Denmark’s health minister has good and awful pandemic news. Magnus Heunicke reports COVID contact number remains at 0.8.

Heunicke says coronavirus incidence and wastewater monitoring indicate a “low starting point” pandemic. He blames new COVID mutations, particularly Omicron sub-strain BA.5. New variation accounted for 17% of sequencing positive test outcomes. Due to inadequate testing and sequencing rates, BA.5 cases are likely underreported.

Heunicke says incidences double every nine days. The Staten Serum Institute anticipates BA.5 will become Denmark’s dominant COVID strain “during the summer.” The government claims there’s no indication the variant causes more severe disease or mortality than existing Omicron strains. Many epidemiological experts have found Omicron sub-variants, especially BA.5, are discovering more effective techniques to escape or fight antibody responses.

Danes continue to observe the situation, Heunicke added.

This is the first time since mid-February that new COVID infections have increased in Denmark. Due to low testing numbers, the number of cases is likely underreported.

Last week’s COVID positive rate was 12%. According to the Staten Serum Institute’s daily report on Thursday, positivity is up to 13.81% over the prior week. Two weeks ago, it was 10%. Positivity rates are climbing while the number of PCR tests remains stable.

All five Danish districts have witnessed an increase in COVID incidences per 100,000 individuals, led by Region Hovedstaden (Metro Copenhagen) with 71 and Region Sjaelland with 67. Positivity rates in all five regions are growing, with Midtjylland (14.3% ) having the highest and Nordjylland (11% ).

Virus incidences grew in every age group except those 15 and younger and 25 to 29. 40-year-olds had the most infections. The positivity rate is growing in every age group except 15-year-olds. 50-79-year-olds had a 15% rate.

Social services and healthcare are also affected by COVID.

According to the Statens Serum Institute, two unique COVID variants are growing. BA.2.12.1 has grown from 2.6% to 12.6% of sequencing positive test outcomes in four weeks. BA.5 is also spreading fast, accounting for 16.88% of cases last week, up from 0.9% four weeks earlier. The SSI predicts BA.5 will become Denmark’s dominant coronavirus strain “in coming weeks.” The institute recommends that these findings should be viewed with caution since “many last-week tests still have to be sequenced.”

The number of patients with BA.2, which has dominated Denmark for months, has dropped from 60.9% to 41.3% in the last four weeks. Tyra Grove Krause, SSI Academic Director, said the organisation is evaluating the two new options.

BA.5, which is growing in Europe, is causing most of the illnesses. This implies new infections. BA.2.12.1 and BA.5 aren’t worse than BA.1 and BA.2. COVID hospitalizations declined 11% last week to 179. Most new admissions are 70 to 89 years of age. 9 and younger, 20-29, 50-59, and 80-89 had greater hospitalizations.

Further, there were nine critical admissions last week, down from 13.

Last week, 25 individuals died from the epidemic (SSI’s extra mortality is “normal.”) and cared-for seniors in Denmark had fewer COVID exams. Positivity fell from 4.6% to 3.9%. 35 cases were verified last week, down from 49 the week before. One less senior died of an infection last week.

According to COVID wastewater monitoring, coronavirus activity surged last week. In four of the five Danish regions, save Nordjylland, virus activity grew.

In Denmark, COVID hospitalizations (220) fell (-2), ICU cases (8) remained steady and ventilator cases (5) grew (+2).

Yesterday, Denmark reported 912 COVID infections (underreported), 97 reinfections, and 3 deaths. Also, 1,501 of 6,072 PCR tests were positive. As far as vaccinations are concerned, 81.9% have one dose, 80.4% have two, and 61.7% have a booster. Recent changes are minimal. Due to low demand and the end of the Danish vaccination programme, vaccines are still accessible and people may get immunised.

With 1 million COVID vaccinations provided in Denmark this year and demand falling, the country will require around 22 million vaccine doses in 2022. The Danish Staten Serum Institute sells doses. Vaccinations this year will cost 2.8 billion Danish kroner ($500 million Canadian).

Around 6 million doses have been lost due to expiration, mostly through non-use and the onset of summer. Jes Sgaard hopes “someone has a sensible response,” and the Ministry of Health has confessed that there are more vaccines than required.

The number of extra doses available for the fourth round of immunizations is unclear. The Danish National Board of Health and Staten Serum Institute are preparing for vaccinations.

In other news, COVID hospitalizations have risen in Stockholm, which recorded 132 pandemic patients in the previous week, up from 7 the week before. Chief physician Johan Bratt says COVID hospitalizations have increased as compared to the last week.

No trend yet from low numbers. We keep are keeping watch. No evidence suggests an epidemic. If COVID patients at our hospitals keep rising, we can talk about a trend. Vaccines are vital. Vaccines prevent disease.

Sweden checks only hospitalised seniors for COVID. Last week, senior institutions discovered 277 ailments. Seven more individuals died last week. It warns of Sweden’s months-long backlog of pandemic deaths.

Norway has had 375 sicknesses and 0 deaths since yesterday. In the preceding week, there were 86 COVID admissions. 80% of Norwegians 12 and older have one immunisation, 75% have two, and 55% have a booster.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has accepted pandemic uncertainty despite Norway’s COVID stabilisation. As PCR testing falls, Norway depends more on coronavirus home testing and disclosure.

NIPH data demonstrates a flattening infection curve. Organisations have been urged to prepare for any circumstance since “there’s still a risk of future COVID outbreaks,” especially with new types spreading quickly throughout Europe. Novel virus strains may evade vaccination and antibody protection.

Five to six weeks ago, COVID hospitalizations had stabilised somewhat. Last week, however, saw 80 new infections vs. 75 the week before. In the week previous to that, a hospital reported four COVID outbreaks. After three weeks of stability, COVID-related doctor visits surged last week. 32 persons died of viruses last week, four less than the week before; 69% of the fatalities were in senior care facilities.

Finland recently recorded 9,362 illnesses and 87 viral deaths. Currently, 80.3% of the population have one dose, 77.2% have two, 53.2% have a third, and 4.8% have a second booster.

Moderna’s enhanced COVID immunisation booster dose (mRNA-1273.214) induced a “better neutralising antibody response” within a month after injection. The company says the new booster has similar side effects as its existing vaccine.

Early data analysis on mRNA-1273.214 is the second proof of our bivalent booster platform’s superiority against COVID variants. This research suggests better worry prevention.

The pharmaceutical company believes the booster dose offers longer-lasting Omicron protection. Moderna will submit data on the new booster to regulators in the coming weeks and aims to make it accessible by late summer.

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