Posters of the chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency, Mr Anders Tegnell, are plastered all over the capital Stockholm. They mostly carry the message Tvätta Händerna, meaning wash your hands.
The man who decided not to lock down the nation and simply keep everything open is hailed as a hero to the personnel of Swedish restaurants, hotels, cafés and shops who saw their economy humming along nicely.
Even though Sweden had more deaths than it’s neighboring countries Denmark and Norway, it will normally achieve the so desired group immunity as from next month. Many in Europe are now left to wonder. Was Sweden right all along? Should we simply have left everything open?
Mr Johan Giesecke, the now retired mentor of Mr Tegnell, gave a remarkable interview last month in which he explained that those who would perish from Coronavirus would have otherwise done so a few months later anyway and that most of the healthy population would overcome the disease with no problem.
He therefore understood that Mr Tegnell had advised the Swedish government not to install a lockdown and simply keep everything open.
Group immunity by mid-June
Anyone who has contracted the new coronavirus has built up some sort of immunity against it, provided that the carrier is in good health. The more people that are in this condition, the less chance Covid-19 has of spreading.
Until now, mathematicians stated that at least 60 percent of the population must have been infected with the virus in order to slow it down and eventually stop its spread. But research by Swedish mathematician Tom Britton from Stockholm University now suggests that 40-45 percent would already be doable to stop the spread.
That would mean that Stockholm, where about a quarter to a third of the population would have had the virus at this point, can reach group immunity by mid-June.
London, Paris and Madrid
In most other European countries, who did lock down their economies, some 6% of the population have now been infected. If they continue a lockdown, they would achieve group immunity in two years or so, and their economy would be destroyed.
In Sweden the situation is very different, certainly in the most densely populated area of the country, the capital Stockholm. Due to its loose approach, which mainly counts on the voluntary cooperation of the population to, for example, keep a distance, Sweden has three to seven times more corona deaths than the other Scandinavian countries in relation to the number of inhabitants (about ten million). 3,313 Swedes died of Covid-19, about half of them in retirement homes (still a lower per capita death rate lower than those of Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom). But in Stockholm about 26 percent would already have been infected with the corona virus and 40 percent would be in the works for next month.
Calculations therefore estimate that in a month from now, the Swedish capital Stockholm would achieve the so desired group immunity. London, Paris and Madrid can only look on with envy.