THE EXPERT behind Sweden’s coronavirus strategy claims the UK’s lockdown has been largely “futile” in containing the virus.
Johan Giesecke, an epidemiologist who advises the World Health Organisation, said the UK’s death toll suggested imposing social restriction measures is not the best method of tackling the pandemic.
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Sweden has not forced a lockdown, keeping open many schools, restaurants and businesses but the UK’s death toll is more than 10 times that of Sweden’s where fewer than 3,000 people have been killed by Covid-19 to date.
But the vast majority of the population have taken to voluntary social distancing as usage of public transport has dropped significantly and large numbers are working from home.
Referring to the high coronavirus death toll across UK care homes, Prof Giesecke said: “A hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes – a population the lockdown was designed to protect”.
He added: “Neither does it decrease mortality from Covid-19, which is evident when comparing the UK’s experience with that of other European countries”.
He argued Britain’s lockdown strategy “only pushes the severe cases into the future” and has not prevented them.
He said: “There is very little we can do to prevent this spread: a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear.”
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Despite resisting strict lockdown measures, Sweden’s Public Health Institute estimated that the country’s R number, the number of people each infected person passes the virus to, fell from 1.4 at the start of April to 0.85 at the end of the month.
Professor Giesecke has previously been critical of the pandemic modelling produced by the Imperial College London team led by Professor Neil Ferguson.
He suggested Professor Ferguson’s projected death tolls were too pessimistic and rejected suggestions that Sweden will see a mounting mortality rate, saying in a Swedish newspaper interview: “On the contrary, I think it will go down.”