Sweden’s Herd Immunity Response to CoVid-19: Thoughts

For the CoVid-19 response, Dr Anders Tegnell, a Swedish epidemiologist, advised the Swedish government to remain open, and allow Swedes to auto-inoculate, what is called “herd immunity”. The resulting death toll would be much higher, but there would be more natural immunity in society. It was a bold step that countered the rest of the world, who locked down their societies.

Dr Tegnell is now saying that his response could have been better, with other politicians ready to criticize him. His response was a brave outlook in an experiment that has yet to end. Death rates aside, there is still as yet no vaccine.

Responses to CoVid-19 from countries has been varied. Most Western countries have locked down businesses and schools, told people to stay at home, flatten the curve, and not have their hospital systems overwhelmed. Other countries, such as Brazil, have done almost nothing. Sweden had cancelled university classes and banned gatherings over 50. Otherwise it was life as usual. Its death rate, at this time is far higher than neighbouring Finland, Denmark and Norway.

Sweden’s 4,468 fatalities from Covid-19 represent a death toll of 449 per million inhabitants, compared with 45 in Norway, 100 in Denmark and 58 in Finland. Its per-million tally remains lower than the corresponding figures of 555, 581 and 593 in Italy, Spain and the UK respectively.

Sweden’s response is in line with other countries. Of course it could have done better, as all countries could have done better. It’s response in care homes is not ideal, but this is true for all countries. We can only, at the end of this journey, judge Sweden’s response. Until then this is one of the variations that mankind has taken in response to a killer virus.

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