As Sweden's death toll falls, experts warn it's not a success

Sweden's COVID-19 death toll might be falling - but experts warn other countries shouldn't copy their policies.

In an attempt to achieve herd immunity, unlike the rest of Scandinavia Sweden chose not to close schools and businesses to fight the spread of the virus.

This led to a death toll of around 5,500 people - close to six times worse per capita than Denmark and about 12 times worse than Norway.

However coronavirus deaths have been falling dramatically in recent days and so has the daily tally of new COVID-19 cases.

Between June 30 and July 6, there were fewer than five deaths per day on all days except one, Business Insider reports.

And on July 7 only 283 new cases were recorded. That contrasts with a torrid month of June when daily numbers ran as high as 1,800, eclipsing rates across much of Europe

But Jon Tallinger, a doctor who's been campaigning for better COVID-19 treatments, says this isn't evidence Sweden's policies have been successful.

"They said that Sweden's response was effective when its deaths were rising, now they are saying it is effective as deaths are going down," he told Business Insider.

"The death rates have fallen but it doesn't change the fact that our strategy has failed. And we don't know when the rates will rise again."

Experts point to factors for the fall in cases such as the country entering summer, greater social distancing and improvements in protection for people in care homes.

"The short answer is, that there is no short answer," Pekka Nuorti, an epidemiologist in Finland's Tampere University, told Business Insider.

And economists say the relative freedom for society hasn't helped Sweden's economy.

"They literally gained nothing," Jacob F Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, told The New York Times. "It's a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains."

Reuters / Newshub

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