The Swedish government is saying that U.S. President Donald Trump's criticism of their coronavirus strategy is, quote, "factually wrong." And that, contrary to his statement, Sweden is not trying to achieve so-called "herd immunity." Sweden has taken a more low-key approach to the pandemic compared to some other countries, and does not have a lockdown.
Anders Tengel is the chief epidemiologist at the Swedish Public Health Agency.
SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST AT THE SWEDISH PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY, ANDERS TEGNELL, SAYING: REPORTER: "Last night the U.S. President Donald Trump said Sweden is suffering very greatly.
I wonder if you were surprised by that assessment and if you share his opinion?'' TEGNELL: ''No, as we said here before, no we don't share his opinion.
Of course, we're suffering.
Everybody in the world is suffering right now in different ways.
But Swedish healthcare, which I guess he alludes to - it's very difficult to understand - is taking care of this in a very, very good manner (...) Swedish healthcare is one of the best in the world and it continues to be like that." Earlier this week, Trump accused Sweden of relying on ''herd immunity,’’ which in this case means isolating vulnerable groups but allowing large numbers of the population to become ill and develop immunity.
That way, drastic lockdowns like those across most of Europe and some American states aren’t necessary.
The same effect can be achieved through vaccinations.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Now they talk about Sweden, but Sweden is suffering very gravely.
You know that, right?
Sweden did that, the herd, they call it the herd.
Sweden's suffering very, very badly.
It's a way of doing it but the, you know, everybody has been watching everybody else and so far, almost every country has done it the way we've done it, we've chosen to do it.
If we didn't do it that way, we would have lost hundreds of thousands of more people.
OK." The Swedish Foreign Minister said Trump's comments were "factually wrong" and that the country had adopted a number of tougher measures including closing homes for the elderly to visitors and holding higher education classes online, but is also relying more on personal responsibility.
As of Wednesday (April.
8), Sweden has suffered about 600 deaths from the disease.
The United States had suffered almost 13,000.