Daily new cases are now closing in on the peak numbers of the second wave in Denmark at the end of last year, which resulted in a weeks-long lockdown of the country.
Despite the severe appearance of the spread of infections, a lockdown is unlikely this time around because of Denmark’s high rate of vaccination against the coronavirus.
Requirements for a valid coronapas, Denmark’s Covid-19 health pass, to be shown by guests at restaurants, bars, cafes and at large events will be reinstated from Friday, however.
The daily figures for Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions are published by the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute, SSI.
Wednesday’s figure – alarming on the surface – is a natural result of the growth of the epidemic in Denmark in recent weeks, said Viggo Andreasen, professor in mathematical epidemiology at Roskilde University.
“What we are seeing now is the epidemic continuing to grow at the rate we have seen in recent weeks,” Andreasen told news wire Ritzau.
“And you should expect the number of infection to become twice as big in the course of 2-3 weeks if there’s no intervention,” he added.
The government confirmed on Tuesday the return of coronapas rules, two months after they were fully lifted on September 10th.
But Andreasen said he was not certain that the coronapas alone would slow the epidemic as much as is needed.
“I’m thinking this is a bare minimum. As such, it’s a little exciting to see whether it will be enough to slow the epidemic,” he said.
Because the coronapas does not require vaccinated people to be tested for Covid-19, it is unlikely to prevent vaccinated people from spreading the virus, he noted.
“All in all, my assessment is that the coronapas we have introduced perhaps can take 30 percent of infections (less),” he said.
“That is exactly equivalent to the epidemic no longer growing. So we won’t get it to decline, but we’ll stop the growth,” he said.
The number of people admitted to Danish hospitals with Covid-19 increased by 4 to 319 on Wednesday.
Andreasen said he expected to see the number of hospitalisation exceed 400 before the effects of any intervention can be seen in the numbers.
The health service during earlier phases of the pandemic was forced to cancel operations and reported overstrained staff once the figure reached 400-500.
“This is an attempt to put us on a green curve. If the epidemic draws out then hospitals will be overstrained,” Andreasen said.
“But the intervention needs to work. If we discover in 14 days that it wasn’t good enough, we’ll have to rush to make another intervention,” he said.
A total of 144,344 people were tested for Covid-19 during the last day. The 3,017 new cases thereby give a test positivity rate of 2.08 percent. That is broadly in line with the level seen in recent days.