Sweden was not prepared for a second wave of coronaviruses because its top virus expert practiced “wishful thinking,” said its predecessor.
Annika Linde, Sweden’s state epidemiologist until 2013, said Anders Tegnell was wrong when he predicted that herd immunity built up in the summer would protect the country when winter comes.
That approach skyrocketed cases and deaths on MondayPrime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that the meetings will be limited to a maximum of eight people.
Sweden was not prepared for a second wave of coronaviruses because its best virus expert had practiced “wishful thinking”, as its predecessor said (picture: 7-day average infections in Sweden).
The death toll in Sweden is now skyrocketing (see figure), despite the country’s virus expert predicting it will do better than others in winter
Mr Lofven said Swedes should also avoid going to gyms and libraries and cancel planned dinner parties.
“This is the new norm for all of society,” he said. ‘It’s going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility for stopping the virus from spreading. ‘
The new restriction on gatherings, which ranges from 50 to 300 people depending on the event, comes into effect on November 24th.
Gatherings in private homes are not affected, as the government has no power to ban them. However, the ministers have advised against contacting anyone outside your household.
Speaking about the situation in Sweden ahead of the announcement, Linde told The Telegraph: “Wishful thinking – if you don’t believe in the worst case scenario – has guided Swedish decisions too much.
‘The Swedish authorities have been slow all along. Instead of being proactive, they chased after the virus and the virus was able to spread too much before they took action. ‘
Tegnell boasted in the summer that Sweden’s lockdown-free virus strategy was reducing cases because people developed natural immunity.
He predicted that as a result, the country would be better protected in winter than countries like Norway, which had imposed lockdowns.
But last week he was forced into a humiliating climb, admitting that “it did not develop as we thought it would over the summer”.
Sweden now has much higher infection rates than Norway. The daily cases double in 14 days and the hospitals are filling faster than any other country in Europe.
Linde said the government should have started preparing for the second wave in late summer by cracking down on large gatherings and insisting on wearing masks.
This would have reduced the number of “seeder” cases in the population as autumn came when respiratory infections typically circulate much faster.
Instead, it took Tegnell until October 20 to issue the first local restrictions. According to Linde, the government remained in retreat.