SWEDEN, a country that shunned lockdown, is approaching close to zero daily coronavirus deaths.
It comes as the Nordic country’s chief epidemiologist played down fears over the deadly Delta variant.
In the last 14 days, Sweden has recorded an average of 0.6 Covid deaths per day.
In comparison, the UK has recorded an average of 74 deaths per day and the United States 329.
Sweden’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours but lower than some larger European countries.
So far, Denmark has recorded 2,550, Finland 982, Norway 799 – a far cry from Sweden’s 14,620 recorded deaths.
In April, the king of Sweden blasted the country’s anti-lockdown strategy.
King Carl XVI Gustaf told the state broadcaster SVT in an end-of-year interview that the number of deaths in Sweden was “terrible” and “the people of Sweden have suffered tremendously.”
Unlike the rest of the world, Sweden followed an unorthodox approach of not going into full lockdown.
But instead, the Government relied on voluntary measures in the hope of reaching herd immunity.
Herd immunity refers to where enough people in a population have immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.
Sweden has been relaxed with imposing restrictions except for when in January during the country’s second wave, upper secondary schools were closed for a month.
At the beginning of the month, Sweden dropped its final mask mandate which required passengers to wear masks on public transport.
However, health chiefs in the UK and US have warned that face masks should be worn until the rapid spread of the Delta variant has calmed down.
On Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Delta variant is as infectious as chickenpox.
Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, cautioned against the statements saying that there was still “a lot we do not know” about the variant.
Speaking to the Aftonbladet newspaper, Dr Tegnell said that the variant had been the dominant strain in Sweden “for quite some time.”
“It is difficult to say how contagious Delta is, when it comes to chickenpox, we have been able to follow the disease for several years,” he told the paper.
“The infectiousness [of Delta] seems to be very uneven – in some cases, one person infects a hundred people, then we have other occasions when an infected person does not infect anyone at all.”
Dr. Tegnell went on to say that the variant was found mostly in young people who are not adhering to social distancing rules, unlike older citizens.
Meanwhile, across the world in China, millions of people have been forced back into lockdown as the country battles its biggest outbreak in months.