10:11 a.m. ET — Sweden, which has taken a less restrictive approach than others in an effort to develop “herd immunity” to coronavirus in its population, said about 6% of its people have developed Covid-19 antibodies, Reuters reported.
Herd immunity, which is usually achieved via vaccination, is attained when around 60% of citizens are deemed immune. Without a vaccine for coronavirus, however, countries have relied on exposure to and recovery from Covid-19, hoping it leads to long-term immunity.
Sweden’s response has differed from others as the country’s leading epidemiologists said herd immunity could be reached without a full lockdown, opting for mainly voluntary measures. The 6% figure is lower than expected, “but not a lot lower,” Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a news conference.
Sweden’s government advocated personal hygiene, social distancing, working from home if possible, and it banned mass gatherings and visits to senior care homes in response to the pandemic. Schools stayed open for people under 16, however, and bars and restaurants continued to serve customers if they were seated.
Tegnell, after pushing for a no-lockdown strategy, later conceded more should have been done to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The decision to bypass a strict lockdown has prompted Nordic countries to exclude Sweden when easing travel restrictions in the region. —Alexander Harring and Holly Ellyatt