Coronavirus: Despite High Death toll Swedish Government is Defending its Approach

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( — May 27, 2020) —  Despite the fact that the country is among the top six in the world when looking at deaths compared to population – Sweden is there with 409 deaths per million inhabitants, the Swedish government is confident in its approach to combating the coronavirus pandemic without quarantine.

Foreign Minister Ann Linde said at a briefing with foreign media correspondents that the transmission of the virus is “slowing down, and the number of patients in intensive care is significantly decreasing.” However, medical data says that Sweden is among countries that have been severely hit by the global pandemic.

Sweden can hardly justify its maximally relaxed approach to the pandemic by intending to save the economy from falling into recession because more than 76,000 people lost their jobs in the past two months, and the unemployment rate of 7.9 percent is expected to continue to grow.

The so-called Swedish model initially attracted the attention of the whole world, but with the increase in the number of deaths, its justification was increasingly called into question. Opponents of such an approach have now received strong support from the former leading epidemiologist in the country Annika Linde, who has publicly criticized the position of health authorities.

Dr. Linde, says that in order to save lives, especially the elderly population, Sweden should abandon its less restrictive model and follow methods that other countries have been applying, the Guardian reports.

Dr. Linde led the state epidemiological service from 2005 to 2013, when Sweden successfully overcame the Sars and swine flu epidemics, and she said that she was provoked by statements by health agency leaders that Sweden’s approach to COVID-19 would be the best in the world, regardless of the number of victims.

“I don’t think it can go on like this anymore. Such a denial of reality could make it impossible for us to act rationally,” Dr. Linde said. “I think that we needed more time for preparedness. If we had shut down very early … we would have been able, during that time, to make sure that we had what was necessary to protect the vulnerable,” added Dr. Linde.

It is still, however, too early for the Swedish government to draw conclusions about which country was successful and which was not during the pandemic.

“This is not a sprint, but a marathon. It is good that all experts can say what they think. There is complete freedom of speech in Sweden,” was the answer of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the question of how she commented on the statements of Dr. Annika Linde.

For two days last week Sweden had the highest per capita death rate in the world on a seven-day rolling average, and the overall death toll is expected to surpass 4,000 this weekend.