Death increased to 1,333, Sweden still against ‘different’ Covid-19

A sign outside a bar in Stockholm on March 26: "I assure you we are still open." Photo: Reuters.
A sign outside a bar in Stockholm on March 26: "I assure you we are still open." Photo: Reuters.

The Swedish Public Health Agency said it had recorded 130 more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from Covid-19 to 1,333 cases.

So the number of deaths in the last 24 hours in Sweden is less than the previous day (170), but the number of infections on April 16 has increased by almost one and a half, 613 cases, compared to 482. of yesterday, according to the Guardian.

The country of Scandinavia has recorded 12,540 cases of Covid-19. 996 people are being treated in intensive care.

Trust the majority of people to comply with the recommendations

With a death rate higher than 10%, the Swedish government continues to freeze the country, despite criticism that current measures are not enough.

Bars and restaurants remain open as well as elementary schools, and the government only prohibits activities that gather over 50 people.

“The people of Sweden have great faith in government agencies. This means that the majority of people will adhere to the recommendations,” officials said.

More than 5,000 cases have been recorded in the capital city of Stockholm and the surrounding area, making it the center of the country’s epidemic.

The corona virus mortality rate in Sweden is far ahead of its neighbors, with 101 deaths per 1 million inhabitants, compared with 51 in Denmark, 11 in Finland – two neighboring countries put strict blockade early to control the virus spreading.

The death rate per million people in Sweden is also significantly higher than the 37 recorded in Germany, and the number is equivalent to 79 deaths in the US, but lower than the 182 deaths per 1 million person in the UK. and far less than 348 in Italy and 386 in Spain.

“Authorities and the government do not believe that the disease will come to Sweden,” Bo Lundback, an epidemiology professor at Gothenburg University, told AFP on April 15.

Lundback and 21 other researchers spoke in an article in Dagens Nyheter on April 14 urging the government to reconsider and take drastic and swift measures to combat the epidemic.

“Sweden is too weak or not even prepared,” Lundback told AFP.

Nursing homes and immigrants are the hardest hit

However, government officials insist their plan is sustainable in the long run, and refutes drastic short-term measures, arguing that it is not effective enough to justify the impact. of them to society.

Last week, Swedish health officials said that 40% of deaths falling in the Stockholm region – the epicenter of the disease – could be traced to nursing homes. Accordingly, half of all nursing homes in the capital have reported cases of viral infections. One-third of the cities in the country confirm the cases in nursing homes, state radio said in early April.

Meanwhile, the government is confused in explaining the outbreak.

“We still don’t know the cause, but there are not many options right now,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren said in the Dagens Nyheter article earlier this month.

Swedish people can still shop, eat and drink in restaurants. Photo: AFP.
Swedish people can still shop, eat and drink in restaurants. Photo: AFP.

“Either a visitation ban has not been enforced or staff who have symptoms, or do not think they have symptoms, are still working,” the minister wrote.

According to the director of the Center for Health and Aging at Gothenburg University, Mr. Ingmar Skoog, the situation and working conditions of Swedish nursing home workers can help explain the spread patterns of the epidemic. sick. Employees here often receive low salaries and under contracts, they are not paid if they work from home when mild symptoms appear.

In neighboring Finland, employees in aged care facilities have better social security, who can take time off work when they are sick.

Virus in Sweden also disproportionately affects foreign residents – Public Health Agency points out that the situation does not matter whether it is people from Africa, Europe or the Middle East.

In contrast, health authorities in neighboring Norway said there was no such phenomenon in the country, and there was no sign that the expatriate community was affected by the virus.

AFP said the figures released last week confirmed some of Stockholm’s worst-hit neighborhoods – where many immigrants live, had three times more infections than the rest of the country. capital.

Gina Gustavsson, an associate professor of political science at Uppsala University, said the government showed “disturbing ignorance” or a lack of concern for people of different social backgrounds.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven admitted to SVT TV over the weekend that “the country’s preparation was not good enough”.

Some experts speculate that Sweden’s approach to managing the spread of the virus may also be affected by the local demographic situation – more than 50% of households are single – and confidential The population is relatively low at about 25 people per km2, compared with 205 in Italy.

While the long-term impact is not yet known, Sweden’s strategy is not expected to help preserve its economic development this year, more than any other country taking measures. more stringent blockade. Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on April 15 that GDP could fall 10% this year and unemployment would rise to 13.5%.