- Sweden hit hard by the third wave
- Fall highest in Europe behind San Marino
- Deaths are still below the European average
STOCKHOLM, April 13 (Reuters) – The number of new COVID-19 infections in Sweden has jumped to the second highest in Europe after landlocked San Marino, data showed on Tuesday, as the Scandinavian country that has avoided lockdowns throughout the pandemic faces a third wave of cases.
The number of patients treated in Swedish intensive care units has now increased after the peak of the second wave around the turn of the year. The country has registered 19,105 new cases since last Friday, health care statistics showed.
Sweden had 625 daily new cases per million inhabitants on a rolling seven-day average, statistics from OurWorldInData showed on Tuesday, second only to San Marino, a small nation surrounded by Italy.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increased spread in Sweden. We will see how this week turns out, but it is definitely a high spread and no signs of a decrease,” says Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at a press conference.
Deaths remained at a relatively low 1.7 daily deaths per million people, below the European average of 4.3 deaths.
“We have increased the spread but also vaccinations that act as a break. With these two forces together, we have a relatively even death rate,” said Tegnell.
The country with 10 million inhabitants has administered 2.1 million shots so far.
Sweden registered 39 new deaths, which means a total of 13,660. The registered deaths have occurred for several days and sometimes weeks.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than in its Nordic neighbors, but lower than in most European countries that have chosen lockdown.
Tegnell also said that Sweden would decide how Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) (JNJ.N) COVID-19 vaccine will be used in the next few days, following reports of rare blood clots similar to those reported for the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) shot .
US health authorities have recommended pausing the use of the J&J vaccine after six recipients developed a rare disease with blood clots. After the news, J&J said that it delayed the roll-out of the vaccine to Europe. L4N2M62S2
The move comes a week after European regulators said they had found a possible link between the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) COVID-19 vaccine and a rare thrombosis problem that led to a few deaths. Read more
Sweden will receive its first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine later this week. It paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March but later resumed use in people aged 65 and over.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Simon Johnson
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