In Denmark, society has been completely reopened for three weeks. But it is still a bit contagious and few hospitalizations, according to Troels Lillebæk in the Statens Serum Institut (SS).
-There are still a large number of new covid-19 daily covid cases, and can just get hospitalizations, he says to VG.
The official date that marked Denmark’s reopening was Friday three weeks ago, when the virus was no longer defined as a socially critical disease.
But even then, almost all measures were gone: the biggest thing that remained was the possibility of requiring coronapass domestically. The nightclubs were allowed to stay open until 05 o’clock from 1 September, and many Danes lived as good as normal.
This means that the Danes have several weeks with data from a more open society, but we have had that in Norway.
This is the overall figures for the number of hospital admissions and deaths in the neighboring country, which is a few weeks ahead of us in the reopening:
The figures in the graphics show that the number of admissions has remained stably low without any sudden increase after the school opening. It was a slight increase in August that I have not been back but:
– It was especially related to travelers who came home from summer vacation abroad and tested positive – not school opening, according to Lillebæk.
Nevertheless, there are still people who die and end up in hospitals in Denmark.
More elderly people without a “booster” become ill
– There is an increasing number of breakthrough infections among special elderly people who have not received the third dose of vaccine yet. Some of them have other serious diseases that affect the immune system. But overall, the vaccines provide good protection against serious illness, says Lillebæk.
A breakthrough infection is when a vaccinated person is sought by covid-19.
Every Monday, SSI makes up the status of admissions, broken down on vaccination for the inmates who have information about vaccine status. It is clear that there is a big difference in who is admitted to hospital according to which age group you are in.
See differences in those to the tables below:
When more people are vaccinated, more of those who become ill will also be vaccinated. The fact that there is greater vaccination coverage in older and even younger groups will also have an impact on the figures.
I would like to establish that in Norway, the Danish organization has started offering a third dose to people over 85, and the Danish health authorities have recently presented a plan to offer dose three to anyone over 65.
The daily infection rates from Denmark are also at a low level now – but it is not necessarily representative, Lillebæk points out.
Through the pandemic, the Danes have tested for corona to a much greater extent even in Norway, but they have also begun with a careful downsizing of the test regime. When one no longer has to show coronapass domestically, it also means that they can see that there is no need for a green status no longer to do so.
– The infection also happens more among the young people who do not need to have problems. Therefore, the dark figure naturally becomes larger.
Testing has been a very important tool in monitoring the development of the pandemic. When you step down – does it not become more difficult to predict how many people will be admitted?
– There is still free access to testing, it is recommended that people test if they get symptoms, and it is fastest in school – so it is not as if we have stopped completely with it and have no controls at all in Denmark anymore, says he.
– But we can see any changes in the admission rate that are followed closely. The total number of admissions remains low and stable.
Uses on the winter wave
Lillebæk believes the spread of infection will grow this winter. But he is not sure that it will cause a winter wave in the hospitals.
– But I can not say it does not happen – what I follow fairly confidently, is that we keep an eye on it. And we now know what tools are needed to slow it down if we have to.
SSI has made model calculations of how the harvest can be developed. All scenarios show and continue to decline in the coming weeks – before a new rise in certain infected and new admissions. But none of them show a great burden on the health service, according to Lillebæk.
The models have not taken into account declining immunity among vaccinated, nor the booster vaccination that has begun.
Lillebæk works to keep track of variants of the virus. It is not something that could indicate any new mutations, so I can reach that 99% delta has been reached.
– But we will discover it if it happens, because we sequence all new positive samples. We have a super good surveillance, so if we suddenly see an increase in something else we will see it.
This is necessary for them to turn around
The Danish Ministry of Health has said that they can change the status of the virus if it is a development and development in the pandemic.
– What will be able to give a reaction is whether the number of admissions starts to rise, says Lillebæk.
– What is the tolerance limit for how many admissions you can have?
– I have not heard of any official limit. But from abroad, terrible pictures have been seen where people who can be treated die due to the lack of space in intensive care units. I am sure that you would take on the challenge before you had reached it, but we hope it will not be necessary, says Lillebæk.
At the same time, he describes that it is a matter for politicians, which determines many of the restrictions in society.
Correction: In an earlier version of this case, it was stated in the preamble that Denmark had been reopened for two weeks. The correct one is three weeks. This was corrected on 1 October 2021 at 11.34.