Virologist from Sweden condemns her country’s strategy against Corona

Ms. Einhorn, you are a trained doctor, but most recently you have made a name for yourself as a documentary filmmaker and author in Sweden. You are among 22 scientists in the country who publicly criticized Sweden’s corona strategy in April. How do you rate the development?

Matthias Wyssuwa

Political correspondent for Northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

In the beginning, the responsible health authority did not clearly formulate what the Swedish strategy should be. One had to guess what was going on. I would say there were different phases: In the first, the health authorities seemed convinced that this virus would not be a problem for Sweden. She assumed that only people with symptoms spread it. So there was no preparation. The main recommendations were: wash your hands and stay at home if you feel sick. Then the infection numbers went through the roof, and the virus also penetrated old people’s and nursing homes. Like wildfire. Now we have ten times as many deaths in relation to the number of inhabitants as Norway and Finland.

Wasn’t there a lot of speculation about rapid herd immunity?

Yes, that was the second phase. While it was said that herd immunity was not the goal, it was also said that Sweden would deal much better with the virus in the long term because we would have higher immunity in society. Today we know that we are not even close to herd immunity.

But didn’t the number of infections drop in summer?

This has nothing to do with herd immunity. Sweden is very sparsely populated. In summer, people from the cities are drawn to nature. It’s a kind of natural social distancing.

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But in Sweden there was also interference in everyday life. So it stayed at the 50-person limit for events.

Yes, but this limit should actually be lifted – only then the number of infections rose again. If you look at the numbers today, the trend here is again significantly more negative than in the other Scandinavian countries.

Is it the second wave?

Yes, the numbers are rising rapidly again. In terms of strategy, however, the differences to other countries have certainly become smaller in recent months, with two exceptions.

Which?

Until recently, it was said that you could go to work as long as you had no symptoms, even if someone in the same household tested positive. Now it is at least recommended that as an adult you should stay home for a week. But children should continue to go to school.

And the second exception are the face masks?

Exactly, and that’s crazy, it’s like a taboo. There is still no recommendation for this, you even go to the doctor without a mask, and the doctor doesn’t wear one either. The King and Queen have just visited the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. The Queen asked why face masks were not recommended. She received the reply that the health authorities did not believe that masks were adequate and that it was difficult to use them properly. The queen was not satisfied with the explanation, the king shook his head and said it seemed like no one could give a good explanation for it.

Do you still believe that Sweden is better prepared for the second wave?

It is better prepared because there is more testing and more contacts being followed up. But not enough. And now visitors are allowed to visit the old people’s and nursing homes again. Again, there is no recommendation that they should wear masks.

Is there something about the Swedish strategy that is typically Swedish?

I do not think so. I have always viewed Sweden as a very sensible society that acts in the best interests of its fellow citizens. This way is rather the opposite.

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Stockholm cannot be infected (neue-deutschland.de)

Not random: Sweden’s handling of Corona is based on the conditions there and is an expression of its political culture.

Foto: AFP/TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery

At the beginning of July, the worst seemed to be over for Sweden. The number of Covid-19 cases in the Scandinavian country fell to stable low values. But the picture has been changing since mid-September, the number of infections is rising steadily and has returned to levels last seen in April. The number of people per day who need intensive medical care because of a Covid-19 disease is still in the lower single-digit range. According to the statistics of the health authority Folkhälsomyndigheten, only a few deaths have been reported for months that may be related to the virus. Most recently, there were one to two Covid 19 deaths per week.

Of the approximately 120,000 corona tests carried out weekly, however, at 2.9 percent, a higher proportion than last was positive. At a press conference of the health authority at the end of last week, the head of her microbiological department, Karin Tegmark Wisell, put the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants on a 14-day average nationwide at 68, in the capital Stockholm this value is significantly higher at 100. Even if, according to Tegmark Wisell, there has been “no effect” on the development of the number of deceased so far, in view of the further spread of the virus in the population it is now a matter of protecting the risk groups as effectively as possible.

The Swedish test strategy is based on the phase of the pandemic and calculates that even after a general subsidence, regional and local outbreaks can worsen the overall situation again. In a peak phase of the spread, the tests are intended to identify healthy people, to ensure the functioning of socially necessary areas and to protect health and care from the transmission of the disease. The large number of Covid-19 deaths in the spring were due in large part to outbreaks in old people’s homes. A number of care facilities turned out to be insufficiently prepared for protection against infection. There was a lack of sufficient and qualified personnel, often as a result of the neoliberal economization of parts of the sector. In the meantime, the authorities have got the situation under control to such an extent that the ban on visiting retirement homes was lifted on October 1st. However, precise rules must be adhered to and the population is appealed to, if possible, to continue to use alternative ways of staying in contact with elderly relatives.

In addition to those tested, according to this strategy, people who have symptoms that may indicate the disease should put themselves into isolation. Only in the early phase and when the pandemic has clearly subsided should an attempt should be made to completely stop the spread by identifying all cases, actively tracking down contacts and isolating potential carriers.

Swedish authorities and politicians are reacting to the new development with concern, but in a controlled manner. A mask requirement in everyday situations is also waived. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell estimates the – still little investigated – possible effect on the infection rate as low at best. The strategy, which he played a key role in, aimed from the outset for consistency and a long-term perspective and also has the psychosocial effects of the measures on society in mind.

The population reminds the national health authority of the existence of the possibly dangerous disease and the need to prevent the spread of Corona through appropriate behavior with a mantra of urgent recommendations that is repeated over and over again. People, especially the elderly, should, among other things, keep their distance, avoid mass gatherings and collective means of transport, work at home if possible and stay there even if there are slight signs of illness.

Since the first case of illness officially registered in Sweden on the last day of February 2020, a total of 98,541 have been recorded to date, 2,624 people had to be treated in intensive care units, 5894 in Sweden, which has a population of 10 million, died of or with corona. The statistics illustrate the very different risks according to gender and age. Although more women than men became ill, almost three times as many male patients required intensive care. Almost 55 percent of the corona deaths counted in Sweden are men. While all age groups were affected by infections, 89 percent of those who died from it were older than 70, and more than two thirds had already reached or exceeded 80. So far, 35 million corona cases and more than one million deaths related to Covid-19 have been counted worldwide.

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Elon Musk on the Corona crisis – “Sweden was right” *** BILDplus content *** – Politics abroad

Elon Musk on the corona crisis

“Sweden was right”



Photo: NIELS STARNICK / BILD AM SONNTAG

He is one of the brightest minds in the world. Now Elon Musk, ingenious inventor and founder of the auto group Tesla, says: Sweden’s path in the Corona crisis was RIGHT!

Read more with BILDplus.

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Education and transparency instead of scare tactics (neue-deutschland.de)

Foto: Unsplash/Jonathan Brinkhorst

In Europe, especially in Europe, people like to look to Sweden when it comes to the right or wrong way to deal with Corona. Some use it as a positive example of the fact that life can go its usual course despite a pandemic. For those in favor of the most far-reaching measures possible, however, Sweden’s policy is a cautionary example. In Germany, too, people have never been so interested in Sweden as they were during the corona crisis. However, that does not mean that the local public is well aware of what is actually going on in the Scandinavian country.

Sweden’s strategy took shape when the pandemic hit Europe in March and it quickly became clear that the virus was spreading to the north as well. The message from the authorities to society was from the start: Covid-19 will not go away anytime soon, so the Swedes’ way of life will have to adapt to it for a longer period of time. Accordingly, the state health authority Folkhälsomyndigheten developed a strategy aimed at maintaining functioning health care during the pandemic. The measures taken should be sustainable, that is, they should be accepted by the vast majority of the population and permanently followed. Extreme restrictions, such as a lockdown, school and border closings, were only envisaged in the event that there was a risk of health care overload. In the spring, the responsible authorities assumed that the situation in the hospitals would remain manageable. In retrospect, this also proved to be correct: At the height of the first wave, Sweden still had 20 percent free intensive care capacity.

Instead of decreeing a lockdown, a massive information campaign was launched. Its task is to convince the population to take the measures necessary to protect against infection in their everyday life. The conditions in Sweden for such an approach are almost unique in the world: the state authorities generally enjoy a very high level of trust. A prerequisite that Folkhälsomyndigheten made use of: a one-hour press conference was held every day, at which the current situation was presented and recommendations to the population were repeated.

In April, almost two million people followed these information events online and via the media on average every day – out of a total population of only ten million people. Only this social support and mutual trust allowed a strategy of recommendations.

Relying on insight and voluntariness is often misinterpreted to the effect that the Swedish measures against the spread of infections were less strict or were hardly observed. Indeed, the recommendations of the authorities quickly became socially normative and perhaps became a more effective catalyst for behavioral change than regulations can. Domestic air traffic came to an almost complete standstill, the restaurants stayed away and due to better hygiene and physical distancing, the flu season ended abruptly in March, months earlier than usual.

Sweden’s minority government made up of Social Democrats and Greens, supported by two liberal parties, followed the recommendations of the health authority almost consistently. This policy receives the greatest support from the left and liberal spectrum. The harshest criticism comes from the right-wing nationalist Sweden Democrats. Their party leader Jimmie Åkesson even called for the resignation of the state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. This dividing line may seem like the wrong world for Germany, where right-wing extremists rail against measures and restrictions due to Corona the loudest.

For Sweden, the rhetoric of the Sweden Democrats follows well-known patterns: Even during the refugee crisis in 2015, the Sweden Democrats argued that the welfare state was allegedly threatened with collapse without closing borders. They described the social democratic government as “naive”. In their portrayal as the savior of the autochthonous Swedes, they now advocate a more authoritarian policy. Your rhetoric from back then can be transferred statement by statement to the corona crisis. Many Swedes therefore see the drastic measures being taken elsewhere in the wake of the pandemic above all populism.

The international media has rarely succeeded in conveying a coherent picture of the Swedish debate. This has contributed, intentionally or unintentionally, to the spread of all kinds of myths about Sweden’s handling of Corona. In addition, there are conspiracy theories and disinformation from the right-wing extremist environment in Sweden, which want to undermine people’s trust in the authorities.

Time and again it was claimed that Stockholm put economic interests above the lives and health of its citizens. It was also said that the health authority was basically working with a herd immunity strategy. Both claims have no basis. At the press conferences of the health authorities, however, state epidemiologist Tegnell finds himself forced to answer the same question from “Le Monde”, “Financial Times” or ARD: “What role does herd immunity play in the Swedish strategy?” – “None at all.”

The entrenched prejudices about what the Swedish “Sonderweg” is aiming at and what it means in practice couldn’t have become clearer than in a talk show by Anne Will at the end of September. It was alleged, for example, that Sweden deliberately “sacrificed” older people with its strategy. Instead of such a battle of opinions, a factual debate should finally take place about Sweden’s successes and failures in containing the pandemic under the specific conditions of this country.

Philip Franzén is a freelance journalist, the Swede works in Berlin and Malmö. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been grappling with the various strategies for dealing with corona.

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The Nobel Prize under the hammer (neue-deutschland.de)

Before he announced the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics, Göran Hansson rummaged around under the table and took out a small auction hammer. “This year’s prize is about auctions. First, second, third, ”said the Secretary General of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, pounding the table with his hammer. Two older men can look forward to the award: Paul Milgrom, 72 years old, and Robert Wilson, 83 years old. Both come from the American Midwest, teach economics at the elite Stanford University and are known as experts in auction theory.

“Nowadays, objects that are worth astronomical sums of money change hands every day at auctions, not just household items, art and antiques, but also securities, minerals and energy,” said the Nobel Prize Committee. Milgrom and Wilson would have “improved” the auction theory with their work.

Like the other awards, the Nobel Prize for Economics is endowed with ten million Swedish kronor (around 960,000 euros). However, Milgrom and Wilson have to be content with not getting a “real” Nobel Prize. Unlike the other prizes, the Nobel Prize for Economics is not based on the will of the Swedish inventor Albert Nobel. The award was donated in 1968 by the Swedish National Bank. In 2019 the researchers Abhijit Banerjee, Michael Kremer and economist Esther Duflo received it “for their experimental approach to combating global poverty,” as the jurors announced at the time.

This year’s winners work in a branch of economics that many critics consider unworldly. Auction theory is a sub-area of ​​game theory, which in turn belongs to so-called microeconomics. In contrast to macroeconomics, which researches the big picture in an economy, microeconomics deals with the behavior of individual economic subjects. It is often criticized that research relies too much on mathematical models and the principle of “homo economicus”. The latter means that people always act rationally and optimize their benefits according to strictly economic principles. There is no room for irrationality and solidarity, for example, in such an image of man.

At this year’s award, however, it was pointed out that the work of Milgrom and Wilson was not purely theoretical, but also practical. In 1994, for example, the US government first used an auction process it had developed to auction mobile radio frequencies. Since then, many countries have followed similar practices. “Your discoveries are of great benefit to society,” says at least Peter Fredriksson, the chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee.

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Trip to Sweden: On the Höga Kusten trip

From

Hans Gasser

Old Swede – what a smell! When Tobias Andersson finally stabbed the can with the surstromming, after a half-hour talk about its cultural, sometimes family-dividing significance, which should not be underestimated, the odor of fermented herring was in the air like a flock of Nordic warriors. It must be said that the ceremony takes place outside, on the terrace of the Ulvö Hotel on the island of Ulvön, in the rather fresh, northern Swedish evening air at the end of September. The scent, most would call it stink, is somewhere between very ripe Gorgonzola and decay.

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Gotland in Sweden: Quirky Viking-style competitions

Gotland Island

Ahe Gotland is perhaps the most famous house in Sweden: Villekulla, known in this country as Villa Kunterbunt, the wooden house of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. Those who visit the “Kneippbyns” amusement park – a magnet for visitors to the second largest island in the Baltic Sea – can visit the original setting of the “Pippi” films shot on Gotland.

Typical for Gotland: the many pretty fishing villages on the 800 km long coast with wide sandy beaches, ideal for walks. Gotland, island, municipality and historical province at the same time, is one of the sunniest spots in Sweden. The Swedes in particular like to vacation on Gotland and the offshore islets, enjoy the almost Mediterranean climate: in the interior of the island even vines thrive.

Once the Goths gave the island its name, later the Vikings came, and during the Hanseatic League the island’s capital, Visby, became an important trading center. It offers the feeling of the Baltic Middle Ages: its old town is surrounded by a city wall from the 13th century, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Source: WORLD infographic

Tree trunk throwing is part of pentathlon

Throwing a tree trunk as far as possible in Obelix fashion – it sounds strange, but it is a serious discipline of the Gotland pentathlon. It is part of the Gotland Olympic Games, which in turn have a long tradition. The competitions have been taking place since 1924, most recently with over 2000 participants, the roots going back to the Viking Age.

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Stone throwing is also an old discipline of pentathlon Warp throwing, a kind of Scandinavian boules. Sprinting, jumping up and playing the ball are also measured. The winner is whoever wins the final wrestling match. The next one will take place in July 2021 The bar games instead of.

Sweden: Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Tree trunk throwing is a discipline of the Gotland pentathlon

Source: Christophe Boisvieux / laif

Natural reef art on the beach

The story that Gotland’s stone landmarks, the Raukar, have to tell is splendid: Because the island, or what it was as part of an ancient continent millions of years ago, was on a geological journey for a long time.

Land masses pushed their way from the southern hemisphere to what is now the Baltic Sea area, while a coral reef formed at the equator as it were passing through. Today Gotland is based on a limestone plateau, which the iconic Raukar remind of.

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The washed-out, imaginative structures can be found on many of the island’s stone beaches that have the funny name cobblestone beach as well as further inland where the coastline once ran. The tallest of these reef limestone towers at seven meters, Virgo (Virgo), is half an hour’s drive north of Visby on Lickershamn beach.

Entire rock fields can also be found on Gotland’s small neighboring island Fårö in the north. Famous all over the island are, for example, a dog-shaped Rauk in the shallow water on the beach at Gamle Hamn or the Rauk, reminiscent of a head, in the Langhammars Nature Reserve.

Near Gotland (Sweden): On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

On the island of Fårö, the head-like Rauk in the Langhammars nature reserve is known

Quelle: Getty Images/imageBROKER RF/MLNG

Wild horses in the heathland Ljosta Hed

Anyone visiting the Ljosta Hed heathland in the interior of the island on guided tours can discover the last of Gotland’s wild horses. Around 80 Gotland ponies, largely left to their own devices, live there in a spacious area.

The horse breed is considered to be one of the oldest in Europe and almost became extinct around 1900. Domesticated animals live on farms and in riding stables as good-natured riding horses.

Wild horses on Gotland (Sweden)

Source: WORLD infographic

Church ruins in the old town of Visby

Nine church ruins stand as memorials in Visby’s old town. When troops from the Hanseatic city of Lübeck invaded and started a fire in the 16th century, that was the end of the once 14 magnificent sacred buildings within the city wall.

Where today there are only round arches and dome ruins, there are no longer any services, but you can rent the ruins for weddings. Only the cathedral remained undamaged.

Pancakes with saffron is a specialty

The precious spice saffron, which first came to the island at the time of the Hanseatic League, is the coloring ingredient of the golden yellow national dish Saffron pancake, Saffron pancakes. So delicious that it is also served at the Nobel Prize Banquet in Stockholm.

Pancakes with saffron in Sweden

Source: WORLD infographic

The quote

“Here I want to live and here I want to die”

After the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman set foot on the neighboring Gothic island of Fårö for the first time in 1960, he was enthusiastic about the landscape and solitude. He moved into a house, made films, in addition to cinema strips, “Fårödokument” (1970), a TV documentary about the islanders. And he died on Fårö, where he is buried. The Bergman Center Fårö documents his life and work.

Quirky, record-breaking, typical: You can find more parts of our regional geography series here.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We will be happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Welt am Sonntag from September 13, 2020

Source: Welt am Sonntag

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HPV vaccination lowers cervical cancer risk by 88 percent

October 09, 2020 – 11:50 am Clock

HPV vaccination massively lowers cancer risk

Women who were vaccinated against HPV as adolescents rarely develop cervical cancer – and 88 percent less. This was the result of an evaluation of the Swedish health and population registers published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”. The data of over 1.6 million girls and women over a period of eleven years were used for the analysis.

The timing of vaccination is crucial

For a long time it was controversial whether and how well the vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, helps. In Sweden, data from over 1.6 million girls and women from 2006 to 2017 have now been evaluated, which show that the risk of a cervical tumor was massively reduced in girls and women who were vaccinated against the HP virus. However, it also depends on the age at which the vaccination was given.

If the participants in the study were vaccinated between the ages of 17 and 30, the risk of developing cervical cancer fell by an average of around half over the eleven years examined. If vaccinated before the age of 17, the risk even dropped by as much as 88 percent.

Whether the HPV vaccination helps against cervical cancer also depends on when the vaccination was given, as this graphic shows.

© N Engl J Med 2020; 383: 1340-8. DOI: 10.1056 / NEJMoa1917338 BVF 2020

Vaccination not only helps against cell changes, but against cancer

What is new about the evaluation from Sweden is that it has been shown that the HPV vaccination can not only help against precursors of cervical tumors, but also against the cancer itself: “We are showing for the first time at the population level that the HPV vaccination does not only protects against cell changes that are precursors of cervical cancer, but against cervical cancer itself, “said Jiayao Lei from the Stockholm Karolinska Institute in a statement from her institute.

Dr. med. Christian Albring, President of the Professional Association of Gynecologists, sees the study primarily as a response to previous criticism, as he explains on the website “Gynecologists on the Net” published by the professional association: “These data confirm what has been known for many years from Australia, for example is: The HPV vaccination protects against infection with the most dangerous human papilloma viruses; it also protects against the precancerous stages, which has been known for many years. Critics have nevertheless repeatedly claimed that cancers themselves might not become less rare now clearly refuted. “

+++ Gynecologist explains: Why the HPV vaccination is so important even at a later age! +++

That is why vaccination is important for boys too

In Germany around 4,400 women develop cervical cancer every year. Around 1,500 patients die from it every year. A large part of these carcinomas are caused by human papilloma viruses (HPV), of which more than 200 variants are known, which can cause genital warts, but also cancer. About 40 of the known types of viruses mainly affect the genital area and the anus. The viruses are mainly transmitted through sexual contact.

In Germany, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) recommends the HPV vaccination for children between the ages of 9 and 14, but if possible before the first sexual intercourse. Up to the age of 18, the vaccination is covered by health insurance. Since HP viruses can be dangerous not only for girls and women, it is recommended that boys of this age also be vaccinated.

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