As Sweden’s COVID-19 Measures Hint At Herd Immunity, US Experts Rethink Lockdown Strategies


As Sweden continues to enjoy a falling COVID-19 infection rate, leading health experts have suggested the country’s decision not to lock down or require masks has resulted in herd immunity, according to MarketWatch.

Strict rules do not work as people seem to break them,” said Arne Elofsson, a professor of biometrics at Stockholm University, adding “Sweden is doing fine.”

Anders Tegnell, an epidemiologist involved in managing Sweden’s pandemic, thinks masks give a false sense of security: “The belief that masks can solve our problem is very dangerous.”

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven thinks voluntary social-distancing rules and not closing schools but banning gatherings of more than 50 people has been the right approach.

Now there are quite a few people who think we were right,” he told a newspaper. “The strategy that we adopted, I believe is right — to protect individuals, limit the spread of the infection.” –MarketWatch

According to the European CDC, Sweden has an infection rate of 37 cases per 100,000 people – far lower than France’s 60 per 100,000 and Spain’s 152.7 cases per 100,000 despite imposing months of lockdowns of varying degrees.

And while the New York Times (in July) and MarketWatch (in June) said that Sweden’s economy is doing ‘just as bad’ as countries which imposed lockdowns, the BBC pointed out earlier this month that Sweden’s economy ‘only’ contracted 8.6% in the April-June period vs. the previous three months, while the European Union saw a contraction of 11.9% over the same period based on newer economic data.

Meanwhile, lockdowns and the ensuing economic fallout have had a significant impact on mental health.

A new approach?

As Sweden’s model for dealing with COVID-19 appears to have survived its trial by fire, other countries are now rethinking blanket lockdowns as they weigh the economic impacts against health risks, according to the Wall Street Journal. Some of their thinking agrees with Sweden’s, while several points of disagreement exist. The Journal also notes that “Sweden’s current infection and death rates are as low as the rest of Europe’s, suggesting to some experts the country may be close to herd immunity.” – READ MORE

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