Copenhagen Denmark — Virtually no one here wears a face mask in the streets, shops or restaurants — a big surprise. It’s as if the COVID-19 pandemic was a distant memory.
As soon as I left Copenhagen Airport and took a taxi to the city, a driver who didn’t wear a mask told me that I didn’t need to wear a mask in Denmark. “It hasn’t been needed for months,” he said. When I entered the city, I realized that few people were wearing masks.
In Denmark, 72% of people are fully vaccinated, 51% in the United States, 31% in Argentina and 25% in Mexico. And by almost all standards, Denmark is far superior to the United States and most other countries in the fight against pandemics.
The cumulative death toll from COVID-19 per million in Denmark is 442, compared to 1,904 in the United States. Oxford University Ourworldindata.org website.
In conversations with Danes in all disciplines, virtually everyone told me the same thing. Denmark succeeded in fighting COVID-19 because most of its population followed the advice of government officials and experts from the beginning.
When the government ordered a strict blockade in early 2020, everyone responded. Almost everyone was vaccinated when the government asked people to get vaccinated. Government officials say most of the unvaccinated people were young people and believed that COVID-19 did not pose a threat to them. Currently, the government is launching vaccination campaigns in schools and universities, aiming for a complete vaccination rate of 90% of the population.
To enter the country, you must show a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours. Every time I went to a restaurant, I had to show proof of vaccination. However, the government announced on August 27 that the pandemic was “under control” and that this and all other domestic regulations would expire on September 10.
“We believe in the authorities, we believe in the experts,” Parliamentarian and former Minister of Education and Culture Bartel Harder told me in an interview. “When experts tell us that we should be vaccinated, Danes tend to be vaccinated.”
I agree with Gert Tinggaard Svendsen, a professor of comparative politics at Aarhus University and the author of the book on trust.
“Here, people trust the government,” Svensen told me. “People trusted the government when the government told Danes that the vaccine was good for you.”
Compare this to the United States, which, apart from cultural differences, had President Donald Trump, who, unlike Danish leaders, had a minimal pandemic from the beginning. In February 2020, when Danish authorities announced that they were ordering a blockade of the country. Mr. Trump said, “It’ll be okay,” and “I’m not worried at all.”
To make matters worse, Trump does not set an example by wearing masks in public, often ridiculing people who wear masks, and at some point injecting disinfectants to fight COVID-19. I suggested that it should be done.
Since then, the situation in the United States has only worsened. Republicans, with a few prestigious exceptions, follow in the footsteps of Trump, fight Mask’s obligations, fail aggressive campaigns for mass vaccination, and undermine President Biden’s first successful virus attack. I abandoned common sense in hopes of.
That is insane. It costs the lives of thousands of Americans — far more than those lost in Afghanistan and other wars.
Let’s follow the Danish example. We are not proposing to put all the trust in politicians. Because we had a bad experience with it. But we have to follow what the scientific consensus says: get vaccinated, wear a mask and keep a distance!
Don’t miss the TV show “Oppenheimer Presenter” on Sunday at 8 pm EST on CNN Español. Twitter: @oppenheimera