Sweden is still not far from herd immunity, although it has not been blocked

People sit in a restaurant in Stockholm on May 8, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.

The figure, which the Swedish public health authority has confirmed to CNN, is roughly similar to other countries that have data and well below the 70-90% needed to create “flock immunity” in a population.

It comes after the country has adopted a very different strategy to stop the spread of coronavirus in other countries by imposing only slight restrictions on daily life.

Leading Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said the number was “slightly lower” than expected “but not significantly lower, perhaps one or a couple of percent.”

“It matches pretty well with the models we have,” he added, while speaking at a press conference in Stockholm.

The study conducted by the Swedish Public Health Agency aims to determine the potential immunity of the flock in the population, based on 1,118 tests carried out in a week. It aims to run the same number of tests every seven days over an eight-week period. Results from other regions will be announced later, a spokesman for the Public Health Authority said.

Sweden adopted a different strategy than the other Nordic countries during the pandemic, choosing to avoid a blockade and keep most schools, restaurants, salons and bars open. However, he asked people to refrain from making long journeys, placing an emphasis on personal responsibility.

The strategy was initially criticized by Swedish researchers, who claimed that the attempt to create herd immunity had little support. But authorities denied that achieving herd immunity was their goal.

Herd immunity it is reached when the majority of a certain population – from 70 to 90% – becomes immune from an infectious disease, both because it has been infected and cured, and through vaccination. When this happens, the disease is less likely to spread to people who are not immune, because there are not enough infectious carriers to reach them.
No community has yet achieved this goal and a vaccine “will lead to herd immunity faster” than infections, said Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T. H. Chan in a recent study. interview with The World of Public Radio International.
A healthcare professional cleans and disinfects an ambulance after leaving a patient at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Danderyd hospital near Stockholm on May 13.

The percentage of people with antibodies in Sweden is not far from that of other countries that imposed the blockade. In Spain, 5% of people had developed antibodies to coronavirus by May 14, according to preliminary results from a government-run epidemiological study.

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According to Martin Kuba, an official Jihocesky region in the Czech Republic that led a randomly selected mass test for coronavirus among the general public and frontline operators, initial results showed that the percentage of people who had the disease settled on a “single figure” instead of “percentage fraction”.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, estimated earlier this month on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon that between 5% and 15% of people in the United States have been infected.

He said coronavirus was about to circulate and infect at least 60% to 70% of the population before it slowed down, but warned that the country had “a long way to go” to reach herd immunity. A report he wrote with other epidemiologists and a historian estimated that this will likely take 18 to 24 months.

Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergency Program, said that the concept of herd immunity was a “dangerous calculation”.

Pedestrians and cyclists cross a bridge in the heart of Stockholm on 11 May.

When asked if he would be comfortable with immunity passports based on his company’s tests, CEO of Swiss pharmacist Roche Severin Schwan told CNN’s Julia Chatterley: “I believe we are in a world with many ambiguities , and we also need to make decisions about incomplete information. Therefore, I believe it is valuable information, but we should not completely rely on it.

On April 24, leading epidemiologist Tegnell told BBC radio that the authorities believed that Stockholm had “a level of immunity … between 15 and 20% of the population”.

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He said the strategy “worked in some respects … because our healthcare system has been able to cope. There has always been at least 20% of the ICU beds empty and able to take care of Covid patients. -19 “.

Asked if Sweden’s approach will help him resist a possible second wave, Tegnell said he believed he would.

“It will certainly affect the reproduction rate and slow down the spread,” he said, but added that it would not be enough to achieve “herd immunity.”

But Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Peter Lindgren, managing director of the Swedish Institute for Health Economics (IHE), said last month that it failed to prevent large numbers of deaths in nursing homes.

Sweden it has now had 32,172 cases and 3,871 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


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