Rise in Covid-19 cases prompts fears of harsh 2nd wave in Sweden

Copenhagen, Nov 14 (efe-epa).- A rapid increase in new Covid-19 cases and deaths in Sweden recently has stoked fears that the second wave of the virus could be as bad as the first.

Sweden was the worst-hit nation in Scandinavia the first time around, but it maintains relatively lax measures compared to its European counterparts and does not enforce mask use.

During the first wave of Covid-19, Sweden’s infection numbers and death toll were five times higher than Denmark’s and 10 times higher than Norway’s.

The numbers came down slowly over the summer and the country’s infection rates fell below that of its neighbors.

Just a month ago, the public health agency’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, spoke of the “Swedish exception” as the country seemed to be eluding soaring infection rates across the rest of the continent.

But the second wave appears to have caught up with Sweden in the last two weeks.

The number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospitals has doubled and one in three people in intensive care has the disease.

On Friday, Swedish health authorities logged 5,990 new cases in one day, a record, and 42 deaths in the same period, the highest 24-hour toll since June.

Sweden has a 14-day cumulative incidence rate of 485.3 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people, which ranks it 20th out of 31 European countries.

Far from the worst-affected European nation it may be, but Sweden’s incidence rate is almost double that of Denmark and three times that of Norway.

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