It was about a month ago that me and my family stopped following the “official” Swedish recommendations and instead decided to follow the recommendations established by the neighboring countries.
As many of you already know, I happened to live in Sweden, the Nordic country with the highest death rate per million inhabitants. I also happened to live in the very capital of the country, Stockholm, the epicenter of infection, with more than 60% of confirmed infections and almost half of all deaths in Sweden.
I start the day by watching the official news, “We have reached a new level,” admitted the chief epidemiologist of the Public Health Agency, Anders Tegnell, the visible face of this crisis and probably one of the most criticized people both in and outside the country right now. The Swedish Executive has so far relied on the recommendations of the agency led by Tegnell, an independent state body, to make its decisions.
Even if some surveys show that the majority of the population supports the line followed by the Government. I myself know nobody in my surrounding who actually supports the Swedish way of handling the outbreak, although criticism from the scientific world both outside and inside the country is abundant. Some 2,000 Swedish researchers have signed an open letter to the Löfven Executive, strongly criticizing the strategy and demanding stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
After my last interview with Adrian Goldberg (BBC radio broadcaster) last week, I’ve noticed how the outside world is calling the Swedish model for an actual “experiment”. An expression also used by many of our Swedish scientists. One of them is Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, professor of immunology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
“It is a model that is being tested for the first time and without solid evidence that it can work, I think it is very dangerous; We should have learned from what has happened in other countries ”, she warns, while reproaching the“ lack of transparency ”of the Public Health Agency when preparing its predictions.
I, as many other experts and scientists, believe that the main problem in Sweden was the lack of screening tests during the first two weeks of the outbreak, after many people returned from their winter holidays in the Italian and Austrian Alps: “We lost control of the virus already at the very beginning”.
But hey! Beside the government’s “doing nothing and waiting for better times” strategy, to our surprise the Swedish executive have put in place an emergency hospital in Älvsjö Fair, Stockholm, that has for some time now, been ready to support the overall very tough situation our hospitals are experiencing at the very moment. But unfortunately, and according to omni news channel, when the intensive care units are forced to prioritize which patients should receive intensive care, our ready to use intensive care emergency hospital is yet not opened to save lives. Even as several emergency hospitals in the region have problems with getting the oxygen gas to covid-19 patients and the field hospital in Älvsjö has good access to it.
As many other distressed healthcare practitioners. The anesthesiologist Kajsa Giesecke calls it inconceivable that the hospital that was ready for a week ago is not yet used.
The information I get from intensive care colleagues is that it is a very tough situation, that they are forced to prioritize which patients should receive intensive care, Giesecke tells SVT.