Denmark’s Omicron Surge Is a Warning to the Rest of World
(Bloomberg) -- Denmark is seeing the number of people infected with the omicron variant of Covid-19 double every second day, offering a glimpse of a development that is probably unfolding throughout Europe.
The Nordic country can offer valuable insights into what to expect from omicron, as it has Europe’s most rigorous screening program, with a high level of testing, and variant-screening of all positive PCR tests. That explains why Denmark has reported the highest number of omicron cases in the European Union, Troels Lillebaek, chair of the Danish SARS-CoV-2 variant assessment committee, said.
“Denmark is not a hotspot for omicron compared with any other European country,” Lillebaek said in an interview on Friday. “I’m quite sure that what we are seeing now in Denmark is also happening in neighboring countries, and in other European countries.”
The first omicron infection in Denmark was detected in a sample from Nov. 22. Since then, 1,280 cases have been recorded, and omicron represented 4.5% to 5% of all Covid-19 infections in the country in the beginning of this week.
While based on limited data that could be skewed, the information from Statens Serum Institut also shows that almost 75% of those infected by omicron had received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
“You would like that number to be lower,” Lillebaek said. “Then again, it’s important to know that testing positive doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no effect when it comes to severe disease or admissions to hospital.”
Lab studies conducted by vaccine manufacturers Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE have indicated that a third dose may restore protection against the omicron variant. Still, the Danish data shows more than 100 omicron cases were discovered among the 19.3% of Danes who have received booster shots.
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