Sweden returns back to normal life as coronavirus cases surge across Europe, even with no face mask and no lockdown. Can Sweden be a model for the rest of the world?
The data is in. Sweden has proved the experts wrong. Back in July, we wrote a piece about how herd immunity seemed to be working for Sweden. The tiny Scandinavian country, which never had a lockdown, saw its COVID-19 cases going down at a time when countries across Europe are seeing alarming surges in daily coronavirus infections.
When the world locked down, Sweden stayed opened. The U.S. and many other parts of the world are seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, but that’s not the case in Sweden, which never went into lockdown. So, what lessons can the rest of the world learn from Sweden’s Covid-19 experience? Can Sweden be a model for the rest of the world? As France and Spain see a surge in new coronavirus cases, the number of coronavirus cases continues to go down. France currently averages nearly 12,000 cases a day while Spain has passed 700,000 cases.
More than three months after our story, it is now crystal clear that herd immunity does work for Sweden. According to daily death cases data for Sweden, the number of deaths has been going down since July 25. Now the new normal is the old normal and there is no “second wave.”
Sweden’s contrarian approach to coronavirus is successful the country received rare praise from the World Health Organization (WHO). The Scandinavian country could “provide lessons for the global community,” a senior World Health Organization official said.
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has insisted the aim was not to achieve rapid herd immunity but to slow the spread enough for health services to cope. The crisis was ‘a marathon, not a sprint’, he has repeatedly said, arguing Sweden’s approach may prove more sustainable than lockdowns.
As of September 14, Sweden has its lowest rate of positive tests since the virus emerged, leading many to question whether the Nordic country’s controversial herd immunity approach and ‘relaxed’ approach to lockdown paid off. As of writing, Sweden has a total of 86,505 coronavirus cases and 5,846 deaths.
“Our strategy has been consistent and sustainable. We probably have a lower risk of the spread here compared to other countries,” said Jonas Ludvigsson, professor of epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, adding that Sweden likely had a higher level of immunity in the population than most countries. “I think we benefit a lot from that now,” he said.
Sweden, a country with a population of 10 million people, has received a lot of criticisms for its so-called “herd immunity.” At the beginning of this pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended China’s containment model a way to slow the spread of the virus. However, Sweden took the opposite approach by keeping its economy open. The daily life of Swedish people continues largely as normal as the country’s health authorities took a radically different approach to tackle the virus.
Swedish health agency director-general Johan Carlson told a news conference that the Swedish guidelines were designed to be easy to understand and retain for an extended period. To date, a total of 5,846 Swedish people have died from COVID, a number that is higher per capita than the neighboring Nordic countries but lower than Italy, Spain, and the UK.