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Added: Ulises Valladares - Date: Peter M Nilsson does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Sweden has adopted a relatively relaxed strategy, seemingly assuming that overreaction is more harmful than under-reaction.

Although the government has now banned gatherings of more than 50 peoplethis excludes places like schools, restaurants and gyms which remain open. Let s have Sweden and more m now are taking sides, with some arguing that publicly criticising the authorities only serves to undermine public trust at a time when this is so badly needed. Others are convinced that Sweden is hurtling toward a disaster of biblical proportions and that the direction of travel must change. The truth is that of all these opinions, none is derived from direct experience of a global pandemic.

No one knows for sure what lies ahead. In epidemics, prediction models help guide the choice of interventionsassess likely social and economic impacts, and estimate hospital surge capacity requirements. All prediction models require input data, ideally derived from past experience in comparable scenarios. And we know the quality of such input data is poor. But demographics and patterns of social interactions differ from country to country.

Sweden has a small population and only one real metropolitan area. But with a two-week lag between diagnosis and death, this a very blunt instrument with which to guide decision making. This is the extent to which hospitals will need to boost their capacity to deal with the high of very ill COVID patients that are likely to need specialist care in the coming weeks. From these simulations, it is clear that the Swedish government anticipates far fewer hospitalisations perof the population than predicted in other countries, including Norway, Denmark and the UK. The reason appears to be that Swedish authorities believe there are many infected people without symptoms and that, of those who come to clinical attention, only one in five will require hospitalisation.

At this point, it is hard to know how many people are asymptomatic as there is no structured screening in Sweden and no antibody test to check who has actually had COVID and recovered from it. But substantially underestimating hospital surge requirements would nevertheless be devastating.

On the other hand, some other geographical areas are relatively spared, at least for the moment. There is no doubt that the epidemic will spread, but the speed of this is disputed. The national Public Health authorities are also sceptical about the need for lock-down in most of the country, but discussions are now ongoing to enforce such an intervention in the capital area. There are several arguments supporting the current official Swedish strategy.

These include the need to keep schools open in order to allow parents who work in key jobs in health care, transportation and food supply lines to remain at work. Despite other infectious diseases spreading rapidly among children, COVID complications are relatively rare in children. A long-term lockdown is also likely to have major economic implications that in the future may harm healthcare due to lack of resources. This may eventually cause even more deaths and suffering than the COVID pandemic will bring in the near term.

A century ago, Sweden was recovering from the first world war, even though the country stayed neutral. Internal transportation and communication systems were less developed than in many other countries at the time, which helped slow the spread of the epidemic. In the short term, this was perceived to be a good thing, but because herd immunity — whereby enough people have been infected to become immune to the virus — had not been initially achieved, there were at least two additional epidemics of the Spanish flu virus within a year.

The second wave of infections had a higher mortality rate than the first wave. Learning the lesson from this, many people in Sweden are now optimistic that it can achieve herd immunity. This may be quickly achieved in countries that do not have intensive mitigation or suppression strategies.

This may also lower the risk of further waves of the epidemic. This would take into not just the loss of lives from the pandemic, but also longer term social and economic negative consequences and the deaths they may cause. Ultimately, given the uneven and relatively modest spread of the virus in Sweden at the moment, its initial strategy may not turn out to be reckless. But going forward, Sweden is likely to have to impose stricter restrictions depending on how the virus spre, especially in metropolitan areas or when the healthcare system is under severe strain.

Be Curious — Leeds, Leeds. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom.

Personals in Natadola for flings

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