Epidemiologist who guided Sweden’s ‘no lockdown’ policy sidelined after surge overwhelms the country

Anders Tegnell. Credit: Getty Images
Anders Tegnell. Credit: Getty Images

The high-profile epidemiologist who led Sweden’s no lock-down strategy in the spring appears to be being sidelined by the government after his prediction that greater immunity would mean a lighter second wave proved badly wrong.

Anders Tegnell’s biweekly press conference was on Thursday [November 26] pushed into the shade by an overlapping press conference fronted by Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, where new scenarios prepared by the Public Health Agency were announced.

“There’s certainly a split, and I’m pretty sure that many in the government have rather lost faith in the Public Health Agency,” said Nicholas Aylott, an associate politics professor at Stockholm’s Södertorn University.

“By some counts, we’ve now got exactly the same level of spread of the virus that we had in the spring, and that’s about as clear a refutation of Tegnell’s strategy as you could wish for.”

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Dr Tegnell has always insisted that his Public Health Agency has never pursued a herd immunity strategy.

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Shaken by the worsening situation, Sweden’s government has started to itself take the initiative, imposing a ban on alcohol sales after 10pm and reducing the maximum allowed public gathering to eight people – a measure Lofven described as having “no equivalent in modern times.”

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