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Denmark shows no signs of accelerated coronavirus spread after partial reopening

'...no indication that we are heading into another wave'

People sit within a marked area Sunday at Islands Brygge in Copenhagen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (DA GULDBAEK ARENTSEN/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Since easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the middle of April, Denmark has not seen an acceleration in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, Reuters reported.

During the second week of April, Denmark began reopening day cares and elementary schools. The following week, hairdressers and other businesses were allowed to open. Leading up to the reopening, Denmark had seen a decline in the number of new infections and deaths.

In the United States, opponents of the gradual easing of restrictions in most states fear a second surge of the virus that would negate progress allegedly made through shelter-in-place orders. So far, that hasn't happened in Denmark.

"There are no signs whatsoever that the partial reopening has caused a bigger spread of infection," said Christian Wejse, an infectious diseases scientist at Aarhus University, according to Reuters. "At least there is no indication that we are heading into another wave. That has been the concern, but I can't see that at all."

The typical incubation period for COVID-19 can be as long as 14 days, which means a surge in the coronavirus caused by last month's partial reopening in Denmark would likely have become evident by now. That incubation period is the reason why reports connecting increased infection or death statistics to policy changes that occurred just a few days earlier can be misleading.

A key statistic public health officials monitor is the "R rate," which is the average number of infections a person with the virus causes. This rate would ideally remain below 1.0. Although Denmark's "R rate" has slightly increased, it's still below 1.0.

Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said she will present the next steps in the reopening plan this week, calling the first step "a really good starting point" while cautioning that they were not yet "home safe."

According to Johns Hopkins University, Denmark has had at least 9,868 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and also 493 deaths.

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