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Latest figure: Reproductive rate of coronavirus falls again as of 7 May

Four weeks after the opening of the Danish society, the rate of infection falls again. This is good news.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

It is an issue of intense discussion, the rate of infection during the COVID-19 epidemic. Experts emphasise the need to keep it close to or under 1 in order to keep the infection at bay.

The Danish institute of infectious disease, SSI, has calculated the latest rate of infection which has fallen to 0.7.

This new figure has been calculated in the period 24 April to 7 May thus including all of the phase one reopening measures.

The rate of reproduction expresses the number of people which one person infects.

It was less than 1 around the beginning of April, this was 2 weeks after the closing down measures had been implemented. At this point the epidemic turned in Denmark and went on a downward trend.

From 10 to 14 April is was stable around 0,6, falling until 25 April when it rose again to around 1.0 from 22 April to 24 April. (see graph below)

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Since then it has fallen and is now around 0.7 as measured in the period 1 May to 7 May.

“That the rate of infection has been stable under 1 the past week is a sign that the first phase of the reopening has not yet created an increase in spread. This is most likely due to the huge efforts made by the schools to keep the distancing measures and maintain a good hand hygiene. But it also means that people in general have been good at taking care and maintaining the measures,“ says Department Manager Tyra Grove Krause from SSI in a press release.

At a press meeting on 13 May, Director Kaare Mølbak from SSI said that he does not think that Denmark will experience a second wave of the epidemic, even if there can be smaller chains of spread locally, with such drastic measures taken as in the first wave. This is because Denmark now has a much better insight and understanding of the virus; how it spreads, how it can be contained ( massive testing) and how to treat and handle patients and the needed protective equipment is present as well he explained.

“At present the number of new infections is low, making it easier to find their contacts and test them for any signs of infection. Therefore, we can limit any new spread as it appears, but of course we need to follow this closely as the virus is still here,” Kaare Mølbak said.

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Rate of infection as published on 10 May 2020. Picture:SSI