January 31, 2022 - 3:55pm

As of tomorrow, February 1st, Denmark will be the first country in Europe — arguably the world — to put an end to all Covid-related laws. Even if you have the disease, it will only be recommended that you isolate, and even then only for three days. If you have no symptoms, you can go to meet your friends.

Most remarkably, Denmark is taking this step at a time when Covid-19 cases have never been higher — and are still growing.

Dr Camilla Holten-Møller is the head of the Expert Group for Mathematical Modelling at the Danish Health Institute (Staten’s Serum Institut). It was on the strength of her group’s models of the Omicron wave that the Epidemiological Commission recommended scrapping all the rules. Perhaps most remarkable of all is that the move is being supported by all the political parties in Denmark.

They also decided in the government that Covid should no longer be considered critical to public health. That means that the legislation is changing, so many of these interventions can no longer be supported by legal mandate. Many things will be ruled out: the Corona pass will go away, restrictions on nightlife and cultural institutions also ending.
- Dr Camilla Holten-Møller, Staten Serum Institut

The decision all comes down to the Omicron variant, which Dr Holten-Møller estimates to be only 20% of the severity of the Delta variant of Covid:

We see these really high case numbers each day, but we don’t see it in the severity or in hospitals. Patients are going to hospital — of course, a lot of people with Covid — but their not necessarily ill from Covid.
- Dr Camilla Holten-Møller, Staten Serum Institut

Overall, Dr Holten-Møller considers Denmark to be in a very strong position:

With Omicron, we simply don’t need any more to flatten the curve as much as we used to… I definitely believe that SARS-Cov-2 will continue circulating during the summer period as well, and in winter, we will start to see case counts going up again simply because we have the waning immunity of the vaccine… But for now, I think with the Omicron, we’re in a good place — we expect the springtime and summertime will be pretty quiet.
- Dr Camilla Holten-Møller, Staten Serum Institut

On Natural Immunity:

It definitely is something you need to consider: the state of the population immunity, how well is it built up? And what does it mean for the next waves? In Denmark, we saw that the immunity is primarily by vaccination — we actually had very low prevalence in Denmark, we didn’t have very large waves. And probably that is also why the Omicron has an advantage right now, because it’s an immune-evasive variant. In other countries where you used to have high waves or high peaks of other variants, you might do better or see less Omicron simply because it doesn’t have an advantage as it does it highly vaccinated countries like Denmark.
- Dr Camilla Holten-Møller, Staten Serum Institut

For an in-depth discussion of the Danish Covid models, and how they appear to have been more accurate than the English attempts to answer the same question, watch this space…