Sweden spared surge of virus cases but many questions remain

Virus Outbreak Sweden's Approach
Posted at 9:08 AM, Sep 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-20 09:08:45-04

STOCKHOLM -- Sweden’s relatively low-key approach to coronavirus lockdowns captured the world’s attention when the pandemic first hit Europe.

But it also had a per capita death rate much higher than other Nordic countries.

Now, as infection numbers surge in much of Europe, Sweden has some of the lowest numbers of new cases and there are only 14 people being treated for the virus in intensive care in the country of 10 million.

While its chief epidemiologist says it's too early to judge the success of the strategy, a World Health Organization official says other nations might learn something from Sweden.

Most people in Sweden don't wear masks but the population does shoulder much more personal responsibility in fighting the pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.