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VACCINE

Covid-19 vaccines to thank for significantly fewer Danish infections and deaths, agency finds

Last week saw no deaths related to Covid-19 at care homes in Denmark, the first time that has been the case since September 2020.

Covid-19 vaccines to thank for significantly fewer Danish infections and deaths, agency finds
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

That is because the vast majority of residents at the care homes have now been vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Danish national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has confirmed according to news wire Ritzau.

The first week of 2021 saw 81 deaths at care homes, a figure which reached zero by the ninth week of the year. Not since September has Denmark gone through a week without losing any elderly care home residents to the virus.

Care homes are also seeing a steep drop in the number of recorded cases of Covid-19.

Just a single case was registered last week, according to SSI. That compares to 464 in the first week of this year.

According to an SSI notification acquired by Ritzau, the infectious disease agency expects Denmark to reduce the number of coronavirus deaths by 81 percent once all people over 50 have been offered the vaccine. That stage is expected to be reached by June according to the current vaccination schedule.

An expert has previously said that the drop in cases and deaths in Denmark can only be attributed to vaccinations.

“When the fall-off is so extreme it is entirely clear that it is the vaccines that are making their mark now,” University of Copenhagen professor of immunology Jan Pravsgaard Christensen told broadcaster TV2.

Denmark began its Covid-19 vaccination programme on December 27th and currently expects to complete vaccinating its population by the end of July.

READ ALSO: Denmark to consider lifting coronavirus restrictions at care homes

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COVID-19

Covid deaths in Sweden ‘set to rise in coming weeks’

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has warned that the number of weekly Covid deaths is set to rise, after the number of people testing positive for the virus rose for the sixth week running.

Covid deaths in Sweden 'set to rise in coming weeks'

According to the agency, an average of 27 people have died with or from the virus a week over the past three weeks. 

“According to our analyses, the number who died in week 27 (July 4th-July 11th), is more than died in week 26 and we expect this to continue to grow,” the agency wrote in a report issued on Thursday. 

In the week ending July 17th (week 28), 4,700 new cases of Covid-19 were registered, a 22 percent rise on the previous week. 

“We are seeing rising infection levels of Covid-19 which means that there will be more people admitted to hospital, and even more who die with Covid-19,”  said Anneli Carlander, a unit chief at the agency. “The levels we are seeing now are higher than they were last summer, but we haven’t reached the same level we saw last winter when omicron was spreading for the first time.” 

While 27 deaths a week with for from Covid-19 is a rise on the low levels seen this spring, it is well below the peak death rate Sweden saw in April 2020, when more than 100 people were dying a day. 

The number of Covid deaths recorded each week this summer. Source. Public Health Agency of Sweden
A graph of Covid deaths per day since the start of the pandemic shows that the current death rate, while alarming, remains low. Photo: Public Health Agency of Sweden

Carlander said that cases were rising among those in sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and also elderly people given support in their own homes, groups which are recommended to get tested for the virus if they display symptoms. The infection rate among those given support in their homes has risen 40 percent on last week. 

This week there were also 12 new patients admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 in Sweden’s hospitals.  

The increase has come due to the new BA.5 variant of omicron, which is better able to infect people who have been vaccinated or already fallen ill with Covid-19. Vaccination or a past infection does, however, give protection against serious illness and death. 

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