Will lockdowns stop COVID-19 pandemic?

A recent study leaded by Johan Giesecke (Swedish top epidemiologist), from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), points to lockdowns are not the way to stop COVID-19 pandemic.

Many countries (and members of their press media) have marvelled at Sweden’s relaxed strategy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: schools and most workplaces have remained open, and police officers were not checking one’s errands in the street.

Severe critics have described it as Sweden sacrificing its (elderly) citizens to quickly reach herd immunity. In this way, the death toll has surpassed Sweden’s three closest neighbours, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.

These facts have led the author to the following conclusions: everyone will be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), and most people will become infected; COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in all countries, but we do not see it —it almost always spreads from younger people with no or weak symptoms to other people who will also have mild symptoms—. This is the real pandemic, but it goes on beneath the surface, and is probably at its peak now in many European countries; and there is very little we can do to prevent this spread since a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear.

Finally, measures to flatten the curve might have an effect, but a lockdown only pushes the severe cases into the future —it will not prevent them—.

Link to the paper: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31035-7

Editorial Disclaimer: information published during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic may be updated frequently to reflect the dynamic nature of current understanding.

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