Pandemic end? Spain and Denmark are the corona optimists

Pandemic end? Spain and Denmark are the corona optimists
Pandemic end? Spain and Denmark are the corona optimists


Corona just a flu? Spain and Denmark are Europe’s omicron optimists

For Spain’s head of government, Covid-19 is just a “flu” – Denmark is also seeing the end of the pandemic coming.

In the Spanish capital of Madrid, people are celebrating the New Year in a boisterous manner: the relaxation of the corona measures is continuing, and Prime Minister Sanchez already sees the end of the pandemic coming.


Anyone who travels from the German-speaking world to the Spanish capital Madrid rubs their eyes in amazement: life pulsates in the nightlife and shopping districts of the metropolis as if there were no corona and no omicron wave. No one requires proof of health to go to cafes, pubs or the theater. Hundreds of thousands of children are going back to school after the winter holidays – without any compulsory testing.

At the same time, Spain’s socialist head of government, Pedro Sánchez, caused a stir with the announcement of a change in strategy. It is time, he said casually in a radio interview, to attach less importance to the pandemic and to look at Corona like other recurring diseases in the future. Kind of like the annual flu outbreaks. This means that one should say goodbye to the previous, time-consuming collection and tracking of all corona infections and also to mass tests. “The situation of the pandemic is no longer what we had a year ago,” said Sánchez.

80 percent in Spain are vaccinated

Above all, the government refers to the high vaccination rate, which brought the country a lot of international praise in the autumn. In the first vaccination campaign, Spain had achieved the third highest vaccination rate in Europe with a respectable 80 percent. But now, in the booster campaign, things aren’t going so well. So far, only 36 percent of the Spaniards have taken the refresher trick.

Virologists warn that Spain’s corona relaxation course is tantamount to “playing with fire”. One should not trivialize the pandemic. “The only thing we will achieve if we don’t act is more infections,” says epidemiologist Daniel López Acuña.

As Spain continues to relax its corona policy, infections are exploding across the country. More than a million new infections have been reported in the past seven days. The situation in the hospitals is not yet critical, but it is worrying. Routine operations have to be postponed in more and more hospitals. Most recently, more than 17,000 corona patients were in the hospital, 2,200 of them in the intensive care units.

Normalization in Denmark “in sight”

People in Denmark are comparatively relaxed. In December, the country was the first target of the omicron wall, along with Great Britain. Today, over 96 percent of corona cases are attributed to the new variant, and the numbers remain high. Nevertheless, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke says: “We have brought this epidemic under control again.” His government has therefore announced that the restrictions will be relaxed for next Monday: the cinemas, museums and zoos that were closed before Christmas may reopen, with a slightly reduced number of visitors.

The Danes see three reasons for the confidence that the worst is already over:

  1. The number of corona hospital patients has only increased very slowly for weeks and is well below the critical range. There are half as many patients in the intensive care units as last winter.
  2. The horror scenarios of the health authorities have not materialized: there have not been anywhere near 55,000 cases per day, but the record is almost 30,000.
  3. The restrictions before Christmas would have paid off and the vaccination offensive would have borne fruit.

With the current development, the authorities see the end of the pandemic in Denmark. Normalization is in sight. “We are slowly moving towards a flu-like pattern,” said Tyra Krause, Vice President of the National Epidemic Institute. This means that you cannot prevent the infection, you can only slow it down, but that diseases are often mild thanks to vaccinations.

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