Anders Tegnell, who previously criticized other countries’ tight closings as unsustainable in the long term, said on Swedish radio on Wednesday that “there is obviously room for improvement in what we have done” in Sweden. .
When asked if too many people had died in Sweden, he replied, “Yes, absolutely,” adding that the country should look into the future if there is a way to prevent such a toll.
Figures suggest that the country’s per capita death rate was the highest in the world in the seven days before June 2. This week, the Swedish government, bowing to pressure from the opposition, promised to set up a committee to review its Covid-19 strategy.
“If we were to encounter the same disease again knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would be content to do something between what Sweden has done and what the rest of the world has done”, said Tegnell. It would be “good to know exactly what to stop to better stop the spread of infections,” he added.
According to the online scientific publication Ourworldindata.com, the number of Covid-19 deaths per capita in Sweden was the highest in the world on a seven-day moving average as of June 2. The rate of 5.29 deaths per million population per day in the country was much higher than that of 4.48 in the United Kingdom.
Relying on the sense of civic duty of its citizens, Sweden closed schools for everyone over the age of 16 and banned gatherings of more than 50 people, but only asked – rather than ordered – people to ” avoid non-essential travel and not to go out if they are old. or sick. Shops, restaurants and gymnasiums remained open.
Although there are signs that public opinion is beginning to change, polls have shown that a large majority of Swedes support and generally abide by the government’s less coercive strategy, which stands in stark contrast to the mandatory bans imposed by many countries, including Sweden’s northern neighbors.
But the policy, which Tegnell said was not aimed at obtaining collective immunity but at slowing the spread of the virus enough for health services to cope, has been increasingly and strongly criticized by many Swedish experts .
The 4,468 deaths in Sweden at Covid-19 represent a death toll of 449 per million, compared to 45 in Norway, 100 in Denmark and 58 in Finland. Its total per million remains below the corresponding figures of 555, 581 and 593 in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom respectively.
Norway and Denmark announced last week that they are removing mutual border controls, but that they will temporarily exclude Sweden from a northern “travel bubble” due to its much-increased coronavirus infection rate higher.
Tegnell told Swedish radio that it was not yet clear exactly what the country should have done differently, or whether the restrictions it imposed should have been introduced simultaneously rather than step by step.
“Other countries started with a lot of measures at once. The problem with that is that you don’t really know which of the actions you have taken is the most effective, “he said, adding that conclusions should be drawn about” what else besides what we did, you could do without imposing a total stop. “
Despite the stated goal of protecting the country’s elderly, Sweden’s strategy has been particularly catastrophic for this age group, with almost half of the deaths in the country so far in nursing homes.
Annike Linde, Tegnell’s predecessor as chief epidemiologist from 2005 to 2013, said last week that she initially supported the country’s strategy, but began to reassess her views as the virus swept through the population aged.
“There was no strategy at all for the elderly, I understand now,” Linde told the Swedish public broadcaster. “I don’t understand how they can stand up and say that the level of preparation was good, when in fact it was ugly. “