Over the weekend, Denmark confessed to millions of corona cases since the pandemic occurred in the country in 2020.
Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 cases of infection are registered daily, and as of Monday 7 February, 1294 patients have been admitted with corona to Danish hospitals.
Nevertheless, Denmark reopened almost a week ago. Covid-19 is no longer a “socially critical disease” among our neighbors to the south.
From the first of February, there was an end to face masks and corona passes. The nightclubs opened and the restrictions on nightlife disappeared. The number of limits on events and distance requirements on restaurants were lifted.
But how has it really gone?
Danish experts tell Dagbladet that it was right to open society. The infection will spread through the population and, together with the vaccine, will provide better protection.
– Well, it does not get worse, but better. The reopening has gone well, says Lone Simonsen, pandemic expert and professor at Roskilde University.
She is fully aware that we are now seeing the end of the pandemic in Denmark.
– Yes, there is evidence that the infection has been “peaked” and is now declining in Copenhagen. In inner Copenhagen, the infection has now halved, says Simonsen.
The reason for Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen for the reopening was the high vaccination rate and the milder course of the omikron.
Henrik Nielsen, chief physician and professor at Aalborg University, is also clear that the reopening of Denmark has gone well.
– Society works, and hospitals work. There are many infected and this of course results in absence from the workplace, but so did isolation and infection tracking. It goes with opening, he says to Dagbladet.
Looking at intensive numbers
Omikron is a mild disease. Not insignificant, but not terrible either. The last round has been a mild round. We see the best proof of this in the number of patients in the intensive care units, says Simonsen.
She believes infection rates, deaths and inpatient installation well are not the best indicator of the severity of the corona situation.
In Denmark, all patients who enter the hospital are tested. 1294 patients have been admitted with corona to a hospital in Denmark. But far from everyone is there because of covid-19.
– 40-50 percent of patients are hospitalized for other reasons but have a positive coronary test. Also, if you die in a car accident, and three weeks before tested positive for corona, it registers as a corona death. Therefore, the number in intensive places is the best number, and it is declining, says Simonsen.
The latest figures show that 31 patients have been admitted to the intensive care unit in total in Denmark. Of these, 12 are on respirator, none more than yesterday.
Nielsen substantiates Simonsen that the admission figures can seem misleading, even though there are now over a thousand hospitalized and new admission records in Denmark.
– There are many in the hospital who have covid-positive test. Over 1000 in Denmark is a record. But they are not seriously ill. I would think half have asymptomatic corona – they are not clinically ill, they do not have a fever and it is not dangerous for them, we find them just because they are tested and then isolated, says Nielsen.
He believes 31 patients in intensive care throughout Denmark are very low.
Will die out
Figures show that areas that previously in the pandemic have had high infection pressure, such as Copenhagen and eastern Denmark, now have a valley infection trend, as Dagbladet has previously written.
When the infection now passes through Denmark, it will provide a solid herd immunity against corona disease, and in total a better protection than vaccine alone, says pandemic expert Lone Simonsen.
– This is the specific point, as with so many other infections; we will have herd immunity before the epidemic subsides, says professor and chief physician, Nielsen.
The professor’s prediction is that the pandemic will die out in Denmark during March.
– We are approaching herd immunity in that part of Denmark (Copenhagen and eastern Denmark). The rest of Denmark still has high infection rates, and we will have 2-3 weeks with high infection rates before flock immunity approaches throughout Denmark, says Nielsen.
But despite Danish experts cheering that the future looks bright under the professor that the pandemic has not yet disappeared even though society has now opened up.
– It will hit many people and it will hit faster now than if you have a lockdown. All people will be exposed to the virus, today or tomorrow or in March. But we can vaccinate with three stings for all adults over the age of 18, says Nielsen.
Associate professor at Roskilde University and specialist in mathematical epidemiology, Viggo Andreasen, says it is too early to see an effect of the relief of corona measures yet.
Nevertheless, he points to a larger group as a factor that will affect future infection rates.
The other effect that emerges is that the number of people tested is falling because it is no longer a requirement to test oneself to the same extent as before. This will lead to a drop in a positive tester.
– It is quite difficult to see a possible effect of increased spread of infection on top of the two effects – and if it comes, it will not be until next week, Andreasen writes in an email to Dagbladet.
Will stop vaccinating children
Denmark is somewhat above Norway when it comes to the degree of vaccination. Nielsen highlights vaccination as an important measure while the infection spreads before he thinks it “dies out”.
82.6 percent of the Danish population has been vaccinated with the first dose, 80.9 percent with the second dose and 60.9 percent with the third dose.
In Norway, the vaccination rate is somewhat lower, but there is not much talk. 80 percent have received the first dose, 74.2 percent the second dose and 51.3 percent of the third dose.
In Denmark, however, the National Board of Health and Welfare has since November recommended that children up to the age of five be vaccinated. In Norway, only children up to the age of 12 are vaccinated.
This was done for the sake of controlling the pandemic, not because child gets sick himself. It is not Professor Nielsen who is sure that is right.
– I think we should stop vaccinating children, I think we should never have started. It is not the child’s needs, if there are healthy children. A number of experts say that there is no need for the child to take the vaccine, they become extremely rarely ill. At the end of the year, it was a serious illness, but now it is omicron, and it is mild, says Nielsen.
But while our Danish neighbors dance in the city and “breathe freely” at the store, Norwegians have to stay out a little longer.
Because when the Norwegian government came with relief on February 1, they still kept the requirement for one-meter and bandages.
At the same time, however, the government announced that it intends to lift the latest restrictions on 17 February.
On Monday 7 February, however, Prime Minister Støre states that the government will assess already during the week whether further corona measures can be removed.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health and the public health authorities will now give advice to the government on the way forward, he states.
– They have the task of assessing this on an ongoing basis. So over the course of the week, we need to assess whether there is room to do it sooner.
– We have said that we assess it on an ongoing basis. So something may happen before 17 February, says Støre to NTB.