Denmark releases data for Omicron related Covid-19 deaths

A total of 18 people died in Denmark up to late December after testing positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

People queue for Covid-19 tests in Copenhagen in December 2021. 18 deaths related to the Omicron variant occurred in the country up to December 28th.
People queue for Covid-19 tests in Copenhagen in December 2021. 18 deaths related to the Omicron variant occurred in the country up to December 28th. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The national infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute (SSI) on Tuesday released data for deaths with the variant for the first time.

The 18 deaths occurred between November 21st and December 28th and came from 55,691 registered cases with the variant.

No further details of the individuals – such as their ages or the presence of underlying disease – was given.

In the same period, 100 Covid-19 deaths were registered amongst 127,146 cases with other variants. The Delta variant was dominant in Denmark prior to the emergence of Omicron.

As such, the number of deaths with Omicron is approximately half of that compared to other variants. However, it should be noted that Omicron is a new variant and there is a lag between infection and serious illness leading to death with the coronavirus.

Head of department and senior consultant at SSI, Tyra Grove Krause, said on Monday that the risk of being admitted to hospital with the Omicron Covid-19 variant appears to be around half of that with the Delta variant.

After first emerging in Denmark in late November, the Omicron variant became the dominant form of the virus last month.

In data from December 28th, SSI estimated that around 90 percent of new cases of Covid-19 are caused by Omicron. The agency no longer tests all positive tests to determine the variant but screens a representative proportion.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: Denmark could return to ‘normal life in two months’

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Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

A new subvariant of Covid-19 has been detected in Denmark. Health authorities say they are monitoring the situation.

Covid-19: Danish authorities ’not concerned’ after new subvariant detected

The new variant was first detected in India around three months ago and has now been detected in Denmark for the first time with two confirmed cases, news wire Ritzau reports.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the variant had been found in Denmark in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The variant, BJ.1, is a subvariant of the existing Omicron form of the coronavirus and was first registered in India on July 2nd. It has since been detected in four other countries.

“Two cases of the new Covid-19 subvariant BJ.1 have been found in Denmark,” Heunicke wrote.

“It is completely expected that BJ.1 would appear in Denmark and the State Serum Institute [national infectious disease control agency, ed.] is not currently concerned but is following the situation closely,” he said.

It is currently unclear whether BJ.1, also termed BA.2.10.1, can be expected to cause more serious symptoms than the current dominant form of Omicron.

“BJ.1 has more mutations to the spike protein than subvariants of the dominant BA.5, but the importance of these mutations is not known for certain,” Heunicke wrote.

The most recent infection trends report, issued last week by the State Serum Institute, stated that infection numbers in people aged 60 and over had increased during the preceding week. Infection numbers have been otherwise stable in all age groups in recent weeks.

Denmark currently only recommends a PCR test for Covid-19 for people at risk of serious illness who suspect they have the virus.

Last week’s infection trends report noted that BJ.1 was yet to be detected in Denmark.