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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





April 30, 2021 (from Deborah)

A few updates from the Swedish Health Authority press conferences this week. A bit dry, as I was translating and taking notes and trying to be as factual as possible.

There is a downward trend in cases in Europe and Sweden. In Sweden we are starting to see an improvement in health care and as of 28/4, there were 1603 in hospital, 384 in ICU, which means there is 19% free capacity in ICU (the goal is 20%). Deaths have been stable at 200/wk.

Today they announced that outdoor events with dedicated seating could have up to 500 people. It is hoped that other general restrictions will be eased by May 16 for restaurants, movie theatres, indoor concerts, prayer services, amusement parks. The health authority has consistently pushed back on the idea of using vaccine passports to open up domestically “we all need to work together to bring down infections”. They are working with the government on a plan to “open up Sweden”. When will we get back to normal? How will that be defined? "Normal is defined as a low level of infections within the community and no strain on healthcare. We will have to live with this virus.”

Regarding vaccines: they have reached 90% coverage for those 70+. This will probably be the limit for this age group as many can’t be vaccinated because of health issues. Reminder that vaccinations protect against serious illness, not necessarily mild illness. Some people over 65+ are refusing the Astra Zeneca vaccine, but not a significant number. (AZ is currently restricted to only 65+)

Those "born outside Sweden”, have been hit harder by covid and are over-represented in cases, ICUs and deaths, yet uptake of the vaccine has been low. They don’t know why there is vaccine-hesitancy, but other commentators say it is a mistrust of the government. The health authority will intensify their outreach to those communities re: vaccines (There have been people giving out flyers from the health authority about vaccines near the subway in my neighbourhood, which is culturally mixed.)

Right now the guidance in Sweden is that vaccines should only be given to under 18’s with health issues. Studies are ongoing regarding the safety of giving children the vaccine. (Tegnell is very pro-vaccine. That there is no pushback to the idea that healthy children with a very low risk of disease need to be vaccinated makes me sad. It seems inconsistent with his other thinking about children.)

  • Regarding schools: The has been no increased pressure on healthcare from teachers, children or youth. Study by the teachers union says 1/4 of primary school teachers have had covid, what does Tegnell say, how does this fit with their previous study that teachers were at not at a higher risk than other professions. Tegnell: “This could mirror general infection rates in the community and is a self-reported study vs confirmed cases, so hard to judge". Should teachers have priority for vaccines? "No, vaccine priority should be age-based. Age is the greatest risk factor. There are ways to reduce risk within the school, that is what we should focus on."

Indian mutant - still under investigation, too early to say if it is more dangerous or not.

Sweden has been co-ordinating with the EU on vaccination certificates that would be acceptable in all countries. It is hard for me to gauge whether this is leading to an EU wide “vaccine passport”, which is very much desired by many politicians, or whether they are just trying to harmonise standards. There are data privacy issues here that are already creating some problems here, and that was alluded to today.

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Content last modified on May 17, 2021, at 03:26 AM EST