Sweden coronavirus press conference, April 9, 2020

Among the first things they say: and in fact, the very first thing when it came to international updates: that the US has had a hard day. For the second day in a row, have almost 2000 people died. It’s the highest figure so far. The USA has so far over 14,000 people dead of coronavirus.

On this day, the global number of cases was 1.48 million. There were 9141 cases total in Sweden. There were 722 people who got sick in the last day. Anders Tegnell, the national epidemiologist, calls it a pretty stable situation. In total, 793 people have died.

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When it comes to flattening out the curve, Anders Tegnell says that hopefully, at least when it comes to Stockholm, they might now lie on the very top of the curve, the plateau of which can be quite long if your curve is flat. We lie somewhere along there now, we think, Anders Tegnell says.

They’ve done a study to see exactly where things like in Stockholm. They tested 773 people between ages 2 and 86. They found that 2.5% of them had the virus. I’m not sure if all of those people were asymptomatic. After Easter, they’re going to do another study on the whole country. The way it works is that the people swab themselves (or test themselves in some way), and then the military goes around and picks up the swabs and delivers it to the authorities.

Anders Tegnell later further explains: this study was done last week. About every 7-8 days, the number of coronavirus cases in Sweden doubles. So therefore, by this point, that 2.5% figure uncovered in the study is probably more like 5-10% who have the virus. And even more would have previously had the virus.

Also remember, this 2.5% figure shows how many people carried the virus at the moment of the study. It does not count all the people who carried the virus before, but had already cast it off. Anders Tegnell mentioned 5 days as a period of time for carrying the virus.

He also adds, that 773 people being part of the study is a good number, and it means there’s very little uncertainty.

Question from the SVT reporter pictured here: how decisive will Easter be in the spread of the virus?

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Anders Tegnell: all holidays make a difference, because people meet different people than they usually do, they move about a little differently. So there’s new chains of infection possible.

Question: what do you think is the risk of uncounted coronavirus deaths?

Anders Tegnell: Every country will have uncounted deaths. In Sweden, I think we are the best at reducing that, because we go back and look at registers (??) so I think the uncounted number here is not so large. But it will always be there. On the other side, a lot of the deaths reported as due to coronavirus are practically caused by something else, like a heart attack or a blocked artery. So this is not black and white. It’s very hard. What we will do in the end, as soon as we can, is to compute the “over-morbidity”, that is, how many people died during this period of coronavirus epidemic versus how many people in normal times died during this time. A quick analysis was done on that precise question yesterday, and so far, we don’t see that there are more people who have died during these weeks as those who died during the same period last year.

Reporter again: so you’re not worried about the uncounted deaths?

Anders Tegnell: no, not especially. Of course, you can’t find every single case, but it’s important to follow the trends. I am definitely worried about the developments in retirement homes and the rising death toll there, that’s something we must help out to stop.

Question: something about how many people is each coronavirus patient infecting?

Anders Tegnell: I think it’s around 1. But what you really want to look at is the curve. Is it going up or down? That’s a better expression of the status of your epidemic compared to trying to compose a instantaneous picture that varies a lot from day to day. Looking at trends is much better to know where you are.

After the press conference was over, they went back to the Studio and talked a bit about the growing numbers of coronavirus patients from retirement homes, not in Stockholm, but from another large city — Göteborg (also known as Gothenburg). There are now 40 retirement homes there where patients have been infected. They don’t know why, because there have been visiting restrictions to the homes for a while.

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