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Monday, June 8, 2020

Oops! Swedish head epidemiologist "admits mistakes"

Thanks to a non-blogging friend, I found this article from Bloomberg (my quote is from the Bloomberg headline) about Anders Tegnell, the epidemiologist directing Sweden's coronavirus strategy, which has been widely praised by conservatives. The policies followed by the government were much less strict than those of neighboring countries, allowing restaurants and schools to stay open, among other things.

Unfortunately, as I've reported here, this has had the effect that Sweden has one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, at 465 deaths per million (DPM) as of its June 8th reporting. This is an increase of 29 DPM in just the last week which, as I predicted on June 2, let it pass France for the world's fifth deadliest outbreak. By way of comparison, only five countries in all of Asia have a higher death rate over the entire COVID-19 outbreak than Sweden has had in a week. The highest death rate among Sweden's Nordic neighbors is 102 DPM in Denmark. The lowest Nordic death rate is Iceland's 29 DPM. Finland and Norway fall in between at 58 DPM and 44 DPM, respectively.

Now, per the Bloomberg article, Tegnell says Sweden's approach for a future pandemic should "land somewhere between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done." The lack of specificity did not go unnoticed by Lena Hallengren, minister for health and social affairs. She complained that Tegnell had not said what else the country should have done.

Meanwhile, in the United States, all the states are relaxing their previous restrictions, though some much more rapidly than others. While the country has now had several days in a row with fewer than 1,000 deaths, it still has about 20,000 new cases daily. Between states' rush to open up and the massive Black Lives Matter protests, I think we will see a spike in new cases shortly.

Back in Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has promised a full investigation into the Tegnell-designed pandemic response and resulting death toll. Stay tuned.


  1. They never concealed the risks of their approach and then admitted to their mistake as soon as it became apparent. Conservatives take note.

  2. I think that's a bit too charitable. IMO the death toll has been too high for quite some time, and in May, Sweden had the highest increase in death rate (173 deaths per million) of any country in the world. The choice of the wrong strategy has been apparent for at least a month, and they are just now admitting it.