COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden

The COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden is part of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Sweden on 31 January 2020, when a woman returning from Wuhan tested positive. On 26 February, following outbreaks in Italy and in Iran, multiple travel-related clusters appeared in Sweden. Community transmission was confirmed on 9 March in the Stockholm region. Since then, individuals in every län (county) have tested positive for COVID-19. The first death was reported on 11 March in Stockholm, a case of community transmission. However, it's believed that the virus could have reached Sweden as early as December 2019, when several individuals sought care for respiratory illness in Falun after contact with an individual with recent travel history to Wuhan.

COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Sweden per capita with Legend.svg
Map of confirmed cases in Sweden
(per 100,000 residents)[1]
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Sweden by Number with Legend.svg
Map of confirmed cases in Sweden
(absolute numbers)[1]
Tent outside Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Mölndal
Signs on the Terrazzo floor at the checkout in Coop, Åmål to facilitate social distancing while queuing, as well as plexiglass shields to protect checkout staff from catching the disease.
Queuing with 1.5-meter distance outside Systembolaget
Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell
An empty Drottninggatan, a major pedestrian street in Stockholm
(clockwise from top)
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationSweden
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseJönköping
Arrival date24 January 2020
(5 months and 2 weeks)
Date8 July CEST
Confirmed cases73,858[1]
Severe cases2,469 ICU hospitalisations (total)[1]
Deaths
5,482[1][note 1]
Government website
Swedish Public Health Agency Covid-19
(in Swedish)

Sweden has not imposed a lockdown, unlike many other countries, and kept large parts of its society open. The Swedish Constitution legally protects the freedom of movement for the people, thus preventing a lockdown in peace time. The Swedish public is expected to follow a series of non-voluntary recommendations[note 2] from the government agency responsible for this area, in this case the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten). The Swedish Constitution prohibits ministerial rule – politicians overruling the advice from its agencies is extremely unusual in Sweden – and mandates that the relevant government body, in this case an expert agency – the Public Health Agency – must initiate all actions to prevent the virus in accordance with Swedish law, rendering state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell a central figure in the crisis. Having an expert agency almost completely in control of the country's COVID-19 response without the involvement of politicians set Sweden apart from other countries.

Following agency advice, the government has passed legislation limiting freedom of assembly by temporarily banning gatherings of over 50 individuals, banning people from visiting nursing homes, and physically closing secondary schools and universities. Primary schools have remained open, in part to avoid healthcare workers staying home with their children.

The Public Health Agency issued recommendations to: if possible, work from home; avoid unnecessary travel within the country; engage in social distancing; and for people above 70 to stay at home, as much as possible. Those with even minimal symptoms that could be caused by COVID-19 are recommended to stay home. The karensdag, or initial day without paid sick-leave, has been removed by the government and the length of time one can stay home with pay without a doctor's note has been raised from 7 to 21 days.

The pandemic has put the Swedish healthcare system under severe strain, with tens of thousands of operations having been postponed. Initially, Swedish hospitals and other facilities reported a shortage of personal protective equipment. At the start of the pandemic, concerns were made that Swedish hospitals wouldn't have enough capacity to treat all who could become ill with the disease, especially in regard to those needing intensive care. Swedish hospitals were eventually able to double the number of intensive care beds in a few weeks, and the maximum capacity was never exceeded.

Sweden began testing for the virus in January, and as of 17 May 2020, approximately 276,000 samples had been analysed. As of 24 June 2020, there have been 62,324 confirmed cases, of which 2,387 have received intensive care, and 5,209 confirmed deaths[note 1] related to COVID-19 in Sweden, with Stockholm County being the most affected.[1] As of early June, the number of deaths with confirmed COVID-19 has been significantly higher in Sweden compared to most of Europe, including other Scandinavian countries. Similar to other European countries,[6] close to half of those who died had been living at nursing homes.[7][8][9]

Many outside Sweden considered the Swedish response to the pandemic to be strikingly different to that of other countries. This resulted in an unprecedented increase of international news coverage on Sweden.

BackgroundEdit

Outbreak of a novel coronavirus diseaseEdit

On 12 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus (nCoV) was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan, in Hubei, China, who had initially come to the WHO's attention on 31 December 2019. This cluster was initially linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City.[10][11] A few days later, on 16 January, the Swedish Public Health Agency issued a press release highlighting the discovery of the novel coronavirus, and the agency monitoring the situation. The risk of spread to Sweden was described as "very low" as there was yet no evidence that the virus could spread between humans, but they recommended that individuals developing cough or fever after visiting Wuhan should seek medical care, and asked for healthcare professionals to be observant.[12]

After the World Health Organization classified the novel Coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January and demanded that all member states should cooperate to prevent further spread of the virus, the Agency requested for the Swedish government to classify the novel disease as a notifiable infectious disease in the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act as both dangerous to public health (allmänfarlig) and dangerous to society (samhällsfarlig), where contact tracing is required,[13][14][15] giving the disease the same legislative status as Ebola, SARS and Smallpox.[16] The agency also announced that they have analysing methods that can diagnose a case of the novel disease ‘within hours’ after testing, and that such tests had already been carried out, but that all had turned out negative.[13]

PlanningEdit

Following the 2005 outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu, Sweden drafted their first national pandemic plan which since then had undergone several revisions. Since a 2008 revision to prepare for the 2009 swine flu pandemic, the plan includes the formation of a National Pandemic Group (NPG) in the event of a possible pandemic. The group involves several Swedish government agencies and defines each agency's role.[17][18]

 
The Public Health Agency

The plan states that the Public Health Agency of Sweden will be the expert agency responsible for monitoring diseases with a pandemic potential, and with the mandate to assemble the National Pandemic Group to coordinate pandemic preparations and strategies on a national level between the relevant agencies. The pandemic group includes four additional Swedish government agencies: the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish Medical Products Agency, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Work Environment Authority, as well as the county administrative boards of Sweden and the employer's organisation Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.[19][18]

Swedish crisis management is built on a principle of responsibility which means that the organisation who is responsible for an area of activity under normal circumstances is also responsible for that area of activity during a crisis. As the Public Health Agency of Sweden, headed by director general Johan Carlson, is the agency responsible of monitoring and preventing the spread of infectious diseases, the agency had a central role in the Swedish response to the pandemic. The Public Health Agency also tasked with having a coordinating role for the national response to a pandemic according to the National Pandemic Plan, together with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency headed by Dan Eliasson and the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare headed by Olivia Wigzell.[20][21]

PreparednessEdit

In risk and impact assessments by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Swedish expert agency on crisis management, the risk of Sweden in the future being affected by a severe pandemic was assessed as "high" with a "catastrophic" impact on human health and economics. They believed that a future pandemic would be inevitable within 5–50 years.[22][23]

In the 2019 Global Health Security Index of the ‘most prepared’ countries in the world for an epidemic or a pandemic published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Sweden was ranked 7th overall. Sweden received high rankings regarding prevention of the emergence of a new pathogen, early detection and reporting of an epidemic of international concern and having a low risk environment. However, the Swedish healthcare system received a lower score, questioning if it was sufficient and robust enough to treat the sick and protect health workers.[24][note 3] In 2013, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency investigated Sweden's ability to cope with a pandemic through a simulation where a severe avian influenza infects a third of the population, out of which 190,000 gets severely ill, and up to 10,000 die from the disease. They concluded that Sweden was generally well prepared, with pandemic plans on both national and regional level, but that the health-care system would be the weak link. They noted that Swedish hospitals were already under heavy burden, and wouldn't have the capacity to treat everyone who become sick, even when alternative facilities (like schools and sports centres) were used as hospitals. They also pointed out that issues concerning prioritising, including triage, would become central during the crisis, and that they believed this subject needed to be addressed.[22][23] Before the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Sweden had a relatively low number of hospital beds per capita, with 2.2 beds per 1000 people (2017),[26] and intensive care unit (ICU) beds per capita of 5.8 per 100.000 people (2012).[27] Both numbers were lower than most countries' in the EU. The total number of ICU beds in Swedish hospitals was 526.[28]

By the time of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Swedish Defence Forces was equipped with a total of 35 field hospitals, with what some considered to be the most modern battlefield medicine in the world, with the Swedish Navy having an additional 15 hospitals. The field hospitals had a combined capacity of treating 10.000 patients and performing 1000 surgeries every 24 hours, as well as stockpiles with drugs, medical supplies and personal protective equipment to treat 150.000 war casualties. Additionally, the Swedish state had several preparedness hospitals and Swedish schools were constructed to be converted into hospital units in case of a military conflict and with a total capacity of treating 125.000 patients, supported by a network of preparedness storages containing medicine and medical equipment. From 1990 and onwards, the system was gradually dismantled to eventually disappear altogether, with the equipment, including more than 600 new ventilators, being either given away or disposed of. At the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish Defence Forces owned 2 medical units with a total of 96 beds, out of which 16 were ICU beds, and there were no civil preparedness storages for medical equipment left in Sweden.[29][30]. Until 2009, the Swedish state-run pharmacy chain Apoteket had the responsibility to ensure drug supply in case of emergency.[31][32][33] Following a controversial[34] privatisation, the responsibility was handed over to the private sector. However, a lack of regulations meant that the companies had no incentive to keep a bigger stock than necessary, effectively leaving Sweden without an entity responsible for medicine preparedness. At the start of the pandemic, the Swedish healthcare system were instead relying on a "just-in-time" deliveries of medication and medical equipment, and Sweden had no medicine manufacturing of its own, which was considered to make the country's drug supply vulnerable as it relied on global trade and long supply lines. The Swedish healthcare system was already experiencing a growing number of backordered drugs in the years leading up to the pandemic. The lack of medicine preparedness had been strongly criticised in several inquiries and reports since 2013 by a number of Swedish governmental agencies, including the Swedish National Audit Office, the Swedish Defence Research Agency and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. The latter had regarded disturbances in the drug supply as one of their biggest concerns in their annual risk assessments.[33][32][31]

TimelineEdit

COVID-19 cases in Sweden  ()
     Deaths        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-02-04 1(n.a.)
2020-02-05 1(=)
2020-02-06 1(=)
2020-02-07 1(=)
2020-02-08 1(=)
2020-02-09 1(=)
2020-02-10 1(=)
2020-02-11 1(=)
2020-02-12 1(=)
2020-02-13 1(=)
2020-02-14 1(=)
2020-02-15 1(=)
2020-02-16 1(=)
2020-02-17 1(=)
2020-02-18 1(=)
2020-02-19 1(=)
2020-02-20 1(=)
2020-02-21 1(=)
2020-02-22 1(=)
2020-02-23 1(=)
2020-02-24 1(=)
2020-02-25 1(=)
2020-02-26
2(+100%)
2020-02-27
3(+50%)
2020-02-28
11(+267%)
2020-02-29
14(+27%)
2020-03-01
14(=)
2020-03-02
19(+36%)
2020-03-03
32(+68%)
2020-03-04
62(+94%)
2020-03-05
87(+40%)
2020-03-06
146(+68%)
2020-03-07
179(+23%)
2020-03-08
225(+26%)
2020-03-09
326(+45%)
2020-03-10
424(+30%)
2020-03-11
620(+46%) 1(n.a.)
2020-03-12
771(+24%) 1(=)
2020-03-13
923(+20%) 2(+100%)
2020-03-14
994(+7.7%) 3(+50%)
2020-03-15
1,063(+6.9%) 5(+67%)
2020-03-16
1,146(+7.8%) 7(+40%)
2020-03-17
1,265(+10%) 8(+14%)
2020-03-18
1,410(+11%) 14(+75%)
2020-03-19
1,553(+10%) 21(+50%)
2020-03-20
1,733(+12%) 30(+43%)
2020-03-21
1,867(+7.7%) 38(+27%)
2020-03-22
1,985(+6.3%) 49(+29%)
2020-03-23
2,167(+9.2%) 60(+22%)
2020-03-24
2,397(+11%) 81(+35%)
2020-03-25
2,711(+13%) 103(+27%)
2020-03-26
2,997(+11%) 134(+30%)
2020-03-27
3,363(+12%) 166(+24%)
2020-03-28
3,663(+8.9%) 201(+21%)
2020-03-29
3,944(+7.7%) 239(+19%)
2020-03-30
4,360(+11%) 284(+19%)
2020-03-31
4,835(+11%) 332(+17%)
2020-04-01
5,321(+10%) 385(+16%)
2020-04-02
5,875(+10%) 455(+18%)
2020-04-03
6,476(+10%) 535(+18%)
2020-04-04
6,833(+5.5%) 605(+13%)
2020-04-05
7,173(+5%) 690(+14%)
2020-04-06
7,562(+5.4%) 780(+13%)
2020-04-07
8,300(+9.8%) 864(+11%)
2020-04-08
8,955(+7.9%) 979(+13%)
2020-04-09
9,600(+7.2%) 1,065(+8.8%)
2020-04-10
10,054(+4.7%) 1,155(+8.5%)
2020-04-11
10,449(+3.9%) 1,258(+8.9%)
2020-04-12
10,913(+4.4%) 1,355(+7.7%)
2020-04-13
11,350(+4%) 1,440(+6.3%)
2020-04-14
11,829(+4.2%) 1,531(+6.3%)
2020-04-15
12,433(+5.1%) 1,646(+7.5%)
2020-04-16
13,056(+5%) 1,757(+6.7%)
2020-04-17
13,744(+5.3%) 1,839(+4.7%)
2020-04-18
14,276(+3.9%) 1,925(+4.7%)
2020-04-19
14,664(+2.7%) 2,013(+4.6%)
2020-04-20
15,125(+3.1%) 2,097(+4.2%)
2020-04-21
15,831(+4.7%) 2,159(+3%)
2020-04-22
16,553(+4.6%) 2,236(+3.6%)
2020-04-23
17,311(+4.6%) 2,322(+3.8%)
2020-04-24
18,097(+4.5%) 2,411(+3.8%)
2020-04-25
18,570(+2.6%) 2,484(+3%)
2020-04-26
18,870(+1.6%) 2,559(+3%)
2020-04-27
19,446(+3.1%) 2,632(+2.9%)
2020-04-28
20,207(+3.9%) 2,714(+3.1%)
2020-04-29
21,037(+4.1%) 2,798(+3.1%)
2020-04-30
21,715(+3.2%) 2,876(+2.8%)
2020-05-01
22,247(+2.4%) 2,954(+2.7%)
2020-05-02
22,545(+1.3%) 3,027(+2.5%)
2020-05-03
22,807(+1.2%) 3,102(+2.5%)
2020-05-04
23,308(+2.2%) 3,186(+2.7%)
2020-05-05
23,970(+2.8%) 3,258(+2.3%)
2020-05-06
24,722(+3.1%) 3,331(+2.2%)
2020-05-07
25,544(+3.3%) 3,411(+2.4%)
2020-05-08
26,257(+2.8%) 3,471(+1.8%)
2020-05-09
26,766(+1.9%) 3,538(+1.9%)
2020-05-10
27,044(+1%) 3,612(+2.1%)
2020-05-11
27,531(+1.8%) 3,676(+1.8%)
2020-05-12
28,333(+2.9%) 3,737(+1.7%)
2020-05-13
29,054(+2.5%) 3,787(+1.3%)
2020-05-14
29,740(+2.4%) 3,833(+1.2%)
2020-05-15
30,452(+2.4%) 3,890(+1.5%)
2020-05-16
30,810(+1.2%) 3,938(+1.2%)
2020-05-17
31,069(+0.84%) 3,991(+1.3%)
2020-05-18
31,526(+1.5%) 4,052(+1.5%)
2020-05-19
32,217(+2.2%) 4,091(+0.96%)
2020-05-20
33,044(+2.6%) 4,145(+1.3%)
2020-05-21
33,658(+1.9%) 4,198(+1.3%)
2020-05-22
34,193(+1.6%) 4,253(+1.3%)
2020-05-23
34,596(+1.2%) 4,309(+1.3%)
2020-05-24
34,806(+0.61%) 4,352(+1%)
2020-05-25
35,319(+1.5%) 4,394(+0.97%)
2020-05-26
36,082(+2.2%) 4,422(+0.64%)
2020-05-27
36,902(+2.3%) 4,461(+0.88%)
2020-05-28
37,682(+2.1%) 4,501(+0.9%)
2020-05-29
38,463(+2.1%) 4,541(+0.89%)
2020-05-30
38,895(+1.1%) 4,580(+0.86%)
2020-05-31
39,160(+0.68%) 4,625(+0.98%)
2020-06-01
39,813(+1.7%) 4,665(+0.86%)
2020-06-02
40,718(+2.3%) 4,701(+0.77%)
2020-06-03
41,801(+2.7%) 4,727(+0.55%)
2020-06-04
42,858(+2.5%) 4,772(+0.95%)
2020-06-05
44,020(+2.7%) 4,810(+0.8%)
2020-06-06
44,846(+1.9%) 4,839(+0.6%)
2020-06-07
45,308(+1%) 4,872(+0.68%)
2020-06-08
45,984(+1.5%) 4,910(+0.78%)
2020-06-09
46,947(+2.1%) 4,944(+0.69%)
2020-06-10
48,433(+3.2%) 4,984(+0.81%)
2020-06-11
49,779(+2.8%) 5,018(+0.68%)
2020-06-12
51,170(+2.8%) 5,047(+0.58%)
2020-06-13
52,283(+2.2%) 5,080(+0.65%)
2020-06-14
52,701(+0.8%) 5,106(+0.51%)
2020-06-15
53,409(+1.3%) 5,135(+0.57%)
2020-06-16
54,691(+2.4%) 5,163(+0.55%)
2020-06-17
56,193(+2.7%) 5,195(+0.62%)
2020-06-18
57,752(+2.8%) 5,223(+0.54%)
2020-06-19
59,072(+2.3%) 5,250(+0.52%)
2020-06-20
59,846(+1.3%) 5,277(+0.51%)
2020-06-21
60,168(+0.54%) 5,296(+0.36%)
2020-06-22
60,980(+1.3%) 5,314(+0.34%)
2020-06-23
62,324(+2.2%) 5,340(+0.49%)
2020-06-24
64,130(+2.9%) 5,362(+0.41%)
2020-06-25
65,465(+2.1%) 5,381(+0.35%)
2020-06-26
66,703(+1.9%) 5,390(+0.17%)
2020-06-27
67,595(+1.3%) 5,400(+0.19%)
2020-06-28
68,072(+0.71%) 5,419(+0.35%)
2020-06-29
68,849(+1.1%) 5,435(+0.3%)
2020-06-30
69,754(+1.3%) 5,448(+0.24%)
2020-07-01
70,498(+1.1%) 5,454(+0.11%)
2020-07-02
71,271(+1.1%) 5,460(+0.11%)
2020-07-03
72,087(+1.1%) 5,462(+0.04%)
2020-07-04
72,577(+0.68%) 5,466(+0.07%)
2020-07-05
73,010(+0.6%) 5,467(+0.02%)
2020-07-06
73,285(+0.38%) 5,470(+0.05%)
2020-07-07
73,556(+0.37%) 5,470(=)
2020-07-08
73,858(+0.41%) 5,471(+0.02%)
Source: Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten)[a][b]
Notes:
  1. ^ Data on cases and deaths is compiled by Folkhälsomyndigheten at 11:30 (UTC+02:00) each day. Swedish authorities does not publish data on recoveries. Reports of new cases and deaths to Folkhälsomyndigheten might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days. Data includes deaths with a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis where the cause of death isn't attributed to Covid-19. As of data from the National Board of Health and Welfare from April 21, 2020, this number amounted to 4.5% of cases confirmed in a laboratory. Data includes confirmed cases (U07.1) but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2). As this only include cases confirmed in a laboratory, the actual number is believed to be higher due to the number of laboratory-confirmed cases only amounting to 70% (as of May 3, 2020) of an excess mortality observed in Sweden since late March, according to an statistical analysis by the Public Health Agency based on data from from the Swedish Tax Agency and the European mortality monitoring activity (EuroMOMO). By late April, there had been approximately 2800 excess deaths in Sweden.[2][35][36]
  2. ^ As of July 8, 11 deaths have been registered with an unknown date. These deaths have not been included in this table. The total number of deaths (including dated and undated deaths) is 5,482.

Early cases (January–February)Edit

On 31 January, the first Swedish case was confirmed in a woman in Jönköping who had travelled to Sweden from Wuhan, China, on 24 January directly from Wuhan. The case was fully isolated and there are no reports of further spread.[37][38] It's believed that the virus could have reached Sweden as early as December 2019 when several individuals sought care at a primary care clinic in Svärdsjö, Falun with signs of respiratory disease, as all of them had been in contact with an individual with a recent travel history to Wuhan, and later tested positive for antibodies against the disease. There is however no evidence of further spread in connection with those early cases.[39] The second confirmed case was diagnosed at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg on 26 February, after a man who had recently returned from northern Italy following the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy had developed symptoms.[40][37] With five additional cases confirmed on 27 February,[41] the Public Health Agency put out a statement that these cases were all related to travel to high-risk zones and that there was no evidence of community transmission.[42] Disease control measures, including extensive contact tracing, turned up over 200 travel-related cases in the following weeks, all with connection to confirmed cases or travel to high risk regions.[43] Many of those who tested positive for the virus during this early stage of the outbreak in Sweden had been infected while on vacation in Italy during the one-week spring break in late February.[44] During the four-week period from February to March in which the spring break takes place in different areas of Sweden, around one million Swedes (about one tenth of the total population) had travelled abroad.[45] Testing were initially primarily done on individuals who had developed symptoms after travelling from the areas hardest hit by the outbreak, such as China, Iran, northern Italy, Tyrol and South Korea, or those with pneumonia of unknown cause. Subsequent whole genome sequencing studies carried out by the Public Health Agency proved that disease control measures including isolation and contact tracing had been largely successful in preventing the infection to spread from Italy. The studies also revealed that early assumptions that Swedes returning from Northern Italy and Tyrol were the main drivers of the outbreak in Sweden was incorrect, as the virus had likely been brought to Sweden by "hundreds" of different people from a range of countries, as the outbreak by that time had "gone under the radar" in many other parts of the world and that other countries already had a large spread.[46][47][45] Analyses of early Swedish cases suggested that several early cases had carried the virus from the United Kingdom and the United States, and also from France and the Netherlands.[48][45] From the start of the outbreak in Sweden, Stockholm County saw a significantly higher number of cases in the Stockholm region compared to other regions of Sweden, including the densely populated regions Skåne and Västra Götaland. According to Johan Carlson, director-general at the Public Health Agency, one reason was believed to be that the Stockholm spring break in took place later than in other regions.[49]

On 27 February, Uppsala County confirmed its first case in a woman with a travel history to Germany, where she had met with an Italian colleague, and had been admitted to Uppsala University Hospital[50] after seeking medical attention with flu-like symptoms.

Community spread (March–)Edit

This came as the first cases of community transmission was confirmed among two patients who had sought care at S:t Göran Hospital, Stockholm, on 6 March.[51] They were assumed to have been infected through community transmission.[citation needed] The following day, Jämtland and Västernorrland also confirmed initial cases.[52][53]

Responding to indications of local transmission in the Stockholm area and Västra Götaland, the Public Health Agency on 10 March raised the risk assessment of community spread from moderate to very high, which is the highest level.[54][54][55][56] The first death was reported on 11 March, the same day as the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the WHO, when a person in their 70s from the Stockholm region died in the intensive care unit of Karolinska University Hospital. The person was reported to have acquired the virus through community transmission, believed to have occurred about one week before death. The person also belonged to a risk group.[57][58] After the first case in Västmanland County was confirmed on 13 March, the disease had reached all of the 21 regions in Sweden.[1]

The Public Health Agency of Sweden declared on 13 March that stopping the spread of COVID-19 has entered a "new phase" which requires "other efforts". The continued focus is now to delay spread among the population and to protect the elderly and most vulnerable against the disease.[59] Contact tracing would no longer be part of the strategy, and testing would instead focus on people already in hospital or those considered to belong to be of a bigger risk of a more severe disease.[60][61]

The health agency believed that 5–10% of the population in Stockholm County were carrying the virus on 9 April.[62] In mid-April, it was reported that out of the approximately 1,300 people who had died after having caught the virus, one third had been living at nursing homes. The figure differed between the regions. In Stockholm, the city most affected by the pandemic, half of the deaths had been residents in one of its many nursing homes.[63] The situation led to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate to begin carrying out controls at the homes.[63]

According to estimations by the Health Agency in early May, the R value had dropped below 1.0 for the first time on 21 April.[64] In June, the Health Agency declared that several regions had entered a "late pandemic phase" with a decrease in the number of new cases, and called for those regions to return to the strategy of stopping the disease, through increased testing and detailed contact tracing.[65][66]

Response from the authoritiesEdit

The Swedish government considered its overall objective in the Swedish response to the pandemic was to limit the spread of infection in the country to not exceed the capacity of the Swedish health system. They also aimed to ensure that the municipalities and regions responsible for the health care would have the necessary resources to handle the pandemic.[67] The government has tried to focus efforts on encouraging the right behaviour and creating social norms rather than mandatory restrictions. Government officials including Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven has encouraged each individual to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others, and to follow the recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden,[68] as the agency responsible for monitoring a pandemic and coordinating the response. The Swedish Constitution mandates that government agencies should work independently from the government and that the relevant expert agencies must issue advice prior to any government actions within the agency's area, in this case aiming to prevent the spread of the virus, with a strong mandate that the expert agencies should initiate actions, avoiding rule by ministers.[69] Having its public health agency almost completely controlling the strategy without the involvement of politicians set Sweden apart from most, perhaps all, other countries.[70] However, the agencies do not have the power to pass laws. Instead, they give out recommendations on how someone can or should act to meet a binding regulation within the agency's area of activity (in this case The Swedish Communicable Diseases Act). Although there is no legal framework for a governmental agency to impose sanctions on someone for going against its recommendations, it isn't optional as the recommendations work as guidelines on how to act to follow a regulation (in this case an obligation to help halting the spread of am infectious disease).[71][72] The independence of Swedish agencies and the choice of 'recommendations' instead of legislation has received much coverage in international media.[73] Swedish foreign minister, Ann Linde described Sweden as having ‘rather small ministries, but rather big authorities’ (with the Public Health Agency being one such authority), and this going back 300–400 years, and Sweden being characterised by a very high level of trust in its authorities from both the people and the politicians, and that Swedes had a very strong urge to following recommendations from authorities, thus making legislation largely unnecessary. When asked if Sweden would consider tougher restrictions, Löfven and Linde both made clear that the Swedish government wouldn't hesitate to do so if deemed necessary and on advice from the expert agencies, but that such measures needed to be taken at the right time, and they believe it's hard to make people adhere to lockdowns for an extended period. Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Isabella Lövin referred to the pandemic being "not a sprint, but a marathon"[74][75][76]

StrategyEdit

According to the Swedish Public Health Agency, the Swedish strategy aimed to protect its senior and/or vulnerable citizens, and to slow down the spread of the virus, to keep the healthcare system from getting overwhelmed.[77][78][79][80] They are also mandated by law to make their response based on scientific evidence.[81] The Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has questioned the scientific basis of some of the "stricter" measures taken by other governments, including lockdowns and border closures.[82]

Closedown, lockdown, closing borders – nothing has a historical scientific basis, in my view. We have looked at a number of European Union countries to see whether they have published any analysis of the effects of these measures before they were started and we saw almost none.

Anders Tegnell, in an interview with Nature

While many countries imposed nationwide lockdowns and curfews, such measures were prohibited by the Swedish constitution as it's considered to be a violation of freedom of movement,[83] and the Swedish laws on communicable diseases (Smittskyddslagen) only allows for quarantining individuals and small areas such as buildings, not for entire geographical areas. Instead, it's mostly based around the individual responsibility.[84][82] Although the government were later granted more authority for imposing restrictions on transport following a temporary amendment in April,[85] the Swedish authorities considered lockdowns to be unnecessary, as they believed that voluntary measures could be just as effective as bans.[83] Although many considered this to be a 'relaxed' approach, it was defended by the authorities as well as government officials, among them Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén, to be more sustainable, as unlike lockdowns, it could be in place for "months, even years" as it wasn't assumed to be likely that the disease could be stopped until a vaccine was produced, thus de[86][87][82] Therefore, the Swedish response only included measures where an exit strategy wasn't needed.[88]

Unlike many European countries, including neighbouring Denmark and Norway, Sweden did not close its preschools or elementary schools as a preventive measure. This was met with criticism within Sweden.[89][90][91] According to the Health Agency, the main reasons for not closing schools was that as a preventive measure it lacked support by research or scientific literature, and because of its negative effects on society. They argued that many parents, including healthcare professionals, would have no choice but to stay home from work to care for their children if schools were closed. There was also concern for a situation where elderly people babysit their grandchildren, as they are of bigger risk of severe symptoms in case of infection. According to agency's estimations, closures of elementary schools and preschool could result in an absence of up to 43,000 healthcare professionals, including doctors, Nurses and nurse's assistants, equalling 10 per cent of the total workforce in the sector.[92][93] Additionally, there was concern of school closures having negative consequences for disadvantaged and vulnerable children,[94] and according to the agency yet no evidence of children playing a major role in the spread of the virus, nor of a high infection rate among children or preschool teachers, and that children who become infected showed mild symptoms.[95] In May, Tegnell said that the decision was right, as the healthcare system would not have managed the situation the past months if Swedish authorities had chosen to close elementary schools.[96] He later said that the decision to close secondary schools might have been unnecessary, because it possibly had little effect in slowing the spread of the disease.[97]

After the Danish government went against the advice of the Danish Health Authority and closed their national borders in March, Tegnell remarked that there were currently no scientific studies supporting border closures to be an effective measure against a pandemic, and that "history has proven it to be completely meaningless measure", and argued that it could, at best, delay the outbreak for one week, and also pointed out that border closures went against the recommendations from the WHO. He later said closures would be "ridiculous" in a situation where the disease had spread across all of Europe, saying that movements within the country were of more concern.[98][99][82]

 
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the architect of the Swedish strategy

Representatives of the Swedish government, as well as its agencies, have repeatedly denied that pursuing herd immunity is part of the Swedish strategy, as claimed by foreign press and scientists in and outside Sweden.[100][101][80] According to state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, herd immunity had not been calculated in the strategy, and if it had been the goal, "we would have done nothing and let coronavirus run rampant". But he believed, in April 2020, that Sweden would benefit from herd immunity in the long run,[101] and reasoned that all countries would eventually have to achieve it to beat the virus.[102] In May 2020 he said that he believed it was unlikely that Sweden, or any other country, would ever reach full herd immunity, and also that it would be a mistake to base a strategy on a hypothetical vaccine, as it would likely be years until there is a vaccine that can be distributed to an entire population. Instead, he believed COVID-19 was something "we’re going to have to live with for a very long time".[87]

As the strategy was built by the health experts at the Public Health Agency without any influence from the government, it was built solely on a public health perspective, without any political considerations to the economy. The agency did however regard the economy as part of its broader public health considerations, due to unemployment and a weakening economy typically leading to a poorer public health.[103]

Although Sweden was regarded to have succeeded with making sure the hospitals would keep at pace, it admitted to have failed with protecting its elderly, as three-fourths of its deaths had occurred among nursing home residents or those receiving home care.[103] The Health Agency saw the spread at the homes as their biggest concern, but "not as a failure of our overall strategy, but as a failure of our way to protect the elderly".[104][105] In an interview with Sveriges Radio in early June, Tegnell was asked if he would have done things differently if he could ‘back the tape’, to which he replied that Sweden should have done more earlier during the outbreak. This received extensive coverage in national as well as international media and was interpreted as he was distancing himself from the Swedish strategy. Tegnell however denied this being the case, and said they still believed the strategy being good, but that "you can always improve things, especially in hindsight". When asked to give examples, he said that it would have been much better if they had been more prepared at nursing homes, and that it would have been better if the testing capacity had been increased earlier on during the outbreak.[106][107] He also said that the closure of secondary schools might have been unnecessary.[108]

MeasuresEdit

On 10 March 2020, responding to indications of community transmission, the Public Health Agency advised everyone with respiratory infections, even mild cases, to refrain from social contacts where there is a risk of spreading the virus, in private as well as working life. They also ask health care staff working with risk groups, including nursing homes, not work if they have any symptoms of respiratory infection. Relatives of elderly should also avoid unnecessary visits at hospitals and in facilities for elderly, and never visit if there are any respiratory symptoms.[109][110]

Social distancingEdit

On 16 March 2020, the agency recommended that people over 70 should limit close contact with other people, and avoid crowded areas such as stores, public transport and public spaces.[111] At the end of March, 93% of those older than 70 said that they were following the recommendations from the health service to some extent, with the majority having decreased their contacts with friends and family.[112] In May, the agency looked at easening the recommendations for the 'young elderly' of good health, but ultimately decided against it. They did however encourage those over 70 not to isolate completely in their homes, but to go outside for walks while still following the recommendations.[113] On 16 March 2020, they also recommended that employers should recommend their employees work from home.[111] One month later, statistics showed that roughly half the Swedish workforce was working from home.[114] The following day, the agency recommended that secondary schools and universities use distance learning,[115] with schools following suit all over the country.[116] The decision to recommend distance education for secondary and tertiary education, but not for elementary schools, was that studies at secondary schools and universities to a higher extent require commuting and travelling, and that students would not depend on parental care while not in schools, and school closings therefore did not risk interrupting society.[117][118] In May, it was announced that the Health Agency were to lift the recommendations on 15 June, and thereby allowing secondary schools and universities to open up as normal after the summer holidays.[119]

In April, many of the organisations running the public transport systems for the Swedish counties had reported a 50% drop in public transport usage, including Kalmar Länstrafik in Kalmar County, Skånetrafiken in Skåne County, Stockholm Public Transit in Stockholm County, and Västtrafik in Västra Götaland County.[120][121][114][122] In Stockholm, the streets grew increasingly emptier, with a 30% drop in the number of cars,[123] and 70% fewer pedestrians.[114]

In mid-May, and on the request of the Public Health Agency, the Swedish Transport Agency temporarily suspended the regulations that allowed for passenger transport on lorries or trailers pulled by tractors, trucks or engineering vehicles at graduations and carnivals. The new rules were to be in place between 15 May and 31 December.[124][125]

These social distancing recommendations have been effective in part because Swedes tend to have a "disposition to social distancing anyway."[126]

Ban on gatheringsEdit

The same day as the first Swedish death to COVID-19, 11 March, the Swedish government passed a new law at the request of the Public Health Agency, limiting freedom of assembly by banning all gatherings larger than 500 people, with threat of fine and prison.[127] The ban would apply until further notice.[128] According to the Health Agency, the reasoning behind drawing the line at 500 was to limit long-distance travel within the nation's borders, as bigger events are more likely to attract visitors from all over the country.[129] Although freedom of assembly is protected by the Swedish constitution in the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, the constitution allows for a government to restrict the freedom, if needed to limit the spread of an epidemic.[130][131] On 27 March the government announced that the ban on public gatherings would be lowered to include all gatherings of more than 50 people, to further decrease the spread of the infection, again at the request of the Public Health Agency.[132][133] The ban would apply to arts and entertainment events including theatre, cinema and concerts, religious meetings, demonstrations, lectures, competitive sports, amusement parks, fairs and markets. The ban did not include gatherings in schools, workplaces, public transport, grocery stores or shopping malls, health clubs or private events.[134][135] The agency also recommended that plans for events and gatherings of fewer than 50 people should be preceded by a risk assessment and, if necessary, followed by mitigation measures. Additionally, they recommend that digital meetings should be considered.[136] The ban on large gatherings had no end-date, and as of late April, the Health Agency was reported as having no plans for when the ban should be lifted.[137]

TravelEdit

On 18 March, the Health Agency recommended that everyone should avoid travelling within the country. This came after signs of ongoing community transmission in parts of the country, due to concern that a rapid spread over the country would make redistribution of healthcare resources more difficult. They also called for the public to reconsider any planned holidays during the upcoming Easter weekend.[138][139] The calls to avoid travelling and social interactions during the Easter weekend were repeated several times by agency and government officials, among them Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén and King, Carl XVI Gustaf.[140][141][142] Telia, a Swedish multinational mobile network operator, did an analysis of mobile network data during the week of Easter, and found that most Swedes had followed the agency's recommendations to avoid unnecessary travels during the Easter holidays. Overall, travel from the Stockholm region had decreased by 80–90%, and the number of citizens of Stockholm travelling to popular holiday destinations like Gotland and the ski resorts in Åre had fallen with more than 90%. Travel between other regions in Sweden had fallen as well.[143][144] Ferry-line operator Destination Gotland, who previously had called on their customers to rethink their planned trips for Easter, reported that 85% of all bookings had been rescheduled.[145]

The restrictions on domestic travel were somewhat softened on 13 May, allowing for travels equalling one to two hours from home by car would be allowed under some circumstances to which Löfvén referred to as ‘common sense’, such as not risking to burden healthcare in other regions, keeping contact with others low and not travelling to visit new social contacts, the elderly or those at risk of severe disease.[146] On 4 June, the government announced that the restrictions on domestic travel were to be lifted on 13 June, allowing everyone to freely travel in the country if they were without symptoms and rules on social distancing were followed. However, they cautioned that new restrictions could be introduced if the situation were to worsen, and that the County administrative boards of Sweden were tasked to monitor the situation.[147][148]

Communication and informationEdit

 
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell during a press conference outside the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2020

Beginning in March, press conferences were held daily to at 14:00 local time, with representatives from the three government agencies responsible for coordinating Sweden's response to the pandemic; the Public Health Agency, usually represented by state epidemiologist Tegnell or deputy state epidemiologist Anders Wallensten, the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.[149] According to the latter, close to one million people followed each press conference on the TV or the radio. The ratings excluded other types of media.[150][151]

 
In response to COVID-19, the Public Health Agency of Sweden issued a series of infographics in different languages describing how to protect oneself and others from infection.

For official information on the disease and the situation in Sweden, the authorities referred the public to the website krisinformation.se, which compiles official emergency information from Swedish authorities. The website is operated by the Civil Contingencies Agency, as the agency responsible for emergency information to the public during emergencies.[152] The agency reported a big increase in the number of people visiting the website during the beginning of the pandemic, with 4.5 million views between January and April 2020, compared to 200,000 during the same period in 2019.[150][151]

In March, the Civil Contingencies Agency received 75 million SEK from the government for public service announcements to inform the public about the virus, and how to reduce the spread of the disease to slow down the spread of the virus.[153]

LegislationEdit

On 16 April, the Riksdag passed a bill on a temporary amendment on the Swedish law on infectious diseases (2004:168). The new law granted the Swedish government more authority, by allowing it to make decisions without a preceding vote in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag. The purpose of the law was to enable the government to make speedy decisions on measures against an ongoing pandemic.[154] The bill had initially been criticised by the parties in opposition and the Council on Legislation for being too vague,[155][156] but was accepted by the riksdag following a revision defining the measures, and an amendment stating that all measures needed to be reviewed by the parliament, which came after negotiations between the government and the opposition. Thus, the Riksdag would be able to revoke any imposed measures after they had come into effect.[157] The law would only apply for measures linked to the ongoing pandemic, and it would apply for a limited time only. The law came into effect on 18 April, and would last until 20 June.[158] The bill would allow the government to quickly and independently impose measures such as restrictions on transport and closures of bus station and train stations, ferries and ports, businesses such as restaurants, health clubs or malls, libraries and museums, or schools. The law would also allow the government to make decisions on redistribution of medicine and other healthcare equipment, such as personal protective equipment between different healthcare providers, including privately owned companies.[159][160] The new law would not allow for the government to impose measures to that of would restrict people's ability to go outside, similar to the curfews in other countries, as it would limit people's constitutional right to free movement.[154][158]

The karensdag, the unpaid first day of sick leave, was temporarily discontinued on 11 March in an effort to encourage people to stay home if they were experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.[161] On 13 March, the government decided to temporarily abolish the demand of a doctor's certificate for 14 days for people staying home from work due to illness (i.e. sick pay period). Previously a doctor's certificate was needed after seven days.[162]

On 24 March 2020, the government introduced new restrictions to bars and restaurants requiring all service to be table service only. Restaurants were also recommended increase the space between the tables. Venues that do not adhere to the new restrictions could be shut down.[163][164] Several bars and restaurants were later ordered to close by municipal health inspectors.[165]Initially, the infectious disease control medical officers had the responsibility and mandate to close down establishments not adhering to the restrictions through the Swedish Law on Communicable Diseases, while the municipalities had been given the responsibility for the supervision. This changed when a new temporary legislation came into effect on 1 July, making them the sole regulatory body in the same way as in the Swedish Alcohol Act and the Swedish Food Act. The law were to stay in effect until the end of the year.[166][167] Beginning on 1 April, all private visits to nursing homes was outlawed by the government. Many municipalities had already forbidden such visits. The national ban was however general, and those in charge of the facilities would be able to make exceptions under special circumstances, provided that the risk of spread of the virus was low.[168]

Following reports of people hoarding medication and concerns of drug shortages, the Medical Products Agency requested for the Swedish government to impose restrictions on purchases. This resulted in a new regulation limiting the amount of drugs purchased at the same occasion to three months worth of consumption, down from a previous limit of one year. The new regulations came to effect on 1 April and would be in place until further notice, and included to both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.[169][170]

Advice against travel abroadEdit

The government has issued progressively stricter advisories against travel. Beginning on 17 February, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised against all trips to Hubei, China, as well as non-essential travel to the rest of China apart from Hong Kong and Macao.[171][172] On 2 March the Ministry for Foreign Affairs advised against trips to Iran, due to the uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 in the country.[173] The Swedish Transport Agency also revoked Iran Air's permit for Iranian flights to land in Sweden from the same date.[174][175] According to the foreign ministry, there were several thousand Swedish citizens in Iran at the time of the ban, many of them with difficulties getting back to Sweden.[176] On 6 March, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs advised against all non-necessary trips to northern Italy, specifically the regions of Piemonte, Liguria, Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna, Trentino-Alto Adige, Valle d'Aosta, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Marche and Toscana.[177] Turin, Milan, Venice, Verona, Trieste and Florence are large cities in these regions. The Public Health Agency of Sweden, who initiated the recommendation for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, stated that the decision was based solely on the strain of the Italian health care system.[178] On similar grounds, the foreign affairs ministry also advised against all non-necessary travel to the city of Daegu and the province of Gyeongbuk in South Korea.[179] The advice regarding travel to Italy was extended 10 March to include all of its regions.[180] Finally, all international travel was discouraged on 14 March. The advice was to be in place for one month, after which it would be up for review.[181][182] Travel from non-EU/EEA member states was stopped on 17 March[183] and unnecessary travel within Sweden was advised against on 19 March.[184][185]

The foreign ministry estimated that between 40,000 and 60,000 Swedes were stranded abroad in late March. According to Swedish policy, Swedes travelling abroad have their own responsibility to arrange for any return travels, without assistance from Swedish diplomatic missions, and travellers trying to travel home are referred to airlines, travel agencies or insurance companies. Some of those were critical of the foreign ministry, and were asking for help from the Swedish authorities.[181][186] The foreign ministry were initially reluctant to depart from the policy.[187] However, as a growing number of countries closed their airports and many Swedes found themselves stranded in a foreign country unable to arrange travels themselves, the foreign ministry began work on evacuating Swedish citizens.[186][188] In early May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that the only location from which stranded Swedish citizens hadn't been evacuated was The Gambia.[189]

On 7 April, the foreign ministry extended the advice against all non-essential travel abroad until 15 June, when it would again be reconsidered.[190] On 9 May, Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde said that although a decision about an extension was yet to be made, she made clear that travel wouldn't return to normal after 15 June.[189] On 13 May, the Foreign Ministry again extended the advice for non-necessary foreign travel to 15 July.[191] From 30 June, the advice against non-essential travel were lifted for 10 EU countries, namely Belgium, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Switzerland and Spain, as well as for Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City. The advice against travel to other countries within the EU, EEA and the Schengen Area would remain in effect until 15 July, while advice were extended until 31 August for countries outside those areas.[192][193]

Monitoring and modellingEdit

In early March, the Health Agency expanded the sentinel surveillance system in use for monitoring the influenza season, so that samples from patients with flu-like symptoms would also be tested for SARS-CoV-2 along with the influenza viruses.[194] In early May, approximately 1500 samples had been analysed within the sentinel system.[195]

Between 27 March and 3 April, the health agency tested approximately 800 randomly selected individuals in Stockholm County, to seek knowledge of the then current infection rate.[196] As it was estimated that Stockholm County by then had the highest infection rate in Sweden, the agency choose to focus on that region.[197] According to the results, 2.5% of the local population were carrying the virus in the upper respiratory tract during the surveyed period.[196] Based on the study and a doubling time of 6–7 days, the agency concluded that 5–10% of the population in the region were carrying the virus on 9 April.[62] This was followed by a similar study on national level. In the study, approximately 4000 people would be tested for an active infection.[198] It was followed by a second national study on 4000 individuals in late April,[199] and a similar national study where "thousands" would be tested for antibodies.[200]

In an April study by researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the Science for Life Laboratory, home sample kits were mailed to 1,000 randomly selected individuals in Stockholm to be tested for the presence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes the COVID-19 disease. After analysing 440 out of the 550 blood samples returned, the scientists concluded that 10% of the donors were infected during or prior to late March. A follow-up study was carried out later that month with an additional 1,000 tests to determine how much the spread has increased during the weeks between the two studies.[201][202] The same month, a study was carried out by researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Danderyd Hospital where staff at the hospitals were tested for antibodies. After analysing 527 samples, the researchers reported that approximately 20% of the staff had developed antibodies against the virus. The researchers intended to continue testing the entire staff, and to carry out several follow-up tests during the following 12 months to learn how long the antibodies will stay in the body.[203][204] In late April, approximately 11,000 out of the staff at Karolinska University Hospital were tested for the virus in either PCR based or serological tests. The tested individuals included both those with clinical medical and non-clinical medical jobs, as well as staff with non-medical jobs. When 5,500 PCR tests and 3,200 serological tests had been analysed, a total of 15% samples came back positive (7% of PCR tests, 10% of serology tests, with 2% being positive in both tests). Only people without symptoms were tested.[205][200]

Response from the public healthcare systemEdit

TestingEdit

Number of analyzed samples per week
Week Date Tests[206] Positive[206] Positive %[206]
4–8 25 January – 23 February 180 1 0.6%
9 24 February – 1 March 752 13 1.7%
10 2–8 March 4,302 211 4.9%
11 9–15 March 8,990 835 9.3%
12 16–22 March 10,404 911 8.8%
13 23–29 March 12,349 1,943 15.7%
14 30 March – 5 April 17,776 3,211 18.1%
15 6–12 April 19,880 3,711 18.7%
16 13–19 April 20,233 3,741 18.5%
17 20–26 April 24,560 4,181 17.0%
18 27 April – 3 May 28,802 3,906 13.6%
19 4–10 May 29,129 4,215 14.5%
20 11–17 May 33,003 4,004 12.1%
21 18–24 May 28,986 3,713 12.8%
22 25–31 May 36,466 4,300 11.8%
23 1–7 June 49,162 6,060 12.3%
24 8-14 June 59,861 7,229 12.1%
25 15-21 June 61,803 7,462 12.1%
26 22-28 June 75,171 7,645 10.2%
Total 520,171 67,295 12.9%
Note: Data updated weekly. Latest data from 26 June 2020.

The first tests were carried out in January, and according to the Swedish Public Health Agency, ‘around twenty tests’ had already been carried out before the first positive case was confirmed on 30 January.[13] The agency considered that all individuals who developed any symptoms of disease in the respiratory tract after visiting Wuhan should be tested, even those with less severe symptoms.[207] The Public Health Agency expanded testing for COVID-19 on 4 March beyond only those who have been in risk areas abroad, to also test cases of pneumonia without known cause.[208] Initially, all tests were carried out at the agency's high-containment laboratory in Solna. But in mid-February, to increase testing capacity and allow for faster test results, testing also began at the clinical medical laboratories in Göteborg, Halmstad, Lund, Skövde, Stockholm, Umeå and Uppsala.[209] The Public Health agency considered testing and contact tracing to be more important in the early and late pandemic phases, to stop the spread of the disease and find every case, as "it isn't possible to test millions of individuals in the country" during the pandemic phase.[210]

At the end of March, the number of tests carried out each week numbered 10,000.[211] In mid-April, the number of weekly tests had doubled to approximately 20,000.[212] In early April, the government instructed for the testing capacity to be vastly increased to be able to analyse 100.000 samples every week. This was mainly to make it possible to test people with jobs considered crucial to society, for instance policemen and those working in rescue service or with electric power supply, while still having enough capacity to handle all tests needed for the health-care sector.[213][214] In mid-May, the number of tests carried out were still far from the goal, with approximately 30.000 tests carried out weekly, and according to a representative for Swedish municipalities and regions it would likely be 'weeks' until goals were met.[215][212] On 4 June, the government announced that due to several regions in Sweden having entered a late phase of the pandemic, coronavirus testing and contact tracing were to be broadened so that everyone with suspected COVID-19 symptoms could be tested free of cost.[216] On 31 May, a total of 275,819 samples had been tested since the start of the Swedish outbreak.[206]

CapacityEdit

The Stockholm International Fairs, Stockholmsmässan, are being converted into a field hospital with the help of the Swedish Defence Force. The field hospital will be able to house 600 seriously and critically sick patients.[217] The Swedish Defence Forces will provide equipment for 30 of the 600 beds and the Stockholm Regional Council will provide the remaining 570.[217] The facilities were initially used for treating less severe cases, as opposed to those needing intensive care.[218] In late April, it was reported that the Defence Force had provided 50 intensive care beds as part of the two field hospitals.[219] Field hospitals were also erected in Gothenburg,[220][221] and Helsingborg.[222] The field hospital in Älvsjö were never needed to be taken into use, and were dismantled in early June.[223] The Gothenburg hospital was used for intensive care during a short time span, but was soon taken out of use following massive criticism from health-care workers who voiced concern for patient safety, increased risks of infection and working conditions.[224][225]

 
An army-constructed field hospital outside Östra Sjukhuset in Gothenburg on 23 March 2020. The tents contain temporary intensive care units for COVID-19 patients.
 
Medical tent set up outside Visby Hospital, 14 March 2020.
 
Medical tent set up outside Enköping Hospital
 
Streetsigns outside Sahlgrenska hospital from late February telling those with potential symptoms of COVID-19 to wait outside the hospital.

The increasing number of cases in March resulted in the cancellation or postponement of close to 50% of planned surgeries, including cancer-related surgeries, in all of Sweden, and up to 90% in large areas such as Stockholm and Uppsala.[226] By May, 44,000 planned surgeries had been postponed in Sweden, increasing the total number of Swedes in line for a surgery to over 150,000.[227] Several regions also chose to cancel many, or all, planned non-acute dentistry as a measure to redistribute healthcare equipment like disposable gloves and masks.[228]

Before the pandemic, the Swedish healthcare system had the capacity to treat approximately 500 persons in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The relatively low number of beds had stayed a source of concern as the crisis evolved, and even though the number had increased to 800 at the beginning of April, healthcare professionals continued to express worry that their hospitals would eventually run out of beds. According to the calculations of the Swedish health agency, up to 1300 ICU beds would be needed when Sweden reached the top of the pandemic.[229][230] Sweden was eventually able to double the number of intensive care beds in a few weeks,[213] and on 13 April, the National Board of Health and Welfare reported that the total number of ICU beds had risen to 1039, with an occupancy of 80%.[231][232]

EquipmentEdit

On 13 March, media reported that there is a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care staff, and hospitals in Stockholm have been forced to reuse disposable PPEs after sanitation. The regional Health Care Director warned about this scenario in early March and government agencies have temporarily waived the public procurement law to hastily procure more supplies.[233] The National Board of Health and Welfare ('Socialstyrelsen') confirmed that there is no preparedness storage and nothing to distribute to the health care sector.[234][235] In early April, several counties expressed concern that they might run out of some vital drugs used in intensive care.[236][237] Later that month, Stockholm County reported of an acute shortage of the anaesthetic propofol.[238]

As one of the main tasks of the Swedish Defence Force is to support the civil community in case of disasters, their resources were used to lessen equipment shortages in the health-care system. The material supplied by the military included crucial medical equipment; X-ray generators, electrocardiographic machines, 154 ventilators and 154 intensive care monitors. The military also supplied personal protective equipment, including 60,000 gas masks and 40,000 protective suits.[219]

StaffingEdit

On 25 March 2020, Björn Eriksson, the Director of Healthcare in Stockholm, appealed to anyone in the Stockholm region who had experience in healthcare to volunteer. As of the 26 March 2020, 5100 people with healthcare experience had registered as volunteers.[239]

The increasing number of cases in large areas such as Stockholm and Uppsala has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of up to 90% of planned surgeries, including cancer related surgeries.[226]

When it became clear that the civil society would face difficulties managing the emergent crisis, the Swedish Defence Force were called in to assist the civilian society with manpower, equipment, and logistics. The preparations began in February and the first servicemen were deployed in March. By early April the total military deployed in civilian society numbered 400 servicemen, among them a number of officers to support the National Board of Health and Welfare with crisis management and laboratory technicians to support the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Tasks for the military personnel also including collecting and transporting samples. A number of military ambulances were also taken in use within the civilian health system.[219][240]

Impact on societyEdit

Finance and the economyEdit

In March, Swedish Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson said that the government believed that the Swedish economy would be hardly hit by the pandemic, with a 4% downturn in gross domestic product (GDP), similar to the levels seen following the 2008 financial crisis. Andersson also warned that they also expected unemployment to increase up to 9% during the year.[241] In a forecast by the Swedish National Institute of Economic Research published in late April, the Swedish GDP was expected to fall with 7% during 2020 due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic. The European Commission predicted that the Swedish economy would contract -6.1%, a level similar to that of the eurozone (-7.7%). In June, the Swedish central bank Sveriges Riksbank forecasted a fall of 10%. This was mainly due to the Swedish economy being heavily reliant on exports (which attributes to around half of the Swedish GDP) with the shrinking global economy being predicted to decrease international demand of Swedish goods and services. The Economy were also affected by problems with global supply lines, which had forced some of the biggest manufacturing companies in Sweden, including Scania and Volvo Cars, to halt their production in March, as well as a decrease in consumption.[242][103] The National Institute of Economic Research also exptected that unemployment in Sweden would rise to 11% during 2020, and the Swedish Pensions Agency calculated a 1.5% drop in pensions for 2021, as Swedish pensions are attached to GDP and income.[242][243] While some predicted a rebound already in the second half of 2020, Magdalena Andersson warned that things "could get worse before they get better"[103] In mid-June, Andersson said it was possible that Sweden had reached the bottom of the downturnn, as the government had revised their forecast to a -6% GDP downturn in GDP and an unemployment level of 9.3% (down from -7% and 11% respectively in their previous forcast) although they expected unemployment to further increase in 2021 to 10.3%. However, she cautioned that there was still a big uncertainty regarding the numbers. Similarly, the National Institute of Economic Research also revised their forecast downwards, to a -5.5% fall in GDP and for unemployment to increase to 8.5% during 2020, with a further increase up to 10% in 2021.[244]

In mid-March, the government proposed a 300 billion SEK (€27bn) emergency package to reduce the economic impact of the crisis. The proposal included a system with a reduction in work hours where the government will pay half to salary, aiming to help businesses stay afloat without having to do layoffs. Further, the government would pay the employer's expenses for any sick leaves, which is normally shared between the employer and the state.[245] The normal costs of employer contributions have also been temporarily discontinued for small business owners. This will save small businesses approximately 5000 SEK per employee each month but will result in a loss of tax revenue of 33 billion SEK.[246] The budget emergency package proposed by the government in mid-March to lessen the economic impact of the crisis was supported across the political spectrum, including all parties in opposition in the Riksdag. It was also welcomed by trade unions as well as the private and business sectors. However, some union representatives stressed that 'it won't be enough', a view shared by the biggest employer's organisation, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.[247]

On 2 April, the Financial Supervisory Authority ('Finansinspektionen') decided that Swedish banks temporarily can allow exemptions for housing mortgage lenders regarding amortising of loans.[248]

TransportationEdit

Air transportation in Sweden is primarily run by public and private companies – principally Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) and Norwegian Air Shuttle – and has been severely impacted by the pandemic and greatly reduced. Like airlines around the world, Sweden's carriers have reduced the frequency of their flights, reduced their work force and asked the local government for financial assistance. On 15 March, SAS announced that they would temporarily reduce their workforce by 10,000 people, which constitutes about 90% of their workforce.[249] Soon almost all domestic flights were cancelled. Swedish authorities advised against all non-essential travel inside and out of Sweden. SAS Group decided to fly only four domestic departures and four domestic arrivals from Arlanda from 6 April 2020, plus some international flights,[250] while Norwegian cancelled all domestic flights in Sweden.[251] Several airports closed temporarily.[citation needed]

Rail transport in Sweden, which is principally run by the public operator SJ AB, has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, albeit with a slightly reduced schedule so that additional carriages can be added to trains, which in conjunction with fewer tickets being made available for sale, aims to ensure social distancing of those passengers that continue to travel.[252] The decrease in travel had a big impact on the public transport sector due to a loss of revenue in ticket sales, which led to trade association Swedish Public Transport Association (Svensk kollektivtrafik) asking the government for financial aid.[253]

PoliticsEdit

In mid-March, the parliamentary leaders from the parties in the Riksdag agreed on using pairing for the upcoming weeks, to make it possible to decrease the number of members of parliament present during voting sessions, from the usual 349 to 55. This decision was taken both as a measure to lower the risk of spread of the infection (social distancing), and to make sure the daily work in the parliament could proceed even if a big number of MPs would become sick.[254][255] Similar decisions were taken in many of Swedish municipal councils.[256][257] Several regional assemblies also decreased the number of politicians present each session, including Västerbotten County who did it as a measure to decrease long-distance travelling, and Skåne County.[258][259][260]

On 25 March, The Swedish Social Democratic Party together with the Swedish Trade Union Confederation decided to cancel their traditional May Day demonstrations. They will instead hold an event on a digital platform, which will include speeches by the Swedish prime minister and leader of the Social Democrats, Stefan Löfven, as well as union confederation leader Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson.[261] The Left Party also cancelled their nationwide demonstrations, and announced that there would instead be a digital celebration, including a speech by party leader Jonas Sjöstedt.[262] The Almedalen Week, considered to be the biggest and most important forum in Sweden for seminars, debates and political speeches on current social issues, held in Visby every summer,[263] was cancelled as a result of the ban on large gatherings. The decision was taken on 1 April by the organiser after consultation with the major political parties.[264] Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén had already announced that he had cancelled his planned participation in the upcoming event.[265] A similar event in Stockholm, 'Järvaveckan', was also cancelled, and won't be held until 2021.[266] The annual LGBT festival West Pride in Gothenburg was also cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Instead, the organisers proclaimed 25 May to 7 June a 'flag period', encouraging organisations and individuals to hoist the rainbow flag.[267]

Royal familyEdit

Following the recommendation from the Swedish authorities that those over the age of 70 should self-isolate, the Swedish King and Queen, Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, aged 74 and 76, both chose to leave the palace to work from distance in the estate Stenhammar in Sörmland.[268][269]

On 5 April, at the first day of the Holy week, King Carl XVI Gustaf addressed the nation in a televised speech. In his speech, he stressed that all Swedes had an obligation to the country to "act responsibly and selflessly". He also stressed that many who otherwise would travel, spend time with friends and family or go to church would need to make sacrifices during the upcoming Easter holiday. In his speech, he specifically addressed those working or volunteering in the health-care sector, saying "This is a huge task. It requires courage. And it will require endurance. To all of you involved in this vital work, I offer my heartfelt thanks", as well as other people doing vital work in society, to ensure Swedes "can buy food, that public transport continues to operate, and everything else we so easily take for granted – my warmest thanks to you all". He finished saying that all would embrace the message "The journey is long and arduous. But in the end, light triumphs over darkness, and we will be able to feel hope again", ending his speech wishing everyone a happy Easter.[142][270]

EducationEdit

On 13 March 2020, the spring Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (′Högskoleprovet′) was cancelled affecting approximately 70,000 prospective students who had registered themselves. This was the first time the Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test has been cancelled since it was established in 1977.[271] On 23 March 2020 the Swedish National Agency for Education ('Skolverket'), cancelled the national tests to give teachers in Sweden more time to prepare for the possibility of distance education.[272]

DefenceEdit

The Swedish Armed Forces cancelled the international military exercise Aurora 20 which was scheduled to be held between May and June. Austria and Canada had previously announced their cancellation of their planned participation.[273]

Arts and entertainmentEdit

The ban of public gatherings with more than 500 people, later revised down to 50, led to concerts and other events being cancelled or postponed. Concerts cancelled due to the ban on large crowds included four sold-out concerts with Håkan Hellström at the Nya Ullevi Arena, Gothenburg, scheduled for June and August. As the total number of tickets sold to the concerts numbered 300,000,[274][275] it was believed to be a significant blow to Gothenburg's tourism industry, with a potential loss of 900 million SEK (€84 million) if all concerts scheduled at the arena were to be cancelled.[276] The organiser of the music festival Summerburst had previously announced cancelling their scheduled event at Nya Ullevi.[277] The rock festival Sweden Rock, held every year since 1992 in Blekinge and scheduled for June, was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.[278] Theatre and opera were affected, with major venues such as Gothenburg opera house, Malmö Opera, Royal Dramatic Theatre and Royal Swedish Opera all closing their venues and cancel upcoming events.[279][280][281] Cinema were affected as well, and Sweden's largest cinema chain, Filmstaden, decided to close all their cinemas on 17 March until further notice.[44] In April, the Swedish amusement parks Gröna Lund in Stockholm and Liseberg in Gothenburg announced that they were to cancel or reschedule all concerts scheduled before midsummer.[282] The former had already postponed the season opening indefinitely, while the latter were still hoping to open the park as planned in mid-May. As the amusement parks mostly rely on seasonal workers, closures would result in thousands of cancelled employment contracts.[283]

Starting 30 March 2020 the public library in Gävle will start with a book delivery service for people aged 70 or older. The library will also start a take-away service where you can pre-loan books and pick them in a take-away bag.[284]

TelevisionEdit

On 6 March, Swedish National Broadcaster SVT held a crisis meeting to consider broadcasting the live finals of Melodifestivalen 2020 on 7 March without an audience, as a response to the growing outbreak. The Danish equivalent had recently decided to broadcast their version of the finals without an audience. Ultimately, SVT decided to allow the audience to enter the arena, although they advised people who felt sick to stay at home.[285]

The popular TV show Antikrundan, broadcast by public broadcaster SVT, where a number of antiques appraisers visits different locations in Sweden to appraise antiques brought there by local people, cancelled their planned tour for the recording of the 2020 winter season. According to the producers, they were instead working on an 'alternative' show.[286] The sing-along show Lotta på Liseberg, which is televised live by TV4 from the amusement park Liseberg in Gothenburg, announced that the 2020 season wouldn't be cancelled, but would be recorded without an audience due to the ban of gatherings.[287] SVT had previously announced similar plans for their live sing-along show Allsång på Skansen, which is broadcast live from the amusement park Skansen in Stockholm.[288]

SportsEdit

In athletics, all 2020 Diamond League events scheduled to be held in May were postponed, which included the meet in Stockholm.[289] The world's largest half marathon in Gothenburg, Göteborgsvarvet, was postponed until later in 2020 and then cancelled completely on 27 March.[290] The annual recreational bicycle race Vätternrundan, scheduled to be held in June, was also cancelled as a result of the pandemic. The organisers made the decision public on 2 April.[291][292] The professional bicycle race Postnord UCI WWT Vårgårda West Sweden, part of the UCI Women's World Tour and scheduled for August, was also cancelled.[293]

On 19 March, the governing body for association football in Sweden formally announced that the premiere of the 2020 season for the first and second division leagues, men's Allsvenskan and Superettan as well as women's Damallsvenskan and Elitettan, will be postponed to late May or early June. The decision will not affect the leagues below the second level.[294] Two days later it was announced that the 2020 edition of the association football award ceremony Fotbollsgalan was cancelled.[295] Many of the professional teams in the highest division warned that the loss of income following the postponement of the season would have a severe impact on their economy.[296] After consultations with the Public Health Agency, the organisation behind youth football tournament Gothia Cup, in Gothenburg, decided to cancel the 2020 event. According to the organisers, the tournament will return in 2021.[297] The youth handball tournament Partille Cup was also cancelled.[298] Professional handball was affected as well, with the last rounds and the finals in the highest men's and women's leagues, Handbollsligan and Svensk handbollselit, being cancelled.[299] Similarly, the Swedish Basketball Federation choose to stop all games until May, effectively stopping the highest divisions SBL and SBL Dam mid-season.[300] In Speedway, the start of Elitserien, the highest league in the Swedish league system, was rescheduled to 2 June. To manage a tighter schedule, the sport's governing body Swedish Motorcycle and Snowmobile Federation also decided to cancel the quarterfinals.[301]

Swedish Minister for Sports Amanda Lind announced on 29 May that some recommendations were to be lifted starting from 14 June, when sports events would be allowed under the condition that they're practised outdoors. And as the ban on crowds and the recommendations against travel were still in place, all games had to be played on virtually empty arenas and athletes would not be allowed to travel longer than two miles to participate in sports events. However, professional athletes would be exempt from the recommendations, and allowed to travel nationwide if needed for competitive events.[302]

Debate and criticismEdit

The Swedish response to the pandemic has been debated within Sweden, though surveys show a wide agreement for the response among the public.[303][304][305] The debate has mostly involved academics, as the opposition in the Riksdag initially mostly avoided criticising the response from the government or the agencies.[306] The parties without representation in the government, including the liberal conservative party, the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the centre-right parties the Liberals and the Centre Party, and the socialist Left Party instead voiced their support for the government consisting of the Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Green Party, in what often is referred to as a 'borgfred' (truce) where the opposition support the government in a time of crisis.[307][308][309] The exception being the right-wing populist Sweden Democrats,[306] whose party leader Jimmie Åkesson called for school closings.[310] The leader of the Moderate Party, the biggest party in opposition, Ulf Kristersson, said that eventually it will be needed to evaluated by how the government and agencies handled the pandemic, "but not now".[308] In May, several opposition politicians sharply criticised the government and Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén for the low number of tests being carried out, despite promises from the Government in April to increase testing to 100.000 individuals a week. Kristersson demanded for Löfvén to be much more clear about who has the responsibility for the testing, and Ebba Busch, leader of the Christian Democrats, accused Löfvén of "weak rulership" playing a "high risk game with the lives and health of Swedes".[311] Left Party leader Jonas Sjöstedt said that the government needed to step in and take charge, and accused the government of having remained powerless when the regions failed to increase testing.[312]

 
Anders Tegnell being interviewed during his daily coronavirus briefing in April 2020

On 14 April, a debate article was sent to Swedish newspapers signed by 22 academics, saying that the strategy of the Swedish public health agency would lead to "chaos in the healthcare system". Moreover, they said that there was no transparency regarding the data used in the models made by the agency. Anders Tegnell from the public health agency responded to the criticism by saying that there was no lack in transparency in the agency's work and that all data is available to be downloaded by the public as an excel-file on their website.[313] Additionally Tegnell stated that the numbers of deaths presented in the published article are wrong, especially regarding the specific number of deaths per day. Another claim in the article saying that Sweden's statistics were closing in to the ones of Italy was countered by Anders Tegnell saying that unlike Sweden, Italy and many other countries only report on deaths in hospitals, making it hard to compare the numbers of the different countries.[314] He also said in an interview with the BBC that Sweden's strategy is largely working in slowing the spread of the disease; although the death toll in nursing homes was high, the country's healthcare system did not become overwhelmed, and that Sweden's approach had made it better-placed than other countries in dealing with a second wave of infections.[315][316][317]

Sweden questioned the scientific basis for imposing mandatory lockdown seen in other European countries, relying instead on the civic responsibility of its citizens to keep large parts of its society open. Although senior high schools were closed and gatherings of more than 50 people were banned, shops, restaurants and junior schools remained open. Swedes were expected to follow the recommendations on social distancing, avoiding non-essential travel, working from home and staying indoors if they are elderly or feeling ill.[316][318]

Sweden sometimes found itself used as a battering ram in debates, both to defend and to criticise more "strict" measures, including anti-lockdown protesters and Politicians.[319][320][321][322] Some foreign leaders have used Sweden as a warning example when defending their own strategy, including Alberto Fernández, President of Argentina, and US president Donald Trump who compared Sweden's higher death toll next to its neighbouring countries who had applied stricter measures, and said that "Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown".[323][324] Some of the harshest criticism from outside Sweden was found in the Chinese paper Global Times, closely linked to the ruling Communist Party of China, accused Sweden of having capitulated to the virus, calling the country 'a black hole' and called for the international community to condemn Sweden's actions.[325] Some, including Swedish Minister for Justice Morgan Johansson, speculated that the strong criticism may be partly linked to the poor relations between the two countries after China's imprisonment of the Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai.[326][325]

Sweden has also been accused[by whom?] of giving active death help to senior citizens that can be compared to euthanasia.[327] The country's treatment of its elderly was also questioned[by whom?] in a BBC article, " Coronavirus: What's going wrong in Sweden's care homes?”. [328]

Public opinionEdit

According to surveys carried out in late March and early April, three out of four Swedes (71–76%) trusted the Public Health Agency, and nearly half of the people surveyed (47%) said they had 'very high trust' in the agency. A majority said they trusted the government, and 85% said they trusted the Swedish health-care system.[303][304][305] A March 2020 survey reported that more than half (53%) of the Swedish population had trust in the state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, a higher share than for any of the current leaders of the Swedish political parties. The share of respondents who said that they didn't trust Tegnell was 18%. [329] In an April survey, the share who said they trusted Tegnell had increased to 69%, while the number who said they didn't trust their state epidemiologist had decreased to 11%.[330][331]

Media coverageEdit

Many outside Sweden considered the measures taken by the authorities against the pandemic to be significantly different when compared to other countries. As a result, there was a big increase in international news coverage of Sweden. According to the Swedish Institute, the situation was unique as they had never seen such interest in Sweden from mainstream media in their intelligence studies. There was also an increase in interactions on the coverage, including a higher number of shares on social media.[332][100][333][334] The Swedish strategy was sometimes described as "lax", "laissez-faire", "unorthodox" or "radical", in some cases even as "extreme" or as "Russian roulette". Much of the coverage was neutral, but it was sometimes described as curious, questioning or critical,[100][322][333][334] and was in some cases accused of being "fake news".[335] Over time, the reporting shifted to being more neutral or nuanced, or sometimes positive, with some speculating that the Swedish policy may be more durable in the long run.[334][336] A common news story in international media was things being "business as usual" in Sweden, with its citizens ignoring the recommendations to practice social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel, often accompanied by footage of crowded streets and restaurants.[100][334] One notable example was an article in the British newspaper The Guardian, claiming that everything in Sweden went on as normal, with Swedes "going about their daily routines". The article attracted particularly widespread notice, and was quoted by many European newspapers. The Guardian was also accused of misleading their readers in another article, by selectively choosing quotes and putting them in a different context, and by disproportionately giving room to critical voices from Sweden in their reporting.[335][337] Some reported that Sweden chose not to lock down to protect the economy.[334] Foreign news outlets often described Sweden as pursuing a herd immunity strategy.[100] This was echoed by US president Donald Trump, who in a press briefing told the assembled media that Sweden was "suffering very greatly" due to what he referred to as "the herd", and that the US, if it had not taken much stricter social distancing measures, "would have lost hundreds of thousands more people".[338][339] Responding partly to Trump's remarks, which she described by using the word "misinformation", Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde said that the "so-called Swedish strategy" was one of many myths about Sweden, and described it as "absolutely false". Linde said that the Swedish goal was no different from most other countries: to save lives, hinder the spread of the virus and make the situation manageable for the health system,[74] while Sweden's state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, when asked about Trump's remarks, said that in his opinion Sweden was doing relatively well, and was no worse off than New York.[340] Remarks similar to Linde's have also been made by Lena Hallengren, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, who disagreed with the belief that Sweden had a radically different approach to the virus compared to other countries, saying she believed that there were only differences in two major regards: not shutting down schools, and not having regulations forcing people to remain in their homes.[341] Linde has also spoken out against reports of Swedes not practising social distancing, calling it another "myth" in the reporting about Sweden, and she said Sweden's combination of recommendations and legally binding measures had so far proven effective.[74] Swedish experts critical of the Swedish strategy were often quoted in international media, among them immunologist Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, one of the most vocal critics,[342][343] who was quoted accusing the government of "leading us to catastrophe" and having "decided to let people die".[337]

StatisticsEdit

CasesEdit

As of 26 April, 18,670 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Sweden.[1] As of mid-April, Södermanland County was the region most affected by the pandemic (in cases per capita), followed by Stockholm County and Östergötland County.[344]

Total casesEdit

source: Public Health Agency of Sweden[1]
Total confirmed cases
Note: Data on new cases is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day (but from 18 June 2020 not on weekends). Reports of new cases to the Public Health Agency might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days.[2] The jump in cases in early June is due to increased primary care testing in several counties.[345]

Cases per dayEdit

Note: Data on new cases is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day. Reports of new cases to the Public Health Agency might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days.[2] The jump in cases in early June is due to increased primary care testing in several counties.[345]

Intensive careEdit

Swedish hospitals saw a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients receiving intensive care during March. The number of new patients somewhat stabilised during the first two weeks of April, with between 30–45 patients per day, averaging 39. The number of new patients admitted to ICU decreased slightly during the third week of April, averaging 35. The mean age of the patients who underwent intensive care was 59 years old, three out of four (74%) were men, and the average time between diagnosis and admission to an intensive care unit was 10 days. The majority (68%) of those who received intensive care had one or more underlying condition considered as one of the risk groups, with the most prevalent being hypertension (37%), diabetes (25%), chronic pulmonary heart disease (24%), chronic respiratory disease (14%) and chronic cardiovascular disease (11%). The share of patients not belonging to a risk group was significantly higher among younger patients. Among those younger than 60 years, 39% didn't have any of those underlying conditions.[346] As of 26 April, 1,315 with a confirmed COVID-19 infection had received intensive care in Sweden.[1]

Total hospitalisationsEdit

Note: Data on new intensive care hospitalisations is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day, and is based on reports to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry (SIR). Data includes all intensive care cases with a COVID-19 diagnosis (U07.1), but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2).[2]

Hospitalisations per dayEdit

source: Public Health Agency of Sweden[1]
intensive care hospitalisations per day
Note: Data on new intensive care hospitalisations is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day, and is based on reports to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry (SIR). Data includes all intensive care cases with a COVID-19 diagnosis (U07.1), but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2).[2]

DeathsEdit

A large majority (93%) of the deaths belonged to at least one risk group, with chronic cardiovascular disease being the most prevalent (53%), followed by diabetes (26%), chronic respiratory disease (18%) and chronic renal failure (16%).[347] More than half of the deaths have been in Stockholm County.[348] As of early May, the mean age among those who had died with confirmed COVID-19 disease was 82,[3] and the majority (54%) of those who had died with the disease were men.[349]

Total deathsEdit

source: Public Health Agency of Sweden[1]
Total deaths with confirmed COVID-19
Note: Data on new deaths is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day from the communicable disease surveillance system SmiNet. Reports of new deaths to the Public Health Agency might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days. In mid-April, approximately 30% of the cases were reported within 24 hours, 50% within 48 hours, and 90% within one week. Data from the Health Agency includes all deaths where a COVID-19 diagnosis (U07.1) had been confirmed during the past 30 days, including cases where the cause of death wasn't attributed to COVID-19 (as of data from the National Board of Health and Welfare from 21 April, this number amounted to 4.5% of cases confirmed in a laboratory), but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2).

Deaths per dayEdit

source: Public Health Agency of Sweden[1]
Deaths with confirmed COVID-19 per day
Note: Data on new deaths is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day from the communicable disease surveillance system SmiNet. Reports of new deaths to the Public Health Agency might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days. In mid-April, approximately 30% of the cases were reported within 24 hours, 50% within 48 hours, and 90% within one week. Data from the Health Agency includes all deaths where a COVID-19 diagnosis (U07.1) had been confirmed during the past 30 days, including cases where the cause of death wasn't attributed to COVID-19 (as of data from the National Board of Health and Welfare from 21 April, this number amounted to 4.5% of cases confirmed in a laboratory), but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2).

Nursing homesEdit

Out of the people who died of the disease in Sweden, many were residents in nursing homes. In early May, more than 500 nursing homes had reported cases of COVID-19.[350] Among people aged 70 or older, half (50%) of those who died had been living at a nursing home, while another 26% had received home care.[8][351] A 30% excess mortality was observed at Swedish nursing homes during the pandemic.[9] The figure differed between regions, with the figures being highest in Stockholm County where the excess mortality at nursing homes reached approximately 100%, according to research by SVT.[352][353]

Age and genderEdit

source: National Board of Health and Welfare[349]
COVID-19 deaths by gender and age
Note: Data is compiled by the National Board of Health and Welfare and is based on death certificates. Data includes both confirmed cases (U07.1) and non-confirmed cases (U07.2)

Excess mortalityEdit

During the pandemic, an excess mortality was observed in Sweden from late March and onwards.[note 4] As the number of deaths with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis only amounted to 75% of this number, the actual number of deaths related to COVID-19 was believed to be higher.[354] The excess mortality reached a peak during the first half of April, but the mortality rate was still considered to be above normal levels in mid-May. As of 17 May, there had been approximately 4000 excess deaths in Sweden since late March.[355][356] As of 31 May, there had been approximately 4,800 excess deaths in Sweden.[2][4][5] According to SCB preliminary statistics in week 15, the number of deaths registered was 2 564[357] (on average 366 per day). This is 200 deaths more than the second highest number of deaths in a week, which was 2 364 deaths in the first week of 2000.[358] A total of 10 458 people died in April 2020, which almost reaches the level of December 1993 – then 11 057 people died. In total, 97 008 people died in 1993 which was the highest number of deaths in one year since 1918 during the peak of the Spanish flu.[359][360]

source: Statistics Sweden[361] smoothed by applying 7-day moving average
All-cause daily deaths 2015–2020

Additional data, charts and tablesEdit

All-cause deaths in Sweden in Oct–May, calculated from SCB[1][2]:

Above, each year on the x-axis is the year of Jan–May data, while Oct–Dec data are for the previous year. Beware that the above is not adjusted for population, which was growing during the shown period.

All-cause weekly deaths in Sweden in 2016–2020, from FOHM:[362]
 

New weekly cases as percentage of tests for Sweden from FOHM[3]:

Compared to other Scandinavian nations, Sweden has experienced a much higher number of COVID-19 deaths; eight times that of Denmark and 19 times higher than Norway, despite being only twice those nations' populations.[363] At a point, it was reported that a disproportionate number of those that had died by then were Somali (6)[364] out of 89[365] deaths being members of the Somali community in the Stockholm Region.[364]

New COVID-19 cases in Sweden by county ()
Source: FOHM[366][a] County Cases[b] Deaths[b] ICU admissions Analysed samples[367]
Date New Total Diff 7d avg New Total Diff 7d avg New Total Diff 7d avg Total in ICU Week Samples
                                         
4 11
5 26
2020-02-04 1 1 1 6 78
1 7 38
1 8 27
2020-02-26 1 1 2 100.0% 9 9
2020-02-27 1 1 3 50.0%
2020-02-28 1 2 2 3 8 11 266.7% 2
2020-02-29 1 2 3 14 27.3% 2
2020-03-01 0 14 0.0% 2
2020-03-02 1 1 3 5 19 35.7% 3 10 10
2020-03-03 1 10 2 13 32 68.4% 4
2020-03-04 7 21 1 1 30 62 93.8% 9
2020-03-05 22 2 1 25 87 40.3% 12
2020-03-06[c] 2 8 36 1 11 1 59 146 67.8% 19 1 1 0
2020-03-07 5 21 1 5 1 33 179 22.6% 24 1 2 100.0% 0
2020-03-08 1 2 29 1 11 2 46 225 25.7% 30 1 3 50.0% 0
2020-03-09 4 6 1 3 64 1 7 15 101 326 44.9% 44 0 3 0.0% 0 11 8990
2020-03-10 1 1 1 1 34 26 4 3 8 6 13 98 424 30.1% 56 2 5 66.7% 1
2020-03-11[d] 6 1 2 1 16 3 16 2 7 4 37 32 6 4 2 57 196 620 46.2% 80 1 1 1 6 20.0% 1
2020-03-12[e] 2 3 2 9 5 7 2 2 32 42 3 11 4 1 3 19 3 1 151 771 24.4% 98 1 0 6 0.0% 1
2020-03-13 1 1 9 3 4 3 1 42 31 6 10 3 2 5 19 2 10 152 923 19.7% 111 1 2 100.0% 0 2 8 33.3% 1
2020-03-14 1 3 2 1 25 18 1 4 1 3 5 7 71 994 7.7% 116 1 3 50.0% 0 6 14 75.0% 2
2020-03-15 1 2 7 4 1 4 17 4 1 1 18 9 69 1063 6.9% 120 2 5 66.7% 1 5 19 35.7% 2
2020-03-16 2 1 1 2 3 34 12 2 2 2 1 7 6 8 83 1146 7.8% 117 2 7 40.0% 1 5 24 26.3% 3 12 10,404
2020-03-17 1 3 1 4 3 1 1 1 6 35 5 5 1 3 1 6 13 16 13 119 1265 10.4% 120 1 8 14.3% 1 3 27 12.5% 3
2020-03-18 1 2 1 2 2 4 2 1 1 8 58 17 1 3 1 10 3 28 145 1410 11.5% 113 6 14 75.0% 2 15 42 55.6% 5
2020-03-19 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 66 5 5 2 1 14 9 28 143 1553 10.1% 112 7 21 50.0% 3 8 50 19.0% 6
2020-03-20 5 5 5 3 3 1 5 5 84 4 1 2 5 2 23 5 22 180 1733 11.6% 116 9 30 42.9% 4 17 67 34.0% 8
2020-03-21 4 3 14 4 1 3 5 71 6 2 1 8 12 134 1867 7.7% 125 8 38 26.7% 5 13 80 19.4% 9
2020-03-22 5 1 9 1 1 4 3 59 11 5 1 1 4 13 118 1985 6.3% 132 11 49 28.9% 6 27 107 33.8% 13
2020-03-23 9 3 4 2 3 5 7 99 2 8 2 2 3 9 6 18 182 2167 9.2% 146 11 60 22.4% 8 37 144 34.6% 17 13 12,349
2020-03-24 9 5 4 5 1 2 6 5 105 14 11 3 3 2 4 10 11 30 230 2397 10.6% 162 21 81 35.0% 10 32 176 22.2% 21
2020-03-25 3 13 1 7 7 2 7 2 1 5 13 154 37 15 4 2 3 19 8 11 314 2711 13.1% 186 22 103 27.2% 13 31 207 17.6% 24
2020-03-26 8 4 5 9 7 9 6 2 3 7 132 16 12 3 3 5 20 6 29 286 2997 10.5% 206 31 134 30.1% 16 40 247 19.3% 28
2020-03-27 2 15 1 9 3 3 15 5 4 4 10 176 26 20 1 2 2 11 18 6 33 366 3363 12.2% 233 32 166 23.9% 19 29 276 11.7% 30
2020-03-28 6 12 6 8 10 1 2 4 2 147 8 7 3 5 2 3 25 8 41 300 3663 8.9% 257 35 201 21.1% 23 28 304 10.1% 32
2020-03-29 4 10 11 2 2 8 1 4 2 3 150 4 11 1 1 9 15 3 40 281 3944 7.7% 280 38 239 18.9% 27 41 345 13.5% 34
2020-03-30 9 10 5 2 15 3 1 5 5 172 60 21 1 7 6 23 27 17 27 416 4360 10.5% 313 45 284 18.8% 32 29 374 8.4% 33 267 14 17,783
2020-03-31 1 23 1 14 7 1 17 2 5 6 7 209 49 15 8 13 10 29 11 47 475 4835 10.9% 348 48 332 16.9% 36 34 408 9.1% 33 298
2020-04-01 5 19 30 4 13 5 1 5 8 205 49 25 2 5 2 11 29 5 63 486 5321 10.1% 373 53 385 16.0% 40 48 456 11.8% 36 314
2020-04-02 3 6 1 17 9 4 32 5 7 8 8 216 34 28 12 1 18 47 28 70 554 5875 10.4% 411 70 455 18.2% 46 47 503 10.3% 37 347
2020-04-03 1 20 1 16 12 2 29 2 2 6 24 245 59 38 1 17 3 27 48 20 28 601 6476 10.2% 445 80 535 17.6% 53 39 542 7.8% 38 366
2020-04-04 4 18 12 2 2 15 1 2 3 12 129 17 11 1 17 6 14 30 3 58 357 6833 5.5% 453 70 605 13.1% 58 36 578 6.6% 39
2020-04-05 1 7 7 3 12 3 2 2 6 172 27 9 1 8 2 7 30 41 340 7173 5.0% 461 85 690 14.0% 64 45 623 7.8% 40
2020-04-06 16 12 10 4 10 6 3 10 6 131 18 31 2 4 4 18 53 12 39 389 7562 5.4% 457 90 780 13.0% 71 42 665 6.7% 42 15 19,880
2020-04-07 1 28 16 13 6 23 4 14 17 24 243 42 37 7 13 10 46 64 73 57 738 8300 9.8% 495 84 864 10.8% 76 45 710 6.8% 43
2020-04-08 2 28 1 17 9 8 18 2 7 12 15 271 33 29 1 12 5 23 68 37 57 655 8955 7.9% 519 115 979 13.3% 85 48 758 6.8% 43
2020-04-09 1 29 1 18 12 8 21 1 5 5 11 240 38 29 4 12 5 25 116 10 54 645 9600 7.2% 532 86 1065 8.8% 87 36 794 4.7% 42
2020-04-10 1 17 18 4 8 19 1 4 6 23 148 41 4 3 15 8 27 69 7 31 454 10054 4.7% 511 90 1155 8.5% 89 36 830 4.5% 41
2020-04-11 9 10 2 2 5 3 10 2 6 200 22 15 2 2 33 32 13 27 395 10449 3.9% 517 103 1258 8.9% 93 44 874 5.3% 42
2020-04-12 1 31 17 3 6 9 2 4 2 14 182 14 13 4 5 18 42 75 22 464 10913 4.4% 534 97 1355 7.7% 95 36 910 4.1% 41
2020-04-13 12 11 3 6 5 6 3 17 9 200 20 13 3 5 6 18 48 21 31 437 11350 4.0% 541 85 1440 6.3% 94 43 953 4.7% 41 16 20,233
2020-04-14 1 12 11 6 14 11 5 6 4 12 179 16 39 2 5 5 12 63 53 23 479 11829 4.2% 504 91 1531 6.3% 95 41 994 4.3% 41
2020-04-15 28 2 17 6 15 28 2 12 3 19 215 42 32 3 14 5 30 70 30 31 604 12433 5.1% 497 115 1646 7.5% 95 32 1026 3.2% 38
2020-04-16 25 1 21 15 12 23 4 10 13 17 221 47 37 7 3 3 31 84 30 19 623 13056 5.0% 494 111 1757 6.7% 99 33 1059 3.2% 38
2020-04-17 26 24 9 19 36 5 12 15 21 221 64 44 3 19 5 27 77 32 29 688 13744 5.3% 527 82 1839 4.7% 98 40 1099 3.8% 38
2020-04-18 27 29 7 9 35 2 21 1 17 180 8 18 3 3 2 18 48 52 52 532 14276 3.9% 547 86 1925 4.7% 95 29 1128 2.6% 36
2020-04-19 8 8 6 6 15 4 11 2 5 192 13 17 4 7 8 29 31 6 16 388 14664 2.7% 536 88 2013 4.6% 94 33 1161 2.9% 36
2020-04-20 1 10 1 4 10 1 8 6 9 8 9 211 13 32 7 4 2 28 50 23 24 461 15125 3.1% 539 84 2097 4.2% 94 28 1189 2.4% 34 17 24,550
2020-04-21 4 35 22 17 13 49 11 14 3 7 163 53 32 7 5 12 37 123 64 35 706 15831 4.7% 572 62 2159 3.0% 90 34 1223 2.9% 33
2020-04-22 6 33 3 22 19 17 31 11 13 5 20 288 50 32 5 9 4 19 79 27 29 722 16553 4.6% 589 77 2236 3.6% 84 49 1272 4.0% 35
2020-04-23 2 41 2 13 18 8 46 11 25 15 22 291 26 41 3 12 17 26 72 38 29 758 17311 4.6% 608 86 2322 3.8% 81 27 1299 2.1% 34
2020-04-24 7 29 1 19 17 10 24 1 2 8 38 233 53 55 4 12 16 36 147 41 33 786 18097 4.5% 622 89 2411 3.8% 82 46 1345 3.5% 35
2020-04-25 45 2 23 2 13 19 1 21 12 138 8 12 5 6 5 94 37 30 473 18570 2.6% 613 73 2484 3.0% 80 28 1373 2.1% 35
2020-04-26 1 5 3 6 5 1 5 2 4 2 23 110 8 8 2 11 11 24 46 17 6 300 18870 1.6% 601 75 2559 3.0% 78 26 1399 1.9% 34
2020-04-27 8 4 11 18 6 23 7 7 10 34 226 10 35 8 4 11 24 99 18 13 576 19446 3.1% 617 73 2632 2.9% 76 27 1426 1.9% 34 18 28,802
2020-04-28 3 35 4 16 10 11 18 5 21 1 33 259 57 52 17 3 4 21 83 74 34 761 20207 3.9% 625 82 2714 3.1% 79 33 1459 2.3% 34
2020-04-29 6 52 7 21 10 18 43 11 14 7 37 279 34 22 14 18 11 24 149 34 19 830 21037 4.1% 641 84 2798 3.1% 80 25 1484 1.7% 30
2020-04-30 14 3 21 8 20 28 7 12 9 30 257 23 43 9 5 19 14 95 44 17 678 21715 3.2% 629 78 2876 2.8% 79 33 1517 2.2% 31
2020-05-01 2 1 21 2 7 23 7 15 7 12 141 55 13 13 2 9 20 123 34 25 532 22247 2.4% 593 78 2954 2.7% 78 15 1532 1.0% 27
2020-05-02 1 1 2 14 8 13 18 2 12 1 28 80 7 12 6 3 7 13 33 20 17 298 22545 1.3% 568 73 3027 2.5% 78 28 1560 1.8% 27
2020-05-03 3 1 8 2 6 7 1 10 1 6 128 1 11 3 6 4 42 14 8 262 22807 1.2% 562 75 3102 2.5% 78 27 1587 1.7% 27
2020-05-04 64 6 23 10 2 16 14 4 4 38 173 2 21 6 1 4 8 75 17 13 501 23308 2.2% 552 84 3186 2.7% 79 25 1612 1.6% 27 19 29,129
2020-05-05 3 28 14 21 22 22 5 34 7 21 173 39 52 17 3 4 17 110 49 21 662 23970 2.8% 538 72 3258 2.3% 78 20 1632 1.2% 25
2020-05-06 1 22 23 23 9 24 3 22 8 41 212 34 37 14 8 17 19 177 35 22 752 24722 3.1% 526 73 3331 2.2% 76 26 1658 1.6% 25
2020-05-07 2 19 2 36 15 18 28 8 34 5 13 304 20 42 9 8 25 17 163 37 16 822 25544 3.3% 547 80 3411 2.4% 76 28 1686 1.7% 24
2020-05-08 4 16 1 23 15 10 27 5 26 4 52 235 23 43 8 5 10 21 129 35 21 713 26257 2.8% 573 60 3471 1.8% 74 26 1712 1.5% 26
2020-05-09 1 11 1 51 5 19 33 4 21 18 114 7 41 7 9 7 109 29 22 509 26766 1.9% 603 67 3538 1.9% 73 14 1726 0.8% 24
2020-05-10 4 6 4 6 4 6 2 18 78 6 12 3 1 10 1 86 16 15 278 27044 1.0% 605 74 3612 2.1% 73 17 1743 1.0% 22
2020-05-11 3 12 10 14 11 6 6 11 21 241 1 19 3 1 4 32 54 27 10 487 27531 1.8% 603 64 3676 1.8% 70 15 1758 0.9% 21 20 32,002
2020-05-12 4 18 2 27 13 12 29 6 28 4 34 280 33 30 15 10 19 10 150 46 30 802 28333 2.9% 623 61 3737 1.7% 68 16 1774 0.9% 20
2020-05-13 3 22 30 7 15 34 1 31 12 30 259 14 27 6 7 15 26 133 30 19 721 29054 2.5% 619 50 3787 1.3% 65 19 1793 1.1% 19
2020-05-14 2 15 40 13 30 14 5 18 6 39 177 11 37 14 14 14 31 151 24 31 686 29740 2.4% 599 46 3833 1.2% 60 15 1808 0.8% 17
2020-05-15 6 10 30 22 15 35 7 23 2 42 207 19 37 8 14 25 14 154 26 15 712 30452 2.4% 599 57 3890 1.5% 60 22 1830 1.2% 17
2020-05-16 2 1 1 24 8 7 21 3 16 3 21 64 5 24 7 3 18 97 20 13 358 30810 1.2% 578 48 3938 1.2% 57 18 1848 1.0% 17
2020-05-17 1 17 7 4 8 24 2 7 1 11 59 6 3 3 2 89 3 12 259 31069 0.8% 575 53 3991 1.3% 54 19 1867 1.0% 18
2020-05-18 9 15 19 15 5 7 8 3 23 177 6 31 8 6 7 36 40 11 31 457 31526 1.5% 571 61 4052 1.5% 54 23 1890 1.2% 19 21 28,986
2020-05-19 6 2 1 34 14 9 41 2 27 2 63 202 18 35 15 14 38 22 105 22 17 691 32217 2.2% 555 39 4091 1.0% 51 13 1903 0.7% 18
2020-05-20 23 31 2 25 42 18 32 3 20 7 44 191 22 53 16 4 27 22 162 54 27 827 33044 2.6% 570 54 4145 1.3% 51 14 1917 0.7% 18
2020-05-21 17 25 10 22 28 1 18 6 23 124 6 17 20 9 16 25 168 38 41 614 33658 1.9% 560 53 4198 1.3% 52 13 1930 0.7% 17
2020-05-22 10 5 23 8 8 12 11 13 3 44 146 10 27 2 7 21 11 146 10 12 535 34193 1.6% 534 55 4253 1.3% 52 15 1945 0.8% 16
2020-05-23 2 13 1 22 6 23 27 18 1 27 78 2 19 19 6 24 84 8 23 403 34596 1.2% 541 56 4309 1.3% 53 16 1961 0.8% 16
2020-05-24 3 7 1 8 2 2 17 11 9 59 1 13 3 3 10 27 29 5 210 34806 0.6% 534 43 4352 1.0% 52 16 1977 0.8% 16
2020-05-25 3 3 18 8 2 24 16 8 9 29 182 14 30 2 3 28 107 11 9 513 35319 1.5% 542 42 4394 1.0% 49 29 2006 1.5% 17 22 36,466
2020-05-26 12 18 22 21 15 35 17 12 7 51 213 12 48 23 2 41 35 120 28 25 763 36082 2.2% 552 28 4422 0.6% 47 14 2020 0.7% 17
2020-05-27 19 16 30 34 18 45 14 32 10 37 225 20 35 27 14 33 40 106 31 30 820 36902 2.3% 551 39 4461 0.9% 45 15 2035 0.7% 17
2020-05-28 11 16 2 27 27 17 38 18 20 6 49 282 12 39 26 3 23 22 102 31 780 37682 2.1% 575 40 4501 0.9% 43 19 2054 0.9% 18
2020-05-29 10 10 1 30 17 11 28 4 11 21 46 216 4 41 30 6 29 19 223 18 1 781 38463 2.1% 610 40 4541 0.9% 41 13 2067 0.6% 17
2020-05-30 6 15 8 26 11 24 36 1 12 3 34 73 2 38 16 8 2 117 432 38895 1.1% 614 39 4580 0.9% 39 18 2085 0.9% 18
2020-05-31 7 5 12 7 7 18 3 10 8 67 14 2 2 4 99 265 39160 0.7% 622 45 4625 1.0% 39 14 2099 0.7% 17
2020-06-01 3 7 0 10 22 2 11 10 6 21 27 162 16 31 6 0 30 53 93 51 92 653 39813 1.7% 642 40 4665 0.9% 39 21 2120 1.0% 16 23 49,162
2020-06-02 18 23 5 45 31 11 35 5 18 9 71 153 20 62 21 8 16 35 269 18 32 905 40718 2.3% 662 36 4701 0.8% 40 15 2135 0.7% 16
2020-06-03 18 14 1 31 11 11 41 9 12 15 38 251 15 50 14 5 30 33 429 24 31 1083 41801 2.7% 700 26 4727 0.6% 38 18 2153 0.8% 17
2020-06-04 10 13 1 44 22 15 26 14 11 19 42 220 26 58 21 5 27 33 405 8 37 1057 42858 2.5% 739 45 4772 1.0% 39 16 2169 0.7% 16
2020-06-05 10 20 1 43 23 13 42 14 19 16 38 238 17 37 12 5 24 19 483 46 42 1162 44020 2.7% 794 38 4810 0.8% 38 20 2189 0.9% 17
2020-06-06 5 16 2 37 19 22 40 1 3 7 23 207 1 56 24 8 7 0 284 19 45 826 44846 1.9% 850 29 4839 0.6% 37 20 2209 0.9% 18
2020-06-07 18 6 0 21 8 7 23 3 11 0 12 47 3 14 11 4 20 0 230 15 9 462 45308 1.0% 878 33 4872 0.7% 35 14 2223 0.6% 18
2020-06-08 10 9 0 15 17 1 13 13 5 30 33 242 29 15 15 4 24 67 123 7 4 676 45984 1.5% 882 38 4910 0.8% 35 16 2239 0.7% 17 24 59,861
2020-06-09 9 17 5 12 28 17 63 11 15 11 45 256 3 59 21 6 20 33 258 26 48 963 46947 2.1% 890 34 4944 0.7% 35 15 2254 0.7% 17
2020-06-10 1 18 4 66 26 15 155 11 11 12 63 267 6 44 26 8 29 62 583 27 52 1486 48433 3.2% 947 39 4983 0.8% 37 10 2264 0.4% 16
2020-06-11 26 9 5 52 29 11 131 10 14 12 55 222 8 40 20 5 13 69 529 36 51 1347 49780 2.8% 989 34 5017 0.7% 35 12 2276 0.5% 15
2020-06-12 14 13 6 56 24 19 137 14 12 41 59 203 23 46 15 8 28 51 541 12 69 1391 51171 2.8% 1022 28 5045 0.6% 34 12 2288 0.5% 14
2020-06-13 12 6 1 44 24 5 121 9 15 33 40 182 53 38 14 6 3 0 448 14 45 1113 52284 2.2% 1063 33 5078 0.7% 34 14 2302 0.6% 13
2020-06-14 10 4 0 35 4 6 16 3 2 41 8 75 19 5 4 3 1 0 161 11 10 418 52702 0.8% 1056 26 5104 0.5% 33 12 2314 0.5% 13
2020-06-15 3 3 5 23 9 20 11 11 1 47 37 141 6 13 10 1 37 80 222 8 20 708 53410 1.3% 1061 29 5133 0.6% 32 12 2326 0.5% 12 25 61,803
2020-06-16 7 7 0 38 47 21 143 9 12 56 93 238 3 56 22 9 29 35 354 54 49 1282 54692 2.4% 1106 28 5161 0.5% 31 8 2334 0.3% 11
2020-06-17 13 6 5 41 25 23 206 14 4 66 98 380 25 62 12 6 28 71 335 20 62 1502 56194 2.7% 1109 32 5193 0.6% 30 12 2346 0.5% 12
2020-06-18 6 16 2 65 23 12 169 22 8 65 88 424 62 84 12 15 54 34 304 21 73 1559 57753 2.8% 1139 28 5221 0.5% 29 12 2358 0.5% 12
2020-06-19 5 20 1 30 9 10 224 11 5 19 65 448 5 33 16 10 1 48 279 10 71 1320 59073 2.3% 1129 27 5248 0.5% 29 8 2366 0.3% 11
2020-06-20 4 5 3 31 6 1 7 2 3 2 13 211 0 60 7 11 2 0 386 1 19 774 59847 1.3% 1080 26 5274 0.5% 28 6 2372 0.3% 10
2020-06-21 0 4 4 12 3 1 7 2 1 0 17 92 0 9 5 0 3 0 139 5 18 322 60169 0.5% 1067 19 5293 0.4% 27 12 2384 0.5% 10
2020-06-22 0 11 4 9 10 5 9 2 0 51 23 230 57 21 6 5 41 39 262 8 19 812 60981 1.3% 1082 18 5311 0.3% 25 14 2398 0.6% 10 26 75,171
2020-06-23 8 29 8 52 86 12 170 15 6 103 73 244 25 100 17 10 14 24 268 19 61 1344 62325 2.2% 1090 25 5336 0.5% 25 7 2405 0.3% 10
2020-06-24 5 30 3 136 17 8 229 7 2 55 86 322 41 92 27 19 47 81 513 8 78 1806 64131 2.9% 1134 22 5358 0.4% 24 6 2411 0.2% 9
2020-06-25 6 29 1 93 24 9 159 13 6 63 52 252 8 71 17 12 17 40 379 27 57 1335 65466 2.1% 1102 13 5371 0.2% 21 8 2419 0.3% 9
2020-06-26 3 34 8 88 70 12 110 19 5 67 54 229 40 52 14 11 29 28 313 16 37 1239 66705 1.9% 1090 6 5377 0.1% 18 5 2424 0.2% 8
2020-06-27 3 31 1 2 31 5 100 7 2 2 17 322 0 50 11 6 9 0 238 6 49 892 67597 1.3% 1107 7 5384 0.1% 16 4 2428 0.2% 8
2020-06-28 2 4 0 5 1 3 10 1 4 0 5 226 1 14 1 4 0 0 178 4 14 477 68074 0.7% 1129 12 5396 0.2% 15 8 2436 0.3% 7
2020-06-29[a] 0 3 2 29 54 8 7 6 0 53 28 286 23 6 14 0 49 43 137 3 26 777 68851 1.1% 1124 13 5409 0.2% 14 4 2440 0.2% 6 27
2020-06-30 3 33 2 7 52 4 90 20 3 4 25 215 17 68 7 10 17 21 255 14 38 905 69756 1.3% 1062 8 5417 0.1% 12 5 2445 0.2% 6
2020-07-01 2 32 0 63 3 2 91 22 2 7 17 194 2 44 4 13 30 32 105 31 48 744 70500 1.1% 910 3 5420 0.1% 9 5 2450 0.2% 6 137
2020-07-02 3 46 0 7 37 10 48 26 4 14 27 196 21 22 14 7 7 24 220 21 20 774 71274 1.1% 830 6 5426 0.1% 8 8 2458 0.3% 6 124
2020-07-03 8 25 0 75 17 11 53 9 1 30 27 222 8 26 6 5 38 37 186 20 12 816 72090 1.1% 769 2 5428 0.0% 7 2 2460 0.1% 5 129
2020-07-04 0 14 2 15 1 0 48 2 0 0 2 143 0 18 1 5 18 0 179 16 26 490 72580 0.7% 712 4 5432 0.1% 7 1 2461 0.0% 5 124
2020-07-05 0 25 7 64 0 2 2 0 0 2 1 137 0 0 0 7 7 40 125 0 14 433 73013 0.6% 706 1 5433 0.0% 5 4 2465 0.2% 4 120
2020-07-06 2 2 3 23 0 0 2 8 2 38 27 54 9 2 4 0 27 27 19 22 3 274 73287 0.4% 634 3 5436 0.1% 4 2 2467 0.1% 4 116 28
2020-07-07 0 1 0 7 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 15 12 6 2 0 0 3 5 0 3 57 73344 0.1% 513 0 5436 0.0% 3 0 2467 0.0% 3 103
2020-07-08
County                                           Total cases[b] Total deaths[b][f] Total ICU admissions Total analysed samples
Total cases[b] 462 1804 174 2721 1592 1064 4305 707 1075 1428 3173 21490 2264 3398 986 741 1503 2425 16231 2443 3358 67,667

(669 per 100k pop)

5,310

(52.5 per 100k pop)

2,423

(23.9 per 100k pop)

444,607

(4393 per 100k pop)

Cases per 100k 289 626 292 947 477 813 1184 288 534 571 230 904 761 886 349 273 613 879 940 801 721
Total deaths[b] 14 157 6 135 72 54 173 58 100 67 252 2344 244 232 69 31 117 170 763 165 224
Deaths per 100k 9 55 10 47 22 41 48 24 50 27 18 99 82 60 24 11 48 62 44 54 48 Currently in ICU-care for Covid-19:

152[370]

Total ICU-care 8 64 6 68 37 17 89 29 23 52 109 896 132 154 31 32 52 53 426 81 108
Notes
  1. ^ a b Data is compiled by Folkhälsomyndigheten at 11:30 (UTC+02:00) each day. Reports of new cases and deaths to Folkhälsomyndigheten might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days.[2]
  2. ^ a b c d e f Reported, confirmed cases. Actual case numbers may be higher.
  3. ^ From 6 March 2020 onwards, Stockholm County reported its cases after 24 hours.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Stockholm County decided to only test hospitalized patients from risk groups and healthcare personnel with symptoms from 11 March 2020 onwards.[368]
  5. ^ The Public Health Agency of Sweden decided to only test hospitalized patients from risk groups and healthcare personnel with symptoms from 12 March 2020 onwards.[369]
  6. ^ Cases in brackets have unknown or not yet reported date of death.
Distribution
Confirmed cases Deaths ICU admissions Category
Amount Percent Amount Percent Rate Amount Percent Rate
30260 41% 2985 55% 9.9% 1810 74% 6.0% Male Sex
43079 59% 2462 45% 5.7% 657 26% 1.5% Female
3 0.01% 0 0% 0% 0 0% 0% Unspecified
438 0.6% 1 0.0% 0.2% 7 0.3% 1.6% 0-9 Age
2848 3.9% 0 0.0% 0.0% 13 0.5% 0.5% 10-19
9994 13.6% 8 0.1% 0.1% 90 3.6% 0.9% 20-29
10912 14.9% 16 0.3% 0.1% 112 4.5% 1.0% 30-39
12345 16.8% 44 0.8% 0.4% 280 11.3% 2.3% 40-49
13502 18.4% 155 2.8% 1.1% 628 25.4% 4.7% 50-59
7813 10.7% 377 6.9% 4.8% 748 30.3% 9.6% 60-69
5621 7.7% 1181 21.7% 21.0% 485 19.7% 8.6% 70-79
6387 8.7% 2262 41.5% 35.4% 101 4.1% 1.6% 80-89
3463 4.7% 1403 25.8% 40.5% 3 0.1% 0.1% 90+
21 0.0% 0 0.0% 0.0% 0 0.0% 0.0% Unspecified


 
Cumulative number of confirmed cases per 100 000 inhabitants in the counties of Sweden over time. (Number of deaths per 100 000 in parenthesis.) The list of counties is sorted in descending order by the most recent value of the curves. Södermanland and Stockholm Counties showed the highest number of cases in relation to their population on 25 April, while Blekinge showed the lowest level, and was about 5 weeks after the Stockholm Country in development. Logarithmic vertical axis. Data sources: Public Health Agency of Sweden,[1] SCB.[371]

Timeline of responsesEdit

Economic policyEdit

Local governments, such as the municipal government in Gävle, have applied measures to businesses delaying the payment of invoices until 1 September 2020 at the earliest and deferring rent payments.[372]

See alsoEdit

Explanatory notesEdit

  1. ^ a b Data on new deaths is compiled by the Public Health Agency of Sweden at 11:30 CEST (UTC+02:00) each day from the communicable disease surveillance system SmiNet. Reports of new deaths to the Public Health Agency might be delayed by up to several days, especially around weekends, possibly introducing delays in reported number of cases for the last few days. In mid-April, approximately 30% of the cases were reported within 24 hours, 50% within 48 hours, and 90% within one week. Data from the Health Agency includes all deaths where a COVID-19 diagnosis had been confirmed (U07.1) during the past 30 days, including cases where the cause of death wasn't attributed to COVID-19 (as of data from the National Board of Health and Welfare from 21 April, this number amounted to 4.5% of cases confirmed in a laboratory), but excludes non-confirmed cases (U07.2). On 12 May 87% of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 weren't confirmed in a laboratory. As this only includes cases confirmed in a laboratory, the actual number is believed to be higher due to the number of laboratory-confirmed cases only amounting to 83% (as of 31 May) of an excess mortality observed in Sweden since late March, according to a statistical analysis by the Public Health Agency based on data from the Swedish Tax Agency and the European mortality monitoring activity (EuroMOMO). By late May, there had been approximately 4,800 excess deaths in Sweden.[2][3][4][5]
  2. ^ A Swedish government agency is an independent body without the power to pass laws. Instead, they give out recommendations on how someone can or should act to meet a binding regulation within the agency's area of activity (in this case The Swedish Communicable Diseases Act). Although there isn't a legal framework for a governmental agency to impose sanctions on someone for going against its recommendations, they aren't optional as they work as guidelines on how to act to follow a regulation (in this case an obligation to help halting the spread of an infectious disease).
  3. ^ The index is based on 140 questions, grouped into 85 subindicators, 34 indicators and 6 categories, with countries being ranked overall and for each category; Prevention: Prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens (Sweden ranked 2nd), Detection and Reporting: Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern (7th), Rapid Response: Rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic (14th), Health System: Sufficient and robust health system to treat the sick and protect health workers (20th), Compliance with International Norms: Commitments to improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps, and adhering to global norms (11th), and Risk Environment: Overall risk environment and country vulnerability to biological threats (6th)[25]
  4. ^ Excess mortality according to a published statistical analysis by the Public Health Agency based on data from from the Swedish Tax Agency and the European mortality monitoring activity (EuroMOMO)

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Antal fall av covid-19 i Sverige – data uppdateras dagligen kl 11.30". Public Health Agency of Sweden – Official statistics at arcgis (in Swedish). Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten). 30 March 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020. Lay summaryAntal fall av covid-19 – Statistik – antal fall covid-19. Data updated daily at 11:30 [CET]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bekräftade fall i Sverige — Folkhälsomyndigheten". www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Veckorapport om covid-19, vecka 18" (PDF). Public Health Agency of Sweden. 8 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Faktablad: Beskrivning av datakällor för avlidna i covid-19" (PDF). Socialstyrelsen. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Statistik över antal avlidna i covid-19". Socialstyrelsen (in Swedish). Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Mortality associated with COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes: early international evidence, page 18" (PDF). International Long Term {{subst:lc:Care}} Policy Network. 21 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Veckorapport om covid-19, vecka 21, page 19" (PDF). Public Health Agency of Sweden., "Veckorapport om covid-19, vecka 22, page 15" (PDF). Public Health Agency of Sweden.
  8. ^ a b "Statistik om covid-19 bland äldre efter boendeform". Socialstyrelsen (in Swedish). 12 June 2020.
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