- Sweden’s chief epidemiologist said that Sweden’s strategy without suspension led to low excess mortality.
- He acknowledged that vaccines were the only way out of the pandemic.
- Experts have been critical of Sweden’s response to the pandemic.
Sweden’s foremost epidemiologist stood firm on the country’s attitude to the pandemic, even after facing harsh criticism from experts and the King of Sweden.
Anders Tegnell said that Sweden had made some mistakes in its approach to the pandemic, but “did not go very badly at all” overall.
He commented an interview with Unherd, a UK website focusing on contradictory reporting.
The country’s chief epidemiologist made headlines when Sweden caught the world’s attention for resisting the introduction of strict lockdowns to control the spread of the virus, instead it is up to the residents to choose what to do.
Reuters reported in March that preliminary data from the EU statistical office Eurostat suggested that Sweden had an excess mortality rate of 7.7% for 2020, compared with 18.1% and 16.2% for Spain and Belgium.
As I said, other Nordic countries embraced locking and achieved lower excess mortality than Sweden. Norway did not register any unnecessary deaths in 2020, according to the article in Reuters.
Commentators have suggested that it is fair to compare Sweden with its closest neighbors because it shares relevant functions such as population density, climate and lifestyle.
Tegnell admitted that Sweden made assumptions about the degree of immunity needed to control the virus that was not achievable.
“There was definitely a need for a much higher level of immunity in a population that can only switch through vaccination to control this disease in a reasonable way. That’s definitely true – we did not see that.”
He also noted that “a high level of vaccination is the only way we can get out of this pandemic.”
Vaccines are very effective against severe disease and death from COVID-19.
Tegnell defended the decision to let children go to school in Sweden. He claimed that children there “have definitely been affected by the pandemic, but to a much lesser extent than children would have been if we had closed the schools.”
Insider previously reported that experts criticized Sweden’s approach.
The main criticism was that Tegnell had predicted that the cases would remain “quite low”, but instead they nailed it down, with deaths reaching 145 for every 100,000 people.
The figure was three times more than in Denmark, eight times more than in Finland and almost ten times more than in Norway, Insiders’ Aria Bendix reported earlier.