Pandemic in Sweden could ebb away in summer, Health Agency says

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The third wave of COVID-19 infections in Sweden could ebb away during the summer if citizens continue to follow social distancing recommendations and the vaccination programme proceeds as planned, the Health Agency said on Thursday.

“One scenario is that the spread of the disease decreases from the middle of May … and flattens off at low levels in July and August,” Johan Carlson, the head of the Public Health Agency told reporters.

He said that if Swedes do not stick to social distancing rules, then infection levels could rise through June before easing due to the vaccination programme.

Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 6,526 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, health agency statistics showed.

The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 7 new deaths, taking the total to 14,158. The deaths registered have occurred over several days and sometimes weeks.

Sweden’s death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours, but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.

Photo: A woman wearing a face mask stands at a bus stop featuring a sign reminding passengers to maintain a minimum social distance between each other to reduce the risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the pandemic COVID-19 disease, in Stockholm, Sweden. EPA-EFE/STINA STJERNKVIST