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Herd immunity does NOT work in Sweden: A study found that only 7% of people in Stockholm had covid antibodies


According to a study, only 7.3 percent of people in Stockholm developed COVID-19 antibodies at the end of April.

The Swedish study could fuel concerns that a decision not to block Sweden against the pandemic could result in low herd immunity in the near future.

The strategy was supported by chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who recommended voluntary measures against the virus.

Sweden's decision not to impose a mandatory ban like other European countries has divided opinions at home and abroad.

Only 7.3 percent of the people in Stockholm developed COVID-19 antibodies by the end of April, questioning the country's herd immunity approach. Pictured: People are sitting outside in Stockholm earlier this month

The Swedish strategy of keeping most schools, restaurants, bars and shops open has been criticized

Mortality rates were much higher than in the Nordic neighbors, although they were much lower than in countries such as the UK, Italy and France that closed.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit in Sweden has decreased by a third compared to the peak in late April, and health authorities say the outbreak is slowing.

However, Sweden has had the highest number of Covid 19 deaths per capita in Europe in the past seven days.

The antibody study examined the potential for herd immunity, a situation in which enough people in a population have developed immunity to infection to effectively stop the spread of this disease.

Sweden's decision not to be blocked during the coronavirus pandemic like in large parts of Europe was supported by chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell

Sweden's decision not to be blocked during the coronavirus pandemic like in large parts of Europe was supported by chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell

The results were roughly in line with models that predicted that a third of the population of the Swedish capital would now have the virus and where at least limited herd immunity could have been used, the Swedish health authority said on Wednesday.

Tegnell said: & # 39; It's a bit lower (than expected), but not remarkably lower, maybe a or a few percent. It fits the models we have pretty well. & # 39;

However, the herd immunity concept has not been tested for the novel coronavirus, and the extent and duration of immunity in recovered patients are also uncertain.

The study was based on around 1,100 tests from across the country, although only figures for Stockholm were released.

While health officials stressed that herd immunity is not an end in itself, it also means that the strategy is only to slow the virus down so that health services can cope with it and not to suppress it altogether.

Britain's per capita mortality rate in the past week (5.57 deaths per million) is only slightly better than Sweden's, even after two months of inactivity (6.08)

They said that countries that use wholesale barriers to prevent exposure to the coronavirus may experience outbreaks again as restrictions are relaxed and more vulnerable to every second wave of the disease.

The World Health Organization has warned not to place hopes on herd immunity. In global studies last week, antibodies were found in only 1 to 10 percent of the population. The results are consistent with the latest results in Spain and France.

Björn Olsen, professor of infectious medicine at Uppsala University, is one of a dozen scientists who have criticized the response to the Swedish pandemic and have described herd immunity as a "dangerous and unrealistic" approach to dealing with COVID-19.

"I think herd immunity is still a long way off if we should ever reach it," he told Reuters after the antibody findings were released.

The Swedish approach, which is based on the belief that the coronavirus can be slowed down but not completely suppressed, is reflected not only in an aversion to quarantines and closures, but also in the decision to do relatively little testing and contact tracking.

This graph shows forecasts for the rest of 2020, with UK GDP falling more than Swedish - while Britain has a larger budget deficit due to the cost of supporting the economy. Britain will also have a current account deficit related to trade, showing the flow of goods, services and money between countries. However, the EU expects a higher unemployment rate for Sweden this year

This graph shows forecasts for the rest of 2020, with UK GDP falling more than Swedish – while Britain has a larger budget deficit due to the cost of supporting the economy. Britain will also have a current account deficit related to trade, showing the flow of goods, services and money between countries. However, the EU expects a higher unemployment rate for Sweden this year

This chart shows how the UK economy has already been hit by the pandemic, with a sharp drop in GDP, retail sales, industrial production and construction - even if the latest figures show only a short phase of closure. The UK's unemployment rate has risen only marginally in recent figures, but separate statistics show that the number of people applying for universal loans has increased by almost 70 percent

This chart shows how the UK economy has already been hit by the pandemic, with a sharp drop in GDP, retail sales, industrial production and construction – even if the latest figures show only a short phase of closure. The UK's unemployment rate has risen only marginally in recent figures, but separate statistics show that the number of people applying for universal loans has increased by almost 70 percent

The tests are largely limited to hospital cases and healthcare workers. The weekly test numbers are still less than a third of the government's target of 100,000, a much lower per capita rate than Sweden's Nordic counterparts and below that of most Western European countries.

In the meantime, the number of fatalities has increased, which was exacerbated by the failure to protect the elderly and infirm in a country famous for its welfare state.

Helen Gluckman, 55, cried bitterly when she told how her 83-year-old father died from a COVID-19 infection that he contracted in a nursing home after admitting untested patients.

She said: "We don't know what will happen when other countries open up, but at the moment you can't help but think that Sweden has really failed. There are now more than 3,000 dead. That is a terrible number. & # 39;

After the 30,000 mark was passed, the death toll in Sweden in the pandemic reached 3,831, more than three times the total of Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland, all nations with similar welfare systems and population groups.

While others were locked out to save time, critics like Olsen say Sweden had done "too little, too late". They say that his laissez-faire approach, which also downplayed the risks of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19, was catastrophic for the elderly.

The government remains firmly convinced that the high death toll per capita in Sweden is not due to the lack of a national ban.

Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hellengren, defended the strategy and said that most Swedes voluntarily minimized their social interactions and movements outside the home.

She said: "The Swedes really changed their behavior."

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