Sweden, which stands out for its more flexible and controversial approach to the coronavirus pandemic, estimated on Wednesday that more than one in five Stockholm residents may have developed antibodies to the virus.
Asked about a study by the Swedish Public Health Agency, chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said he thought that as of Wednesday “just over 20%” of Stockholm residents had probably contracted Covid -19.
7.3% of people tested
The current study showed that 7.3% of a random sample of people in the Swedish capital – the most affected region in the country – had developed antibodies when tested during the last week of April.
“The figures reflect the state of the epidemic at the beginning of April because it takes a few weeks for the immune system to develop antibodies,” the Swedish agency, which analyzed more than 1,100 tests, said in a statement.
Elsewhere in the country, the number of people who developed antibodies was much lower, with only 4.2% in the far south and 3.7% in the region around Gothenburg (southwest). The results showed that the spread of the virus was greater in people aged 20 to 64 than in those over 65, with 6.7% and 2.7% respectively having developed antibodies. Anders Tegnell explained that it was “a sign that this group isolates itself and protects itself rather well”.
More flexible management of the crisis?
As for young people aged 19 and under, around 4.7% have developed antibodies which, according to Anders Tegnell, shows “what we have always said, namely that it is not in this group that we see a significant spread “of the virus.
In contrast to the often strict confinement measures of the rest of Europe, Sweden, never confined, kept schools, cafes, bars and restaurants open, asking everyone to respect the recommendations for social distancing and “take their responsibilities “.
This approach has drawn criticism, both inside and outside the country, at a time when the death toll has far exceeded that of its northern neighbors, all of whom have imposed restrictive measures.
If the link between the development of antibodies and a certain immunity to the virus is not yet established, the development of antibodies should in theory help to reduce the spread of the virus. On Wednesday, Sweden deplores a total of 31,523 cases of new coronavirus for 3,831 deaths.