Life in Denmark is slowly returning to the normalcy as Danish government has lifted all pandemic restrictions and declared that the pandemic is no longer a ‘critical threat’ in the country. Around 95 percent of the people who are aged fifty and above are fully vaccinated according to statistics. Vaccination rate of eligible population aged above twelve is 86 percent. Denmark’s death rate was 450 people per million citizens during pandemic, when United States had a death toll of 1982 per million people.
The HOPE project is the largest behavioural covid-19 research carried out by Denmark where more than four hundred thousand people from Denmark and seven other countries were surveyed and documented. Study found out that the citizens’ stable faith in their health care system has played a big role in Denmark’s success, which encouraged efficient roll out of vaccination drives and successful implementation of other policies such as ‘coronapas’ and mass testing programs.
Research on vaccine hesitancy proved that lack of trust in the authorities is one of the main reasons people refuse to take vaccine shots. In Denmark, over 90 percent of citizens had complete trust in their national health authorities while US had less than 50 percent people trusting the government policies. Danish authorities could sustain this trust till now with transparent communication.
The core part of the strategy was mass testing, where Denmark performed up to four million tests in a week. Most citizens followed the government regulations and stayed away from policing other people. Even most of the people who voted against the government affirmed that the authorities were handling the pandemic efficiently.
The rich history of working together helped the Danish political parties to focus on fighting pandemic rather than criticising each other. The unity of leaders from all political parties also evaded polarization among the citizens, which also helped the nation to follow science and prioritize epidemic control. And finally, the efficient planning and responsible decisions minimized the consequences caused by the pandemic. People of Denmark responded responsibly to the government and followed guidelines which enabled the nation to lift all of its pandemic restrictions at the earliest.
The principal investigator of the HOPE project was Michael Bang Petersen, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Aurhus University. He advised Danish government on behavioural aspects of managing the pandemic, assisted by Alexander Bor, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University and a member of the HOPE project.