Swedish Experiment Is Faltering, Says Its Chief Epidemiologist
Sweden has tried a radically different approach to the coronavirus. It didn’t close down its economy, life went on as usual, with people still going to bars and restaurants but encouraged to practice social distancing, which some people honor and others don’t. The theory was that the people of Sweden would develop “herd immunity” and escape the ravages of the disease.
But now the chief epidemiologist, who designed the strategy, is horrified by the number of deaths, according to Newsweek. The death rate in Sweden is higher than the death rate in the United States, and considerably higher than in Denmark, Finland, or Norway.
Cases of the novel coronavirus in Sweden have reached at least 23,918, with its death count at 2,941, as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from the country’s health ministry.
“We are starting to near 3,000 deceased, a horrifyingly large number,” noted the chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s public health agency, Anders Tegnell, at a press conference on Wednesday.
Tegnell, who has been leading the country’s COVID-19 response and previously defended the nation’s decision not to impose a lockdown, this week admitted he was “not convinced” the unconventional anti-lockdown strategy was the best option to take….
Tegnell told Aftonbladet the virus posed a minimal risk to children. He reportedly claimed there are nearly no cases among children globally, claiming that those who died following infection had severe underlying health conditions.
Contrary to Tegnell’s claim, while there are fewer confirmed cases among under-18s, there have been several cases among children, including in Sweden. At least 118 confirmed infections among those aged 9 or younger and at least 282 confirmed cases among those aged between 10 and 19 have been reported in Sweden, as of Thursday…
Sweden has, by far, the largest number of cases and fatalities in Scandinavia, compared with its neighbors Denmark, Norway and Finland, which each have 10,281, 7,996 and 5,573 confirmed cases, respectively, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The daily death toll for Sweden is projected to reach potentially as high as nearly 150 by May 11, while up to 1,060 deaths have been projected for this week, according to the latest projection model by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. The team consists of Imperial College London, the WHO (World Health Organization) Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis and J-IDEA (Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics).
Yet Sweden is the only infected European country to not issue a strict lockdown, a strategy which aimed to develop “herd immunity” by increasing the number of people exposed to the virus in a bid to avoid a second wave of cases.
But the move has come under criticism by other countries as well as within the nation.
Speaking to Newsweek, a 33-year-old mother based in the city of Lund in southern Sweden, Allyson Plumberg, said: “I don’t think the Swedish response has been adequate. No recommendations for face mask usage in elder care homes (where the bulk of deaths have occurred),” in an email interview.
She added: “Even children with pre-existing medical conditions are not officially considered at-risk for COVID19. It is now well-known that children can become very ill (and even die in rare circumstances) from COVID-19, even without pre-existing conditions. There is still a mandatory school attendance (ages 6-15) for healthy children in Sweden.
“This means healthy teachers are also pressured to continue showing up in the classroom. We now see that teachers have died, and households with in-risk members are more desperate than ever to protect the health of their families.
“Overall, it seems like Sweden avoids adherence to the precautionary principle whenever possible,” she said.