Over the previous yr, Anders Tegnell has turn into the figurehead of Sweden’s standalone strategy to combating the coronavirus – each revered and criticised. In a latest contentious opinion peace, he argued that lots of the measures will stay related, but the restrictions can be felt much less and fewer, as individuals will finally adapt.
Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has shared his ideas on the outgoing and incoming yr in a column for the newspaper Dagens Industri.
According to Tegnell, Sweden was hit exhausting as a result of many introduced the virus from overseas – not essentially from China, however from totally different locations. During February and March, shut to 1 million Swedes travelled to international threat areas, similar to Italy and Austria, Tegnell famous.
“In a short time, we had a spread throughout society. We then focused on limiting the spread of infection as much as possible. This succeeded relatively well, except in elder care”, Tegnell argued.
The state epidemiologist singled out the unfold of the coronavirus in nursing houses, the place many residents have been contaminated by their carers. The majority of the almost 8,300 Swedes who’ve died so removed from COVID-19 have been over 70 years outdated, with half of them having lived in specialised housing. This, based on Tegnell, is the explanation for Sweden’s increased loss of life toll than its neighbours.
According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Sweden’s loss of life charge is 817 per a million inhabitants, in contrast with solely 77 in neighbouring Norway, which has recorded solely 421 deaths. Sweden additionally stands out when it comes to face masks utilization, which is neither compulsory nor as widespread as in different components of Europe.
At the identical time, Tegnell was hesitant to make predictions for 2021.
He emphasised, nonetheless, that Swedes should study to reside with the coronavirus.
Sweden has come beneath fierce inside and worldwide criticism for its dealing with of the pandemic. It took the nation a very long time to introduce any measures, and in contrast to most European international locations that shut down main components of their societies, Sweden persistently shunned any lockdowns.
Professor Björn Olsen of the University of Uppsala, a staunch critic of the Swedish strategy, who claimed that the Swedish authorities failed to grasp the seriousness of the scenario, reiterated his criticism, suggesting that the pandemic wasn’t dealt with effectively sufficient, permitting an expansion that would have been averted.
Olsen burdened that it took far too lengthy for Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to react. When the second wave of infections was on its approach this summer season, Löfven and Tegnell nonetheless believed within the since-debunked concept of herd immunity.
“It is a question of what kind of crystal ball they had, but I think it was quite murky. There were many who predicted that there would be an increased spread of infections”, Olsen informed nationwide broadcaster SVT, slamming the expectation that the nation could be much less affected on account of inhabitants immunity. “But we don’t have that, it’s only a few percent”, Olsen stated.
On social media, Swedes blasted Tegnell for losing his time on writing opinion items and failure to mandate or not less than suggest masks utilization. Some went as far as to name him a “murderer”.
“Anders Tegnell is not a fortune teller but an epidemiologist. Also, one must understand that a pandemic with a new virus is extremely unpredictable and is not like a weather forecast”, a consumer growled.
Earlier this month, King Carl XVI Gustaf, who is usually a symbolic determine, made a uncommon assertion, arguing that Sweden’s response had “failed”.
Despite criticism and controversy, Anders Tegnell retains a excessive stage of confidence, 59 %. It have to be added although that this can be a file low for the epidemiologist who at his peak loved a rock star approval of 72 %.