750 this month, according to a projection from an official expert group.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and senior health officials visit a vaccination centre at Copenhagen Central Station on December 3rd. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The expert group for mathematical modelling, which is attached to the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI), released the estimate on Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, 449 patients with Covid-19 are admitted to hospitals in Denmark. The figure has been increasing in recent weeks but is still some way short of the peak hospitalisation figures from the winter 2020 wave, which exceeded 900.

“There are not catastrophic conditions yet but we have a combination of a tangible lack of nurses combined with this strain (of high patient numbers). It is clearly putting pressure on hospitals,” Kasper Karmark Iversen, senior medical consultant and professor at the University of Copenhagen and Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, told news wire Ritzau earlier this week.

The mathematical expert group calculates possible scenarios in which coronavirus restrictions could be phased out.

“The projections show a continued increase in the number of hospitalisations,” said the head of the group, Camilla Holten Møller.

“New hospitalisations of 70-200 per day and 550-750 in hospital (in total) are estimated up to the middle of December,” Møller said.

The figure for new hospitalisations does not account for discharged patients and therefore does not reflect the overall change in the total number of patients in hospital with Covid-19.

The expert group also predicts between 3,400 and 8,300 new cases of the virus daily by the middle of December. The group notes that its projections do not take into account the vaccination drive launched by the government this week. They also only partly account for anti-infection measures already in place, such as Covid-19 health pass (coronapas) requirements and face mask rules.

A total of 4,559 new Covid-19 cases were reported in SSI’s daily update on Friday. The total comes from 196,932 PCR tests, giving a positivity rate of 2.32 percent.

Daily cases have now been over 4,000 for six consecutive days. Friday’s positivity rate is a little lower than the typical rate seen this week, which is closer to 2.50.