Sweden saw a record number of new Wuhan coronavirus infections in the last week, with over 9,000 new confirmed cases, as deaths due to the virus topped 5,200.
Last week the Scandinavian country saw 9,094 new cases of the Chinese virus, according to figures released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization. The increase is the largest weekly rise in Sweden since the start of the global health crisis and contrasts with neighbouring countries which have seen a reduction in infections.
Sweden, which has a population of 10.2 million, now has 636.71 coronaviruses infected per 100,000 people, compared to neighbouring Denmark which has just 218.31 cases per 100,000 people, Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten reports. Sweden’s coronavirus death toll of 5,280 also dwarfs the 604 deaths in Denmark, a country that has 5.1 million people.
Swedish Virus Deaths 'Catastrophically High' But Herd Immunity Not on Horizon https://t.co/dCU3qCmaY5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 23, 2020
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist and head of the country’s coronavirus response, said that the increase could be explained by increased testing. He also criticised the WHO for putting Sweden on a list of major centres for coronavirus infection, claiming there had been a “misinterpretation” of the data.
While Sweden’s move not to undertake restrictive lockdown measures has been praised by some, it has been criticised by others, including members of the Swedish medical community.
In April, Björn Olsen, Professor of Infectious Medicine at the University of Uppsala, predicted that the Swedish policy would lead to “tragedy”. Professor Olsen said he “would not estimate how many I fear could die. It can be 5,000 or 10,000. What is happening now is that Sweden is heading towards a tragedy.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 17, 2020
Six academics, including Professor Olsen, later signed a letter in late May saying: “Our situation from a global perspective must be considered disastrous. If the Public Health Authority does not address this fact, it is high time that the decision-makers in our country, government, and parliament do so.”
Sweden has also received criticism from abroad, including Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki who commented: “The world’s richest countries have started to choose which patients should receive care and which should not receive care. This is because of the lack of hospital beds, respirators, no proper equipment and no medical personnel. This so-called Swedish model, a Darwinian model, we have not even thought of introducing.”