Corona Virus Diaries: Episode 1— Updates in Denmark
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
“According to the Worldometers website, the country [Denmark] now ranks fourth worldwide in the number of confirmed infections per capita, with 138 cases per million inhabitants.”
Many of you have been asking how I’m doing and what it’s like to live in Denmark given the recent Covid-19 pandemic. I decided to make this post to share that I’m okay, and to show what Denmark is like at the moment.
On Wednesday, March 11, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, addressed the Kingdom of Denmark for the first time regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic. She discussed the sobering reality that Covid-19 cases in Denmark were continuing to double without government interference. In fact, cases jumped from 90 to 262 to 514 all within a matter of three days (see chart below).
During the Wednesday night speech, Frederiksen called for all schools, universities, day care centers, indoor cultural institutions, and the public sector (minus critical positions such as the police and health care providers) to shut down for the next 14 days. She also recommended all events surpassing 100 people to not take place, and authentically acknowledged the decision would have deep consequences on the economy and on people’s jobs. She informed those not able to work from home would be given paid leave to mitigate the hardship that would follow.
"This will have huge consequences, but the alternative would be far worse"
On Friday, March 13, the Prime Minister addressed the country again; this time, calling for all borders to be closed i.e. Germany and Sweden. The Prime Minister also urged all Danes traveling abroad to return, and all visitors of Denmark to safely return to their home countries.
First and foremost, I want to applaud the Mette Frederiksen for making the difficult but necessary decision to close borders and to place such far-reaching limitations on the Kingdom of Denmark. The reality in Italy is such a tragic one, and I believe the Prime Minister is making the right decision for Denmark in order to “flatten the curve”.
The graphic below shows how countries that take protective measures are better equipped to handle an outbreak than those that do not. Without precautions, healthcare systems are completely overrun, and healthcare professions are put in impossible and overwhelmingly tragic situations. The hope for all countries is to “flatten the curve” to ensure their health care systems do not get overwhelmed.
Despite my belief that Denmark is doing the right thing, I recognize that this is a scary time for more than one reason. Each day, I see strangers on Facebook groups like “Expats in Copenhagen” and “Foreigners in Denmark” post about having lost their job due to the virus. In the US, I am confronted with posts about families not being able to afford daycare or children not getting meals from not being at school.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this disease whether medically, professionally, or emotionally. I sincerely hope things get better for everyone. What I will say is, despite the sadness and negativity revolving around this disease, I’m seeing good things as well. For example, people singing, dancing, and playing instruments from their balconies in Italy; schools and restaurants in the US offering free meals for children whose families depend on school meal programs; friends offering to babysit or care for neighbor’s children who can’t afford daycare in Oregon. Please. Keep this up!!
As I sit and write this, I know that I am lucky. Simon and I are both healthy. Simon is able to do his job, and I am able to continue my Danish classes from home. The Danish government is doing its best to keep the Kingdom safe. We are okay.
Sending my best to everyone. Take care, stay healthy, and continue to support those who need it.