If Denmark, Sweden can beat the virus, why can't we?Wednesday, September 15, 2021
In Literature, Denmark is remembered for the famous and oft-quoted line from William Shakespeare's 1611 play Hamlet, in which Marcellus declared: “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.”
Four hundred and ten years hence we can optimistically say something is fresh and wonderful in the State of Denmark following news on September 10, 2021 that the Nordic country is on the verge of beating the novel coronavirus.
An editorial in one of Denmark's largest newspapers, Politiken, trumpeted: “September 10 is a special day, a day of joy… We're back to normal.”
That statement, although met with scepticism by some, was based on the decision by the Danish Government to lift the last of its domestic pandemic-era restrictions, confidently claiming that the novel coronavirus is no longer a “critical threat to society”.
The Scandinavian nation's announcement offers the promise of a vision of a future without COVID-19 restrictions; that is, if the situation holds, and the country has not gone ahead of itself, after nearly 550 days of pandemic-weary existence.
Restrictions on travel to Denmark will remain in place, a precautionary action, but the remaining mask mandates have been removed for everywhere but the airport. There will also be no need for the country's digital vaccine passport to enter bars, restaurants, nightclubs, or stadia.
Danish authorities say the achievement has been based on high vaccination rates, with nearly 75 per cent of residents fully immunised, strong epidemic control, and “because the entire population has made an enormous effort to achieve this”.
Another encouraging development is taking place in neighbouring Sweden, where there is also excitement about resuming normality, after the Government announced recently that it would lift nearly all restrictions at the end of this month.
Adding to the happy news from Denmark and Sweden, the latest morale booster from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among vaccinated people remain rare and generally less serious when they do occur, despite the surge of the super-contagious Delta variant.
The CDC says vaccines continue to offer strong protection against the most severe forms of the disease, citing three studies that highlight the continued effectiveness of all three approved vaccines in the US.
One study shows that among approximately 600,000 COVID-19 cases recorded across 13 US jurisdictions, between April 4 and July 17, 2021, only 46,312, or eight per cent of cases, were reported among fully vaccinated people, compared with 569,142, or 92 per cent of COVID-19 cases among people who were not fully vaccinated.
Of the total cases, only 2,976 hospitalisations, and 616 deaths were reported among fully vaccinated people, compared with 34,972 hospitalisations and 6,132 deaths among people who were not fully vaccinated.
The CDC insisted that the vaccines are doing what they should do — protecting people from severe disease and death. It said unvaccinated people were five times as likely to be infected, 10 times as likely to be hospitalised, and 10 times more likely to die than fully vaccinated people.
We look forward to next week's summit of global leaders called by US President Joe Biden who will call for a recommitment to ending the coronavirus pandemic, mainly by vaccinating 70 per cent of the global population by next September.