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: 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.