Sweden, one of the few countries that resisted a lockdown, claims its capital Stockholm is due to reach ‘herd immunity’ in weeks.
The controversial strategy which was considered by the UK Government at the start of the outbreak, was adopted by Sweden to build a broad base of immunity whilst protecting ‘high-risk’ groups.
Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist claims herd immunity in Stockholm is imminent.
Herd immunity as a strategy involves allowing some exposure to the virus to build immunity throughout the general population.
Dr Anders Tegnell, Chief Epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency said:
“In major parts of Sweden, around Stockholm, we have reached a plateau and we’re already seeing the effect of herd immunity and in a few weeks’ time we’ll see even more of the effects of that. And in the rest of the country, the situation is stable.”
Sweden has allowed the general public to go about their daily lives as normal without the restrictions we see here in the UK and most other countries in Europe and around the globe.
Herd immunity is usually achieved through vaccination as opposed to deliberate exposure to the virus and is deemed to be such when 60% of the population become immune.
There have been reports from around the globe, that some who have recovered from Covid-19 have been re-infected which has led to scepticism about the effectiveness of the herd immunity strategy.
Dr Tegnell has stated that 20% of Stockholm’s population is already immune to the virus.
He went on to say that “unfortunately the mortality rate is high due to the introduction of Covid-19 in care homes and we are investigating the cause of that.”
Sweden has a population of around 10million with over 15,000 confirmed cases – the majority of these being in Stockholm.
The country’s population density is sparse outside of Stockholm and this is a factor in how effectively the virus can spread.
Compared to neighbouring Denmark and Finland, deaths in Sweden are higher – around 2,000.
Comparatively, Finland has seen around 150 deaths and Denmark around 400 with both countries enacting lockdown measures.
Dr Tegnell also stated that:
“We are right now going out and doing countrywide tests on immunity to see what big differences we have in different parts of Sweden.”
“It’s a little bit of a mystery why nothing has really happened in other parts of Sweden.”
“The virus keeps on surprising us when it comes to this.”