Coronavirus News Round-Up: First wave fatalities grinding to a halt

In other news, as if we weren’t on a big enough high already, Christiania reopens

According to the hospitalisation numbers, Denmark would appear to be winning the battle (photo: Pixabay/ mattthewafflecat)
May 18th, 2020 11:26 am| by Ben Hamilton
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Nobody died of coronavirus in Denmark on Friday – the first time for two months that the country didn’t register a fatality. 

More deaths followed over the weekend, but Friday’s figures, or lack of them, provide further proof that Denmark is recovering well as it reopens.

Close to a fifteenth of nation tested
As of yesterday, the death toll stood at 547, and there were only 133 people in hospital – the lowest figure since March 18, according to Statens Serum Institut. 

Of those hospitalised, 27 were in intensive care and 78 were in the Capital Region. In total, 10,927 people have been infected – an increase of 69 between Saturday and Sunday. Some 388,703 people have been tested.

When the situation peaked on April 1, some 535 people were hospitalised and 146 in intensive care.

Not over, but encouraging
Søren Riis Paludan, an expert at  Aarhus University, is in no doubt the figures make compelling news. “It shows there is a sound basis for opening up society again,” he told DR.

Nevertheless, he still expects the fatality numbers to rise again. “I don’t know if it will be small or big, but there will be an increase,” he said. “But it is important to emphasise that we have a health system that can cope.”

Allan Randrup Thomsen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, has meanwhile hailed the return to school of the nation’s pre-teens for paving the way for more reopenings.


Christiania reopens without fanfare
Christiania reopened on Saturday at noon after being closed to guests for nine weeks. Large fences erected to keep people out were removed. “When everything else is open, we can’t keep Christiania closed anymore. It is a public area after all,” Christiania spokesman Hulda Mader told TV2. Christiania did not make any major prior announcements before the reopening as it did not want large crowds to gather outside the gates. “Last time we reopened after a long closure, 5,000 people gathered in front,” explained Mader. 

Another intensive care unit closes
Aalborg University Hospital has closed its specialist coronavirus intensive care ward, citing recent inactivity for the decision. “Fortunately, in recent weeks we have received few new patients in need of intensive treatment,” explained Henrik Nielsen, a senior consultant, to TV2. “And, as we have been releasing more and more patients, there were eventually only a few left.” The intensive care ward was set up in early March, and in total it admitted 58 patients.

New infection detection app available from mid-June
A broad political majority last Friday backed plans for the release of the Smitte|stop app, which will enable users to be better informed about the spread of the coronavirus within the community. Should you contract the coronavirus, the app enables you to easily inform people you have been in close contact with, and likewise you will be informed if a close contact contracts the coronavirus. The approval of Parliament was necessary as the app uses new technology developed by Google and Apple to access private information contained on users’ phones. It is due to be launched in mid-June.