Denmark is lifting most of its COVID-related restrictions because they no longer consider it a “critical threat,” even as cases continue to soar.
The decision comes as the country faced over 50,000 cases daily, on average, over the past few weeks. But the data showed that while hospitalizations are high and deaths are slowly on the rise, the amount of people in ICUs is dropping.
“While there are high case counts, the pressure on hospitals is lower than in previous waves,” wrote Aarhus University political professor Michael Bang Peterson on Twitter.
Epidemiologist Lone Simonsen told AFP news agency that lifting restrictions was “reasonable” considering that Omicron was not “a severe disease for the vaccinated.” Danish authorities agreed COVID was not a “critical threat” any more.
“Does this mean it is over? No, we have declassified corona before. But as lockdowns breed mistrust, it is prudent to relax measures when possible,” wrote Peterson. “If it is not over — if lockdowns are to be imposed again — societies will need as much trust & solidarity as they can muster.”
Danes are also highly vaccinated and “their trust in the vaccines are high,” explained Peterson.
A Danish study done at the University of Copenhagen looked at more than 8,500 households with more than 17,940 household members from Dec. 20 to Jan. 18. It found that the rapid spread of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 — which became the dominant strain in Denmark, even more so than BA.1 — was likely due to its increased transmissibility.
“The risk of being infected (susceptibility) was higher in unvaccinated persons compared with vaccinated and booster-vaccinated household members in both BA.2 and BA.1 infected households,” the study explained, “underlining a positive effect of vaccination towards both Omicron variants.”
Eighty-one per cent of the Danish population is vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen was enthused to announce the country’s reopening in a Facebook post.