40 percent Stockholm residents were expected to produce antibodies to the coronavirus by May. However, nothing of the sort happened. Has the Swedish experiment failed?
A recent article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine indicates that so far Sweden has more infections, hospitalizations and deaths than neighboring countries. This does not change the fact that, according to researchers, it is necessary to wait even two years for the proper assessment of decisions made by different countries as to how to fight the pandemic.
Sweden becomes a perch
Sweden as the only country in Europe decided not to introduce any lockdown. The economy in the country did not stand still, and residents were only given recommendations to limit contact with others and refrain from leaving home in the event of any infection. While the rest of the world was implementing strict measures to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible, Sweden was essentially working as before, which sparked interest and concern around the world.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief virologist, assumed that by controlling the spread of the coronavirus, society would gain so-called herd immunity, which will inhibit the increase in the number of new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to his forecasts, this way by May 40 percent. Stockholm residents had already contracted the disease and made antibodies to the coronavirus. The latest estimates show that only 15% of immunity has gained. city residents.
A likely reason for this is that antibodies are detected in people who have had a severe form of the disease. People who have had a mild history of illness very often do not produce antibodies and thus do not become immune and may fall ill again. Such patients therefore do not contribute in any way to the development of herd immunity.
Sweden stays true
On Thursday, Tegnell announced that the situation in Sweden is stable and that there are no plans to introduce recommendations regarding the use of masks. In justifying such a decision, the virologist said that in his opinion it was a wise decision to keep the restrictions unchanged, unlike other countries where the lockdown is introduced, then it is abandoned, and now its introduction is planned again.
I don’t think there’s a need to cover your face in Sweden. It’s much better to avoid the crowds and work from home than to wear a mask and have a false sense of security because of it, adds Tegnell.
The coronavirus pandemic has presented all countries in the world with a challenge that no one was prepared for. No wonder then that each country had to develop its own way of dealing with the disease in a short time. Some countries without hesitation introduced restrictions related to movement, social distance or the use of masks covering the mouth and nose. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, resisted the introduction of such severe restrictions for a long time, which led to a significant deterioration of the situation.
Sweden stood on the other end and limited itself to recommending the reduction of people-to-people contacts as far as possible, but decided not to close any sectors of the economy. Although the number of cases in Sweden is high (to this day, 83,852 people fell ill in Sweden), it is not as high as expected by epidemiologists a few months ago.
Apparently, we will actually have to wait a few more years to assess whether the strategy implemented by Anders Tegnell has been successful.
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The Swedish experiment did not bring the expected results. Herd immunity is not on the horizon