Has Denmark’s Covid-19 infection curve peaked in Copenhagen region ?

After weeks of high infection numbers, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the Greater Copenhagen region appears to have peaked. Infection rates in other parts of Denmark remain high.

Copenhagen on February 5th 2022. The number of Covid-19 infections in the city is currently trending downwards.
Der flages på officielle bygninger i anledning af kronprinsessen Marys 50-års fødselsdag, i København lørdag den 5. februar 2022.. (Foto: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix)

Both the capital and its outlying western municipalities are now seeing falling incidences of the virus, broadcaster DR reports based on health authority data.

Meanwhile, the western part of Denmark is still seeing increasing infection numbers, especially in rural regions, where it is taking longer to reach a level of immunity in the community that will see the virus decline.

National data on Monday shows Copenhagen along with Frederiksberg and bordering municipalities including Ishøj, Herlev, Brøndby, Albertslund and Rødovre near the bottom of the list for current incidence rates per 100,000 residents, with declining trends.

That is a notable change given those areas have often figured among those with the highest infection numbers during several stages of the pandemic.

“It is most clear in the municipalities in which it has been hardest to control the epidemic,” Henrik Ullum, director of the national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute, told DR.

The virus is now struggling to spread in those areas due to high immunity in the community, because so many residents have been infected already along with vaccinations, Ullum said.

“There is a sign that the immunity now present in the population is beginning to work,” Ullum said.

“That has been built up through vaccines and then a layer from infections,” he said.

Meanwhile, municipalities in Jutland – notably Ikast-Brande, Silkeborg, Skanderborg and Herning among others – have the highest incidences per 100,000 residents in Denmark and are still seeing increasing rates.

“That is because West Denmark has had less transmission, especially in rural areas. So it is taking longer to get a bigger immunity in the community,” Ullum said to DR.

But infection rates will eventually also fall in these areas in the same way they are currently doing in Copenhagen, according to the SSI director.

“In West Denmark (the infections curve) will probably peak first in the big cities and amongst young people. It will peak in rural areas last,” he said.

Ullum also noted that, despite high previous infections contributing to falling transmission rates in parts of the country, he would not describe the situation as “herd immunity”.

“I would not use that word because that is a very, very high immunity where you have very high protection, including of vulnerable people. We’re not there yet,” he said.

The national number of daily infections with Covid-19 remains high, although the figures recorded during the weekend were lower than those earlier in February, when over 50,000 cases have been registered on some days. Sunday saw 36,512 new cases of the virus in Denmark.

READ ALSO: Denmark to close Covid-19 rapid test centres by March

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Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

The number of Covid-19 infections in Denmark is still declining, as has been the trend for some weeks.

Covid-19: Virus remains on downward trend in Denmark in latest report

In addition to confirmed cases, the number of PCR tests administered to check for the virus is also falling. Authorities recently announced that PCR testing capacity would be halved, before a strategy for testing next winter is announced later this year.

The continued falloff in cases was one of the trends noted in a new report from the infectious disease agency, State Serum Institute (SSI). The report is based on data from the most recent week.

During the period covered by the report, the number of new cases of Covid-19 fell by 18 percent, meaning 82 in 100,000 residents of Denmark tested positive for Covid-19.

The number of PCR tests fell by 14 percent during the same period, with around 7,000 tests administered each day.

“Transmission in the community is falling in general and across all age groups,” SSI medical head of department Rebecca Legarth told news wire Ritzau.

The decline in number of new recorded cases may be linked to the reduction in recorded number of hospital patients with a positive Covid test.

Last week saw the number of hospitalised people with Covid-19 fall by 23 percent. Not all people in hospital who have the virus are being treated for it, with their hospitalisation being for other reasons in many cases.

Denmark ended its Covid-19 restrictions in February and March, while health authorities also changed recommendations on when a PCR test should be taken.

In March, the Danish Health Authority changed its recommendations on when people with suspected Covid-19 should be tested for the coronavirus, with testing now only recommended if there is a “special medical reason” for doing so.