Has Sweden’s second wave begun? Cases on the rise in Stockholm worrying about alleged ‘herd immunity’
- The chief epidemiologist said new measures for Stockholm cannot be ruled out
- Anders Tegnell also claims that success against the winter flu has caused a high death toll
- It comes after the region warned by the capital’s chief health officer has seen an increase in cases
- It has raised concerns as to whether Sweden has achieved any ‘herd immunity’
Sweden debates enforcing new coronavirus restrictions for Stockholm amid a spike in infections.
The country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, said new measures for the capital cannot be ruled out.
It came just hours after the city’s top health officer warned that the region has seen an increase in the number of cases.
The news has raised concerns about whether or not Sweden has achieved ‘herd immunity’.
Meanwhile, Tegnell claimed that the country’s success in fighting last year’s winter flu was the cause of the high number of deaths from the coronavirus.
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell (pictured), said new measures for the capital cannot be ruled out
Sweden’s strategy of emphasizing personal responsibility rather than major lockdowns to slow the virus has been harshly criticized as the number of deaths increased in the spring.
Infections dropped significantly in the summer, and they had been spared the kind of sharp increases in new cases seen in Spain, France and Great Britain this month.
But about 1,200 new cases and five deaths have been reported as of Friday, compared to about 200 cases per day in recent weeks.
The increase in new cases cannot be explained by increased testing alone, the Public Health Agency said Tuesday.
Tegnell, who devised Sweden’s pandemic strategy, said: “The moving average is up a bit.
‘It hasn’t affected healthcare yet. The number of new cases in the ICU is very low and the number of deaths very low. ‘
However, Tegnell said new measures for the capital could not be ruled out because of the spike.
He said: ‘We are having a discussion with Stockholm about whether we should take measures to reduce the spread of infection. We will come back to that in the coming days. ‘
The Scandinavian nation was the only country in Europe that did not implement strict lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Crowds are walking in Stockholm this week
What is ‘Herd Immunity’?
Herd immunity is a situation where a population of people is protected from a disease because so many of them are not affected by it – because they have already had it or have been vaccinated – that it cannot spread. To cause an outbreak, a pathogenic bacteria or virus must have a continuous supply of potential victims who are not immune to it.
Immunity is when your body knows exactly how to fight a certain type of infection because it has encountered it before, either through having the disease in the past or through a vaccine. When a virus or bacteria enters the body, the immune system makes substances called antibodies, which are designed to destroy a specific type of bug.
Once created, some of them remain in the body and the body also remembers how to recreate them. In addition to T cells, antibodies provide long-term protection or immunity against disease. If no one is immune to a disease – as was the case at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – it can spread like wildfire.
But if, for example, half of people have immunity – from a previous infection or a vaccine – there are only half of that to whom the disease can spread. As more people become immune, the beetle finds it increasingly difficult to spread, until its pool of victims becomes so small that it cannot spread at all.
The herd immunity threshold is different for different diseases depending on the infection.
Earlier on Tuesday, Stockholm’s top health official warned that the region had seen an increase in the number of cases.
Bjorn Eriksson, Director of Health and Medical Services in Stockholm: “The downward trend has been broken.
‘We can only hope that this is a blip, that the spread will decrease again. That depends on how well we follow the guidelines. ‘
Sweden has 5,870 deaths, far more per capita than its Scandinavian neighbors, but lower than countries like Spain and Italy that opted for hard lockdowns.
The country kept schools open to children under 16, banned gatherings of more than 50 people, and told people over 70 and vulnerable groups to isolate themselves.
Shops, bars and restaurants have remained open throughout the pandemic and the wearing of masks has not been advised by the government.
Tegnell now claims that the country’s success against seasonal flu last winter has been the cause of the high Covid death toll.
He told Dagens Nyheter: ‘If many people die from the flu in the winter, fewer will die from heat waves the following summer. In this case, it was Covid-19 that caused many to die.
‘What we have seen is that the countries that have had a fairly low flu mortality in the last two or three years, such as Sweden, have very high excess mortality in Covid-19.
Those with high flu mortality, such as Norway, have a fairly low Covid mortality. The trend can be seen in several countries.
This may not be the whole explanation, but part of it. That also explained the high mortality rates in the UK and Belgium. ‘
The virus has ripped through care homes in Sweden, causing nearly half of all deaths in them.
Prime Minister Stefan Lofven even confessed in May that the country had not done enough to protect vulnerable people.
Tegnell admits serious mistakes have been made in care homes, but doesn’t believe a lockdown would have helped.
He claims residents who escaped the winter flu have died from the corona virus.