Sweden’s top virus expert: ‘No point in wearing a face mask’

Sweden's top virus expert: 'No point in wearing a face mask'

Sweden’s top epidemiologist says that the total number of active coronavirus cases are declining very fast and in this particular situation, he finds it absolutely unnecessary to wear face masks.

“That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” said Anders Tegnall in a report by Fortune.

As other countries are experiencing a renewed outbreak of coronavirus cases, the latest number of active cases in Sweden shows that the country has brought the number under control.

According to The Health Agency of Sweden, since reaching a peak in late June, the rate of the active cases has fallen significantly. That’s amid the increase in testing over the span of time. “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero,” Tegnell said.

There have been lots of controversies over Sweden’s strategy to not follow a complete lockdown procedure. This unusual strategy coincided with the large rate of morbidity rate in the Nordic zone. Per 100,000, Swedish deaths exceeded even those in the US and Brazil.

According to Tegnell, Sweden’s decision to not issue a complete lockdown is still the right decision as the virus could be around for years, and shutting down everything for that long a time is not a practical solution.

The World Health Organization, which has been criticized for supporting China’s cover-up of the virus outbreak, has advised the widespread use of face masks.

Tegnell also said, “I think to a great extent it’s been a success. We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working, there have been free beds at any given time, never any crowding in the hospitals, we have been able to keep schools open which we think is extremely important, and society fairly open — while still having social distancing in place in a way that means that the spread of the disease has been limited.

The failure has of course been the death toll … that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities.”

Now the question appears here is⁠—why is the mortality rate so high in Sweden? With the total population of 500 million people, this country sits just below the UK and Italy, but far above Norway and Denmark. Dr. Tegnell has stated various reasons which are really valid. “With its larger migrant populations and dense urban areas, Sweden is actually more similar to the Netherlands and the UK than it is to other Scandinavian countries; he believes the Swedish counting system for deaths has been more stringent than elsewhere; also, countries are at different points in the epidemic cycle so it is too early to compare totals.”

When Dr. Tegnell was asked about the reason behind not following the complete lockdown, he said, “I am not sure that it is easy to say that lockdown would make the difference … in many ways we have had a very stringent lockdown in Sweden. We have cut down on movement in society quite a lot: we have compared how much we travel in Scandinavian countries, and the decrease in travel is the same in Sweden as in neighbouring countries … In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries. So I don’t think complete lockdown is the way to go for all countries … the rapidly declining cases we see in Sweden right now is another indication that you can get the number of cases down quite a lot in a country without having a complete lockdown.”

According to Tegnell, the rise in cases in other countries that thought they had the virus under control is “worrying.”

Spain, Romania, and Belgium are among such countries that are experiencing a rebound.