Sweden has passed the deadly milestone with 1,000 corona virus deaths, far ahead of its neighbors.
Officials say the peak could have come close, while scientists continue to question the government’s soft approach.
101 people died of coronavirus in 1 million people
The Swedish Public Health Agency (PHA) announced that the number of deaths for Covid-19 in the country was 1,203, as of April 15, or 101 deaths per million residents, compared to 51. in Denmark, 11 in Finland – two neighboring countries have imposed strict blockade early to contain the virus.
The death rate per million people in Sweden is also significantly higher than the 37 recorded in Germany , and the number is equivalent to 79 deaths in the United States , but lower than the 182 deaths per million people in the UK and far less than 348 in Italy and 386 in Spain.
Anders Wallensten, Sweden’s leading epidemiologist, said the number of new Covid-19 cases was beginning to decline and he was cautiously positive that Sweden had reached its peak. Meanwhile, government officials say the health system is coping with the situation.
Public opinion polls continue to show people’s support for the government’s strategy, which urges citizens to take personal responsibility for complying with distance-holding guidelines rather than strictly enforcing them. strict rules required.
While the authorities closed high schools and banned the gathering of more than 50 people, they also suggested – rather than giving orders, people avoid non-essential travel, working from home and in homes with people over 70 or feeling sick.
The statistics show that about half of Swedish workers are working from home, the use of public transport has decreased by 50% in Stockholm while the streets in the capital have been less crowded by about 70%. with the usual. However, Swedes can still shop, eat and drink in restaurants, have their hair cut and send their children under 16 years old to school even if a family member is ill.
The government refused to close primary and secondary schools – and the government’s insistence that only sick children should stay at home, made some families and teachers particularly worried.
Healthy students whose parents are worried about not attending school have been threatened to report to social services, while families and school-related staff have written open letters expressing their dissatisfaction with government policy and believe that this risks the lives of children, relatives, and school staff.
Swedish chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell describes the Swedish approach as an attempt to ensure “to slow the spread and to keep the health services from being overloaded”. He thought it was important that a part of the population be immune.
Mr Tegnell denied that he was seeking to establish a “rapid herd immunity” with the virus, a strategy initially used in Britain and the Netherlands before the soaring deaths caused these countries to change course.
Some experts speculate that Sweden’s approach to managing the spread of the virus may also be affected by the local demographic situation – more than 50% of households are single – and confidential The population is relatively low at about 25 people per km2, compared with 205 in Italy.
While the long-term impact is not yet known, Sweden’s strategy is not expected to help preserve its economic development this year, more than any other country taking measures. Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on April 15 that GDP could fall 10% this year and unemployment would rise to 13.5%.
The strategy also faces stiff opposition from some of its own scientists. A team of 22 doctors, virologists and researchers on April 14 criticized the health authorities in an article published in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
“There is a need to change completely and quickly the approach,” the expert group emphasized. “When the virus spreads, it must increase the social distance. Closed schools and restaurants. People who work with older people must wear full protective clothing. Isolate the whole family if one member is infected or tested positive.
Mr. Tegnell dismissed criticism and argument over numbers. Previously, he had said that Sweden and its neighbors were in different positions on the curve, and that Sweden unfortunately had a large spread in care facilities for the elderly, which was not captured meet in other Nordic countries.
The chief epidemiologist has repeatedly stressed that the world is still unclear about the coronavirus, he asserted that while Sweden could record more cases in the short term, it would not face the risk of infection. The infection increased greatly as many other countries removed the blockade.