Sweden never mandated massive lock downs or enacted draconian face-mask laws, but the Nordic country now has one of the lowest infection rates in the world.
“Sweden has gone from being the country with the most infections in Europe to the safest one,” Sweden’s senior epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“What we see now is that the sustainable policy might be slower in getting results, but it will get results eventually,” Tegnell said. “And then we also hope that the result will be more stable.”
Last week, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Sweden’s infection rate stood at only 12 cases per million, compared to 18 in Denmark and 14 in Norway. The data shows that out of 2,500 randomly selected and tested Swedes, zero tested positive, compared to 0.9 percent positive in April, and 0.3 percent in May.
“We interpret this as meaning there is not currently a widespread infection among people who do not have symptoms,” said Karin Tegmark, deputy head of the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
Tegnell has long taken a hard line, saying last month he saw “no point” in mandating masks in public across the country. “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” Anders Tegnell said, according to Fortune.
“That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm last month. “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero.”
The Swede’s comments followed those from Holland’s top scientist, who have examined data and research about COVID-19 and declared there is no clear evidence that wearing face masks protects — anyone.
In fact, the scientists say wearing masks may actually hamper the fight against virus.
“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for Holland’s National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”