Sweden’s public health agency admits its earlier prediction that the country’s Nordic neighbours such as Finland and Norway would suffer more in the autumn appears wrong. It is reported by the Financial Times.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell argued that Sweden’s initial high death toll from Covid-19 would be followed in the second wave by “a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low”.
However, Sweden is currently faring worse than Denmark, Finland and Norway on cases, hospitalisations and deaths relative to the size of their population.
Hospitalisations from Covid-19 are currently rising faster in Sweden than in any other country in Europe, while in Stockholm — the centre for both the first and second waves in the country — one in every five tests is positive, suggesting the virus is even more widespread than official figures suggest.
"So far Sweden’s strategy has proven to be a dramatic failure," said Lena Einhorn, a Swedish virologist and prominent critic of its strategy. "Four days ago we had eight times higher cases per capita than Finland and three and a half times more than Norway. They were supposed to have it worse off than us in the autumn because we were going to have immunity."
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, said it was a "big mystery" who had immunity from coronavirus and who did not.
But he insisted Covid-19 was a "long-term haul" and that having a sustainable strategy that could work for many months or even years was the most important thing.
Sweden is persisting with its strategy of standing out from other European countries by not ordering a formal lockdown. Instead, the public health agency issues recommendations on social distancing, hand hygiene, and working from home. It is the only European country not to compel people to wear face masks outside hospitals.
As we reported earlier, approximately 70% of the world’s population should be immunized to ensure the end of the pandemic, the chief scientist of the World Organization of the Health (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan stated.
Although it remains to be seen how effective future vaccines will be, Swaminathan and the director of the WHO Immunization Department, Kate O’Brien, estimate that this would be the ideal percentage, although the goal by 2021 is to reach 20%.