September 2020 was the least deadly month in Swedish history, in terms of number of deaths per 100,000 population. Ever. And I don’t mean the least deadly September, I mean the least deadly month. Ever. To me, this is pretty clear evidence of two things. First, that covid is not a very deadly disease. And second, that Sweden has herd immunity.
At the beginning of August I wrote an article about my experiences working as an emergency physician in Stockholm, Sweden during the covid pandemic. For those who are unaware, Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary. People with office jobs were recommended to work from home, and people in general were recommended to avoid public transport unless necessary. Those who were over 70 years old, or who had serious underlying conditions, were recommended to limit social contacts.
A new article has just been published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology looking to see if an oral vitamin D supplement can be used to cure covid-19. Considering that vitamin D is cheap, widely available, and safe, it would be pretty miraculous if that turned out to be the case.
A few days back I did an interview on the Ben, Rob and Robbo show about covid-19. In the interview we discuss what measures were taken in Sweden to prevent the spread of the disease, whether Sweden has now developed herd immunity, and what the role of T-cells vs antibodies is if that is the case. We also discuss whether the Swedish government intentionally “sacrificed” a couple thousand citizens for the “greater good”, and how Sweden’s response compares to its neighbors. Finally, we talk about how long it makes sense to stay in lockdown and whether other countries should stay in lockdown until a vaccine is available or whether it makes more sense to copy the Swedish herd immunity strategy. The complete interview can be found here.
Ok, I want to preface this article by stating that it is entirely anecdotal and based on my experience working as a doctor in the emergency room of one of the big hospitals in Stockholm, Sweden, and of living as a citizen in Sweden. As many people know, Sweden is perhaps the country that has taken the most relaxed attitude of any towards the covid pandemic. Unlike other countries, Sweden never went in to complete lockdown. Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continued to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.