BACKGROUND: Social distancing measures introduced during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic have reduced admission rates for various infectious and noninfectious respiratory diseases. We hypothesized that rates of asthma exacerbations would decline following the national lockdown in Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: To determine weekly rates of in- and out-of-hospital asthma exacerbations before and during the social distancing intervention implemented on March 12, 2020.

METHODS: All individuals older than 18 years with at least 1 outpatient hospital contact with asthma as the main diagnosis from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2017, were included. Weekly asthma exacerbation rates from January 1, 2018, to May 22, 2020, were calculated. An interrupted time-series model with the lockdown on March 12, 2020, as the point of interruption was used.

RESULTS: A total of 38,225 patients with asthma were identified. The interrupted time-series model showed no immediate fall in exacerbation rates during the first week after March 12, 2020. However, there was a significant decline in weekly exacerbation rates in the following 10 weeks (change in trend for exacerbations requiring hospitalization: -0.75 [95% CI, -1.39 to -0.12]; P < .02 and in all asthma exacerbations: -12.2 [95% CI, -19.1 to -5.4; P < .001), amounting to a reduction of approximately 1 and 16.5 exacerbations per year per 100 patients in the cohort, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The introduction of the social distancing measures in Denmark did not lead to an immediate reduction in asthma exacerbation rates; however, a gradual decline in exacerbation rates during the following 10-week period was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020
JournalThe journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2086-2092.e2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Exacerbations
  • Lockdown
  • Social distancing


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