The epidemiologist who led Sweden’s controversial COVID-19 response, which didn’t contain a strict lockdown, now says that the nation ought to have finished extra to cease the unfold of the virus, in line with information reviews.
“If we were to run into the same disease, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would end up doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist of the Public Well being Company of Sweden, informed Swedish Radio on June 3, in line with Reuters.
As in contrast with different nations in Europe, Sweden took a relatively relaxed method to COVID-19 by selecting to not institute strict lockdown insurance policies, NPR reported in April. With no necessary quarantine in place, museums, bars, eating places, gyms, malls, faculties and nightclubs remained open whereas residents have been inspired to comply with pointers for private hygiene and social distancing.
Well being officers additionally banned gatherings of 50 or extra individuals, really helpful that residents keep away from nonessential journey and inspired these over age 70 to remain dwelling as a lot as potential. In late March, Sweden prohibited residents from visiting nursing houses, however the measure didn’t forestall the virus from reaching aged care services all through the nation.
As of June 4, Sweden has reported greater than 4,500 deaths related to the virus, in line with the Johns Hopkins virus dashboard, and about half of these deaths occurred amongst aged individuals residing in nursing houses, Reuters reported.
The development had already emerged in April, when Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S., Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, informed NPR, “Once we know how the virus got into our elderly care facilities, the government can make recommendations and take measures to try to stop that, because that is the biggest tragedy of all this, that it has gotten into the nursing homes.” Now, greater than a month later, nursing houses nonetheless bear the brunt of Sweden’s COVID-19 deaths.
“We have to admit that when it comes to elderly care and the spread of infection, that has not worked,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven informed Swedish newspaper The Aftonbladet Every day, in line with Reuters. “Too many old people have died here.”
In late Could, Sweden’s general COVID-19 mortality price was estimated at 39.57 deaths per 100,000 residents; on the similar time, the U.S. mortality price was estimated at 30.02 deaths per 100,000 residents, in line with NPR. Norway and Finland, each bordering Sweden, instituted stricter lockdown measures than their neighboring nation, and on the time, every had fewer than six COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents.
The analysis group Ourworldindata.org now estimates that Sweden has the eighth highest variety of coronavirus-related deaths per capita, Reuters reported.
Upon setting their COVID-19 technique, Swedish officers together with Olofsdotter predicted that the nation would possibly attain so-called herd immunity earlier than nations below lockdown, in line with NPR. Herd immunity refers to some extent at which so many individuals achieve immunity to a virus, both via pure infections or vaccinations, that the general danger of recent infections turns into very low. With too few individuals to contaminate, the virus can not unfold quickly.
With out an accepted vaccine, consultants estimate that 60% of the inhabitants must develop into contaminated and get well from COVID-19 to attain herd immunity — assuming that each an infection grants strong immunity that does not shortly wane via time, NPR reported. Nonetheless, an antibody survey conducted in Stockholm instructed that fewer than 7.5% of town’s residents had been uncovered to the virus as of mid-Could.
With herd immunity on the distant horizon, and almost 41,900 confirmed instances up to now within the nation, Tegnell stated he nonetheless stands by Sweden’s unique COVID-19 technique.
“We continue to believe the strategy is good but then there are always improvements one can make, especially if you look back over time,” he stated throughout a information briefing, in line with Reuters. “It would be strange if you gave a different answer to that question.”
Then again, Bjorn Olsen, a professor of Infectious Medication at Uppsala College, referred to as the technique “one of Sweden’s biggest embarrassments and most tragic events” in an interview with Reuters. “As long as people are dying, we must try to change.”
Tegnell did say that, in hindsight, Sweden ought to have performed far more widespread diagnostic testing and sooner, Reuters reported. Olsen echoed this level and added that the nation ought to broaden its capability for contact tracing, to trace and isolate new instances of an infection earlier than they unfold.
Initially printed on Live Science.