Un-herd: Anders Tegnell: Sweden won the argument on Covid

The state epidemiologist told Freddie Sayers he was right on the key questions

Of all the celebrities that have been created during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, Swedish State Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell is perhaps the most surprising. A softly-spoken official within the Swedish Health Agency, he has quietly been going about his work monitoring infectious diseases for years.

But his decision, when Covid hit, to stick to his long-established plan and not recommend mandatory lockdowns, not close the schools, turned him into a lightning rod for competing views on the pandemic. Endless articles have been written about him in media across the world and some Swedes are known to have had tattoos made of him.

UnHerd spoke to him back in July 2020, when he defended the lack of mask mandates and was hopeful that widespread immunity would protect the Swedes from a bad winter wave — a hope that turned out to be overly optimistic. “Judge me in a year,” he said.

Just over a year later, on the eve of Sweden releasing almost all of its remaining Covid restrictions on September 29th, Freddie Sayers spoke to him again. His message? On the big questions — whether Covid was something we had to live with, whether schools should be shut — he believes he has been vindicated.

As ever, many thanks to Anders for taking the time.

On vaccinations:I think the big change, since we talked last time, is really the vaccinations. There, we really found the tool that’s going to make the difference. And all the other things we have tried are not going to be very important anymore, because reaching and achieving a high vaccination level is the one way we can get out of this pandemic. There does not seem to be any other way, really.

– Anders Tegnell, UnHerd

On winning the main argument:I think we tried to argue from fairly early on that this is a disease we have to learn to live with… And more and more countries are taking that position, because even with a fantastic vaccine, we can control it, but we cannot eradicate it… We have to accept a certain level of spread in the society. We probably have to accept there’s going to be a few cases in our hospitals, with Covid-19 in the foreseeable future, just like we are accepting a few cases of flu or a few cases of many diseases that we cannot control completely.

– Anders Tegnell, UnHerd

Read the whole thing HERE. Emphasis mine

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