Lockdown-free Sweden totally wrong by failing to prepare for Covid second wave, says health chief after record cases

SWEDEN'S herd immunity plan failed to prepare for a second wave of Covid-19, one of the the country's former health chiefs said.

Ex-chief epidemiologist Annika Linde made the comments as Sweden's daily Covid case rate spiked to a record 5,990.

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Ms Linde said that "wishful thinking" led to Sweden's leaders believing that herd immunity, rather than a lockdown, would protect them from another outbreak.

She told the Telegraph: "Wishful thinking – when you don't believe in the worst scenario – has been guiding Swedish decisions too much.

"The Swedish authorities have been slow all the time. Instead of being proactive, they've run after the virus, and the virus has been able to spread too much before they take action."

Ms Linde was state epidemiologist from 2005 until 2013.

She criticised her successor Anders Tegnell after he refused to lock the country down at the start of the pandemic.

Mr Tegnell predicted that herd immunity would make the infection easy to control.

However, cases are now rising by as much as 50 per cent each week.

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Sweden stood out from the rest of Europe as Covid took hold, with bars and restaurants remaining open and life generally continuing as normal.

It was held up as an example to follow by those opposed to sweeping lockdowns.

However, the country was forced to tighten its coronavirus lockdown last week, which was eventually introduced as the country's authorities realised herd immunity would not stop another wave.

Intensive care admissions doubled in just days as the public ignored lighter restrictions.

Ms Linde said: "I hoped [Mr Tegnell] was right. It would have been great. But he wasn't.

"Now we have a high death rate, and we have not escaped a second wave.

"Immunity makes a little difference maybe, but not much difference."

Mr Tegnell said last week that Sweden was not alone in being caught out by the Covid second wave.

He said: "The development has been different from what we believed in the summer, and that’s not just the case for Sweden but for the whole world.

"The pandemic has taken off in a way that few countries had expected."

Sweden has had 177,355 Covid cases and 6,164 deaths since the pandemic began.

The nation's daily case tally averaged around 200 throughout July and August, but began to rise in September.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said last week that intensive care admissions had doubled in the space of a week and that one quarter of all ICU beds are now occupied by coronavirus patients.

“We are facing a situation that could turn black as night,” Mr Lofven said.


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