Sweden Doesn’t Develop Herd Immunity Despite Not Implementing Lockdown

Per a new report, Sweden has revealed that only 7.3 percent of people living in Stockholm managed to develop the antibodies needed to fight the coronavirus by late April despite the country adopting more relaxed measures to help control the virus.

Sweden Nowhere Near ‘Herd Immunity’

Herd immunity is a type of indirect protection from infectious diseases and conditions (such as SARS-CoV-2) that only happens when a large group of people has become immune to getting infected, whether it’s because of previous infections or by getting vaccinated. This then would result in additional protection for the individuals who are still susceptible to the virus and are not immune yet.

To that end, however, a new report reveals that Sweden already decided to adopt a more relaxed approach in controlling the virus in their country despite only 7.3 percent of people in Stockholm had managed to develop the antibodies to become immune.

Unfortunately, that same number (provided by Sweden’s Public Health Authority) is roughly similar to other countries that have data. Even worse, this number is below the intended 70-90 percent needed in order to create herd immunity and help control the outbreak more efficiently.

To that end, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said that while the number is “lower than expected,” it’s still not “remarkably lower, maybe one or a couple percent.”

“It squares pretty well with the models we have,” he said at a Stockholm news conference.

The number is based on 1,118 tests carried out in one week by Sweden’s Public Health Agency in order to determine the population’s herd immunity levels.

According to some observers, the country having low herd immunity is no surprise, given that it approached the coronavirus outbreak from a very different angle. This is because while most countries went on lockdown in order to stop its spread, Sweden opted to go the other direction by avoiding it and keeping most schools, bars and even salons open. It did, however, asked people to stop making long journeys for the time being and also encouraged the country’s elderly and most vulnerable to stay inside their homes.

coronavirus-testing-ap More testing is needed in the United States before the country can reopen, according to a study from Harvard Matthias Schrader/AP