In just a few short months Anders Tegnell, architect of Sweden’s unique response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has gone from unknown physician and technocrat to a household celebrity in Sweden and in countries around the world. He is beloved by some (people have even had tattoos made with his face) and intensely disliked by others. Today he is suntanned and relaxed, having just returned from his summer holiday, and wearing an open-necked polo shirt. Here is a summary of what he said:
- In terms of migrants, travel and urban areas Sweden is more similar to the Netherlands and the UK than Norway or Finland
- Lockdown may have made a difference, but closing schools and people being out of work is also bad for public health
- Numbers of new infections arriving at the same time seems to make a big difference, so Stockholm half-term travellers to the Alps a big factor for Stockholm epidemic
- Eradication is not an option, ‘we have to learn to live with this disease’
- Evidence for masks still very weak, and they may yet be counterproductive. With all the trends going sharply down, it would make no sense to introduce them now
- Additional immunity such as T cells playing a substantial role in slowing spread – ‘what we see right now is a rapid fall in the number of cases, and of course some kind of immunity has to be involved in that as nothing else has changed.’
- Sweden will be better placed than other countries to limit further waves and outbreaks because of higher immunity
- IFR of Covid-19 in final account will be 0.1% to 0.5% - “and that is not radically different to what we see with the yearly flu”
- Judge me in a year, he says.
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