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Danish health agency says 400,000 could have been infected

Denmark's infectious diseases agency SSI has estimated that the true number of people who have had coronavirus is between 30 and 80 times larger than the roughly 5,000 who have so far tested positive.

Danish health agency says 400,000 could have been infected
The estimate is built in part on analysis of 1,000 samples of blood given by donors. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
This means that as many as 400,000 people in the country could have already been infected with the virus. 
 
The shock figure, which draws on analysis of blood donors in the country, was included in a status report published on Tuesday by the Danish Health Authority. 
 
“There is a lot of contagion in Danish society, and there is a huge dark figure,” Kåre Mølbak, the agency's head, told the Berlingske newspaper. 
 
“In the blood donor studies that have been done, you can see that maybe 70 times more people have had the infection than we can see in the statistics.” 
 
A study of 1,000 blood donations given between April 1 and April 3 found that 3.5 percent had been infected with the virus, which  would indicate that 65,000 people had probably already been infected by March 26. 
 
SSI's estimate also drew on studies made in Germany and Iceland. 
 

 

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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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