Sweden, which has attracted the world attention with its policy less strict in the face of the coronavirus, is facing now a number near record of new cases of COVID-19 in the european Union. But the authorities ensure that the epidemic is slowing down.
Among the 27, the nordic kingdom advanced in the past two weeks to the few coveted second place of the new cases per million inhabitants registered, behind Luxembourg, according to data compiled by AFP. With a ratio of new contagions six times higher than the EU average, and close to the european home of the most active currently, in the Balkans.
According to the official estimates, nearly a Stockholmois in five is currently carrying antibodies – a ratio superior to any other country, even if Sweden has always advocated to seek the herd immunity.
For the public health Agency, which led the original strategy and controversial in the country, this increase of new cases is largely as a result of an increase in the number of tests performed.
“If you increase the number of tests, you will find more cases, said to AFP the epidemiologist Anders Wallensten, echoing the defense of the criticism of Donald Trump in the United States.
But unlike the u.s. case, Sweden has arguments to assert that it does not undergo a sharp rise in the epidemic. Firstly, the deaths and hospitalizations are on the decline, and secondly, the proportion of positive cases among those tested has declined – from 12% in June to 6% in mid-July.
Unlike most european countries, Sweden has never confined its population, preferring to keep the schools for the under 16 open, as well as cafes, bars and other restaurants. The mask, almost invisible for months in the streets of Stockholm, has been mandatory in practically any public place.
The authorities, who have banned gatherings of more than 50 people and the visits to the retirement home, called to responsibility: distancing physical, strict application of the rules of hygiene, isolation in case of symptoms. Testing massive have started gradually in early June.
At 31 may, the kingdom had recorded 39 160 cases. The 15th of July, this number had nearly doubled to reach 76 492. At the same time, the number of deaths has increased by only some 20%, to reach 5 572, a figure considerably higher than the balance of the other nordic countries.
In the Face of this outbreak of new cases, the world health Organization had classified at the end of June the nordic kingdom among the countries of “strong resurgence” in the event of a COVID-19, about criticized by the Swedish authorities.
The epidemiologist-in-chief Anders Tegnell, face of the strategy for Swedish, had talked about a “bad full interpretation” of the data.
The public health Agency has argued repeatedly that this increase is primarily comprised of milder cases, which might previously have gone unnoticed – the tests are initially reserved for severe cases.
To Karin Tegmark Wisell, an officer of the public health Agency, this decrease of severe cases would result to a better adaptation of the society to protect the vulnerable people from the virus.
“People have learned to identify with the disease, keep their distance, and also to better protect the groups at risk,” she says to AFP.
Lack of tests
Despite the doubts over pregnants and the closed door of many countries to the Swedish visitors, Sweden continues to defend his approach in the face of a crisis that promises to be long-term, emphasizing that the confinement brutal decided elsewhere are not sustainable in the long term.
Antoine Flahault, director, Institute of global health from the University of Geneva, the error of Sweden has certainly not been its policy of non-containment, but rather slow to intensify the tests.
“What is really a shame for Sweden, it is that it has not combined this ambitious policy with testing massive”, he says, pointing out that the number of deaths today in Sweden is significantly higher than the european average.