Sweden, Which Never Had Lockdown, Sees COVID-19 Cases Plummet as Rest of Europe Suffers Spike
BY SOO KIM ON 7/30/20 AT 8:43 AM EDT

Amid fears over a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus across Europe, new infections in Sweden, where full lockdown measures were not implemented, have mostly declined since late June.

The number of new cases per 100,000 people in Sweden reported over the last 14 days since July 29 dropped by 54 percent from the figure reported over 14 days prior to then, according to the latest report Wednesday from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, other parts of Europe have reported large spikes in new cases over the same period, including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, which have seen increases between 40 and 200 percent over the last month, according to the latest WHO report Wednesday.

The seven-day rolling average of Sweden's daily new cases has been dropping consistently since June 29. Its daily case count has been mostly decreasing since June 24, when it reported 1,803 new infections, its largest single-day spike since the outbreak began, according to data compiled by Worldometer.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths in Sweden has also been declining since around April 15, when it reported a record daily death count of 115. The country's latest seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily new deaths stand at 154 and 2.

However, the Scandinavian nation ranks eighth among countries with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people. It outranks the U.S. and Brazil, which are the world's first and second worst-hit nations in terms of total cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Last week Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden's public health agency, who has led the country's COVID-19 response, said the nation's controversial anti-lockdown strategy has been a success "to a great extent," in an interview with UnHerd.

While an official lockdown was never ordered, Tegnell noted: "We have cut down on movement in society quite a lot. We have compared how much we travel in Scandinavian countries, and the decrease in travel is the same in Sweden as in neighbouring countries. In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries.

"We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working, there have been free beds at any given time, never any crowding in the hospitals.

"The failure [of the strategy] has of course been the death toll…that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities," Tegnell said.
Sweden has a high number of very elderly people in various kinds of facilities. Some are smallish but some are huge. Most of the deaths happened to that age group. It didn't really happen that way to very elderly people living on their own or with family.

"Flattening the curve" is also the same as saying that curve will be much longer. It's debatable whether or not that is desirable now that we know that ventilators are not the most useful treatment for seriously ill patients.

Newsweek