- A study comparing coronavirus exposure in London and Stockholm casts more doubt on herd immunity.
- She found that both capitals had the same infection rate – 17% – earlier in the summer.
- This is despite the fact that the UK and Sweden have very different approaches to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Unlike the UK and most other countries, Sweden decided against strict blockade measures.
- This decision was made in part in the belief that herd immunity was achievable.
- Sweden’s state epidemiologist predicted that 40% of Stockholm would have antibodies by May.
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Stockholm and London both had the same levels of coronavirus infection earlier in the summer, according to a new study, casting even more doubt on the theory of herd immunity.
Unlike most European countries, Sweden did not implement strict blocking measures in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Instead, it allowed shops, bars and restaurants to remain largely open and students to attend school.
The UK like most other countries imposed a nationwide blockade, with Boris Johnson’s governments closing offices, schools and the hospitality industry, and restricting social contact between individuals.
Sweden’s epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, widely credited as the architect of the country’s controversial response to the pandemic, justified Sweden’s response by saying that countries that imposed severe blockades would most likely experience major second waves later in the day. year, while Sweden would be smaller.
In April, he predicted that by May 40% of people in the Swedish capital Stockholm would have developed coronavirus antibodies.
However, a study conducted by University College London academics and published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, estimated that the infection rate in Stockholm in April was actually around 17% – the same level as in London, according to the analysis of tests conducted in the capital of England in April and May.
The study presents another challenge to herd immunity – the theory that a population will become immune to the coronavirus when at least 60% of people catch it.
Sweden decided against the strict blockade measures in part in the belief that this level of infection was achievable in the foreseeable future.
Dr Simon Clarke, a professor of Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, told the Daily Mail: of the lack of a blockage or inhibition of people’s freedoms, but it was nothing but an idea that lacked supporting data.
“The Swedish experience of trying to achieve this, compared to the responses of other Nordic countries, resulted in a much larger number of infections and deaths per capita, in addition to a prolonged outbreak,” he continued.
“These findings should provide a welcome warning that attractive concepts and theories require supportive data when people’s lives are at stake and should not be used to conform to premeditated narratives.”
5,770 people in Sweden have died after testing positive for the coronavirus since Wednesday morning, giving it one of the highest death rates in Europe per capita.
The figure is much higher than in neighboring countries with similar political systems and social customs. Its death rate per capita is more than five times that of Denmark, more than 11 times that of Norway, and almost 10 times that of Finland.
The UK is “almost on the same path” as Sweden
There is currently insufficient evidence that coronavirus antibodies provide immunity to the virus. People who catch a virus usually develop antibodies, which can be measured by tests.
It is not clear, however, whether antibodies provide total – or even partial – immunity to COVID-19, or how long such an effect may last.
A study done by Kings College London published last month found that while 60% of people with coronavirus had “strong” antibodies, only 17% had the same level of strength three months later. The strength of the antibodies dropped by 23 times over three months and in some cases the antibodies were undetectable at the end of that time period.
The findings put “another nail in the coffin of the dangerous concept of herd immunity,” said Jonathan Heeney, a professor of virology at Cambridge University.
The government of Prime Minister Johnson in the UK has initially denied trying to pursue a herd immunity strategy before being warned it would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
An Italian health minister in June said Johnson revealed his plan to pursue herd immunity in a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 13, just over a week before the UK entered a nationwide blockade.
On the same day, Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser to the UK government, said he believed the UK would be able to achieve herd immunity.
The scientists behind this study, UCL’s David Goldsmith and Eric Orlowski, said: “If this strategy did not just look like a dangerous traditional Swedish franchise, we in the UK would do well to remember that we are almost on the same path. .
“Right now, despite the ‘strict (but courageous’) blockade in the UK, and the Swedish prudent response, both countries have high seven-day average Sars-CoV-2 mortality rates when compared to other Scandinavian and European. “