Here’s how Sweden’s sweeping coronavirus strategy could save Christmas

Sweden’s strategy to fight the pandemic is singular: to avoid blockages to maintain the economy and to encourage collective immunity against the virus.

Jonathan Nackstrand / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

If Anders Tegnell is right, with a little holiday magic the Swedes may be able to trade in strict social distancing for a slightly more normal Christmas with family and friends this year.

The Swedish state epidemiologist told SVT, the public broadcaster, that the country may soon be ready to ease the isolation of the elderly in time for the winter holiday season, as the country hopes the pandemic of coronavirus is under control.

If Sweden relaxes its public health recommendations for older people, who are at high risk for coronavirus, it would signal another distinctive move by a country with a controversial approach to the pandemic.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United States by the tens of thousands a day and public debate rages on what restrictions, if any, should be imposed, all eyes are on the situation in the United States. Sweden. Can this snowy Nordic country save Christmas for its citizens?

Read it: Sweden hasn’t imposed lockdowns, but its economy is as bad as its neighbors

Strict social distancing recommendations for people over 70 are currently under review, Tegnell said, but as long as the trend remains positive in Sweden, families and friends should be able to get together over Christmas as long as they think about it properly and keep a few. distance.

The epidemiologist said existing recommendations would remain in place for the elderly and severely ill in nursing homes.

Also: Sweden has adopted collective immunity, while the UK has given up on the idea – so why do they both have high death rates from COVID-19?

Sweden’s strategy to fight the pandemic is singular: to avoid blockages to maintain the economy and to encourage collective immunity against the virus. Collective immunity is achieved when a sufficient portion of the population has been infected with the virus for collective immunity to prevent further spread.

Tegnell also rejected the need for people to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus, against the advice of the World Health Organization.

To concern: School returns to Wuhan

Nearly 1.4 million students returned to class in Wuhan, China this week. Jonathan Cheng of the WSJ explains how schools have reopened in the city where the coronavirus first appeared and what is at stake for Beijing if they are to close again. Photo: Aly Song / Reuters

Sweden’s coronavirus infection rate fell below 1,000 cases per day at the end of June and remained at around 150 cases per day this week.

Sweden’s approach is controversial as many people have already died and it remains to be seen how effective the fight for herd immunity is in the long term.

Read more: Sweden develops collective immunity, some country experts say, but figures say otherwise

Currently, 5,832 people have died from the virus in Sweden, which has a population of over 10.2 million. This compares to its Scandinavian neighbors, Denmark and Norway, both of which have a population of about half that of Sweden and a total of 890 deaths between them.

Sweden has a coronavirus death rate of 57.15 per 100,000, which is the tenth highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Denmark and Norway have a death rate of 10.80 and 4.97 per 100,000, respectively.


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