Sweden's coronavirus infection rate is more than double that of the UK, Germany or Spain and the death rate is again the highest in the Nordic countries as their light touch strategy is gradually being undermined by more stringent new measures.
Some parts of Sweden have infection rates similar to the worst hotspots in Europe, and cases have not decreased after the second wave, as in the UK, France and many other European countries.
After the death rate in Sweden fell to levels similar to Denmark, Norway and Finland in the summer, it is again the highest of the four, with 1,000 new deaths last month.
While Sweden is still against a full lockdown, its actions during the second wave are more similar to the rest of Europe, with schools closed, alcohol sales restricted and gatherings limited to eight people.
Sweden's average infection rate per million people is now higher than the UK, France, Spain, Italy or Germany, having only been the lowest of the five on November 2nd. Sweden is imposing stricter measures than in the spring, including an eight-person limit on public gatherings
Sweden started the fall with numbers of just 100 cases and just a handful of deaths a day after numbers dropped from their summer peak without a lockdown.
However, since the end of September, cases have risen relentlessly. There were 5,000 cases per day over the past week, which gives Sweden a higher infection rate than any major country in Western Europe.
The current Swedish rate of 346 cases per 100,000 people per week is more than double that in Germany (155), Great Britain (151) or Spain (121).
On November 2, the infection rate in Sweden was lower than in the UK, France, Germany, Italy or Spain, but in large parts of Europe, cases have fallen again after the introduction of new bans.
In Sweden, the rate of increase has slowed, but cases have not yet decreased. A new high of 35,783 new infections was recorded last week.
According to Expressen, Skane County, which includes Malmö and Helsingborg, has a similar contagion as the hardest hit places in Europe, said statistician Henrik Persson.
The number of deaths has also risen steadily. A total of 7,000 people were killed on Thursday – more than Denmark, Norway and Finland combined.
The current Swedish average is 55 deaths a day, up from 12 a month ago, although it is still below the high of 107 at the peak of the crisis in April.
When adjusted for the population, Sweden's overall mortality rate is no worse than that of major Western European countries such as Great Britain and France.
With the recent surge in cases, the infection rate in Sweden is now higher than the UK, France, Germany, Italy or Spain.
Some parts of Sweden have infection rates comparable to those of the hardest hit locations in Europe and shown in darker colors on this map
Helsingborg's theaters, libraries and concert halls have closed, and outbreaks have affected some schools, affecting up to one in three employees.
Monday is the first day of school closings across Sweden, which are expected to last until January 6th. Kindergartens and primary schools remain open.
PM Stefan Lofven announced the closure to "slow the spread of infections" after high schools previously closed from March to June.
Lofven previously spoke of a “new norm” for Swedish society where people were told, “Don't go to gyms, don't go to libraries, don't have dinners. Cancel. & # 39;
Swedish officials have long argued that their strategy is long-term, as softer measures are longer accepted by the public.
But Lofven said in November that "too many of us have neglected to follow the advice and recommendations this fall".
Lofven told people to "only get together with those you live with" or no more than "a friend or two" for people who live alone.
The public gathering limit was lowered from 300 to eight as infections skyrocketed in November.
During the spring the limit for public gatherings was 50, and Stockholm's parks were full of people even at the height of closings in the rest of Europe.
People were walking under Christmas decorations on a shopping street in Stockholm last week after the Swedish Prime Minister said people's discipline waned in the fall
Alcohol sales also stopped after 10 p.m., similar to what happened in many European countries during the second wave.
However, the Swedish Health Department has continued to downplay the effectiveness of face masks.
The agency cites limited evidence of its effectiveness, and concerns that masks could serve as an excuse for not isolating when symptoms occur.
Face masks may be required in some situations. These situations have not yet arisen in Sweden, ”said chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell on Thursday.
"All of the studies to date suggest that keeping your distance is far more important than having a face mask," he said.
Tegnell has been scrutinized domestically and internationally after spearheading the no lockdown strategy.
However, the Swedish economy has been dampened by the less draconian measures and the Riksbank is expected to shrink only 4.0 percent this year.
The European Central Bank has estimated that the eurozone economy will contract by 8.0 percent, while UK GDP is expected to decline by 11.0 percent.
Sweden now hopes to start vaccinations in late December or early 2021 after signing up for five of the six shocks in the EU's common procurement system.
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