UnHerd – Why Lockdowns are the Wrong Policy – Swedish Expert Prof Johan Giesecke – Apr 17, 2020 — Transcript

[A Swedish expert in infectious diseases, Professor Johan Giesecke, is interviewed on Sweden’s response to the Coronvirus and why the “Lockdown” policy being carried out across the West is wrong.

 

Sweden has instituted a relatively mild response in terms of social restrictions, such as limiting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people. He says the end result will be a similar death rate as what will occur in countries that are carrying out severe lockdowns with all its massive economic costs, and the risk of the loss of freedoms.

KATANA]

 

UnHerd

Why Lockdowns are the

Wrong Policy

 

Swedish Expert Prof Johan Giesecke

 

Apr 17, 2020

 

 

Click here for the video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfN2JWifLCY

 

Published on Apr 17, 2020

Why lockdowns are the wrong policy – Swedish expert Prof. Johan Giesecke
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That was one of the more extraordinary interviews we have done here at UnHerd.

Professor Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, advisor to the Swedish Government (he hired Anders Tegnell who is currently directing Swedish strategy), the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and an advisor to the director general of the WHO, lays out with typically Swedish bluntness why he thinks:

– UK policy on lockdown and other European countries are not evidence-based
– The correct policy is to protect the old and the frail only
– This will eventually lead to herd immunity as a “by-product”
– The initial UK response, before the “180 degree U-turn”, was better
– The Imperial College paper was “not very good” and he has never seen an unpublished paper have so much policy impact
– The paper was very much too pessimistic
– Any such models are a dubious basis for public policy anyway
– The flattening of the curve is due to the most vulnerable dying first as much as the lockdown
– The results will eventually be similar for all countries
– Covid-19 is a “mild disease” and similar to the flu, and it was the novelty of the disease that scared people.
– The actual fatality rate of Covid-19 is the region of 0.1%
– At least 50% of the population of both the UK and Sweden will be shown to have already had the disease when mass antibody testing becomes available

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

(34:24 mins)

 

 

[00:00]

 

 

Unherd: Hello and welcome! Thanks for tuning in. You are watching lockdown TV. This is the pop up news and discussion program from Unherd. Throughout the lockdown weeks we have been bringing conversations and interesting people together to work out what’s going on and how we should be thinking about this current crisis.

 

I’m delighted that today we are joined, down the line from Sweden, by Dr. Johan Giesecke. Dr. Giesecke thank you so much for making the time today.

 

Prof Giesecke: My pleasure.

 

Unherd: If I can give you, help me a little bit here, but you trained originally at the London School of Tropical Medicine, is that right?

 

Prof Giesecke: No. It started before that actually. I used to be an infectious disease clinical doctor, and worked a lot with AIDS patients during the 1980s. And that’s what put me into epidemiology. And then I spent one year, or two years at the London School of Tropical Medicine in the early 90s. And then I came back to Sweden. And then I became State Epidemiologist for Sweden. Which means having control over all the infectious diseases.

 

Unherd: Which is the job Anders Tegnell apparently has?

 

Prof Giesecke: So, I actually hired him 20 years ago. And then I was his boss, and now he’s my boss. But he’s working actually quite well.

 

Unherd: And you then became Chief Scientist at the European Center for Disease Control?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yeah.

 

Unherd: And what roles do you have now? Who are you advising at the moment?

 

Prof Giesecke: I’m advising Anders [word unclear] the Swedish agency for public health, on a consultant basis. I’m retired really, so I’m doing this mostly, because it’s fun!

 

Unherd: And the World Health Organization? You were saying you’re on a call with them earlier today. Do you have an ongoing relationship, with them?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes. I’m advising the Director-General, together with a group of scientists. But that is unpaid, …

 

Unherd: Right.

 

Prof Giesecke: That is an honorary post.

 

Unherd: So having established your credentials, to talk with confidence on this topic, there’s been a lot of confused thinking, and a lot of confusion, about what the correct response to a threat such as Covid 19 should be. And I just wanted to begin by getting your kind of summary thoughts of how Sweden is differing from other countries, and why you think that is?

 

Prof Giesecke: The main reason is that we, or the Swedish government, decided early in January that the measures we should take against the pandemic should be evidence-based. And when you start looking around for the measures that are being taken now by different countries, you find that very few of them have the shred of evidence base!

 

But one, we know, that’s known for a hundred and fifty years, or more. And that is washing your hands is good for you and good for others when you’re in epidemic. But the rest like border closures, school closures, social distancing, there’s almost no science behind most of these.

 

Unherd: So, what is the current policy in Sweden? Social distancing is part of the policy, isn’t it? What is the regime that Sweden has gone with?

 

Prof Giesecke: The main difference to other countries is that there is no, you’re not locked up in your home. If you go out buy food, or groceries, or drugs, I mean, medicines, there’s no police to stop you in the street, and ask you what you’re doing here. That’s one thing. People are asked to stay inside. But there is no reinforcement, or enforcement of that. People do it anyway. So that’s one. We have the rule that a crowd cannot be bigger than 50 people.

 

Unherd: So I can still have an event for 49 people, if I want?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes. You could. And the schools, the upper schools are closed. Secondary education and universities are closed. Schools at age 15, 16, are open. What more do we have? The nursing homes, or houses for old people, are closed to visitors.

 

Unherd: So it sounds like it’s a moderate social distancing regime, then? At the moment.

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes. Sorry, it’s very similar to the one that the UK had before there was a famous paper by the Imperial College, by the modelers who made models for infectious diseases, that came out. And on the day after, you made a you-turn in England.

 

[05:00]

 

Unherd: Yes. So tell us about that. The original strategy in the UK and became known as a kind of “herd immunity” strategy. That is what it was called. And before we come on to talk about the Imperial Model, which I would like to talk about, is it correct to call it “herd immunity”? And is that the Swedish strategy?

 

Prof Giesecke: It’s not a strategy, but it’s a by-product of the strategy. But the strategy is to protect the old and the frail. Try to minimize their risk of becoming infected, and taking care of them if they get infected. And if you do that the way we’re doing it, you would probably get herd immunity then. But that’s a byproduct of it. It’s not the main reason to do it.

 

Unherd: So, you were saying then, so the initial UK response seemed to be similar to what Sweden is doing now. And you thought that was better?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yep! No, I think it was very good actually, and we were very pleased we were having the same policies as the UK. That gave some credibility to what we were doing. But then, Mr Johnson [Boris] made it made his hundred and eighty degree turn.

 

[Image — Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, right, and Health Minister Matt Hancock visit Bassetlaw District General Hospital on their General Election campaign in Worksop, England, on Nov. 22, 2019]

 

Unherd: Yes. So why, … There may have been other political factors involved. He was definitely under a lot of pressure, because lots of European countries were doing a formal lockdown at that point.

 

But the turning point did seem to be that Imperial College Report, which forecasted five hundred and ten thousand deaths in the UK, with a completely unmitigated approach. Two hundred and fifty thousand deaths with a mitigated approach, which is roughly equivalent to what you’re doing in Sweden. And then it suggests that it might be as few as 20,000 if we did a full suppression, or lockdown. What was your impression of that paper?

 

Prof Giesecke: I think it’s not very good! And the thing that they miss a little, is any models for infectious disease spread are very popular. Many people do them. They’re good for teaching. They seldom tell you the truth. Because — I make a small parenthesis — which model could have assumed that the outbreak would start in northern Italy, in Europe? Difficult to model that one.

 

And any such model, it looks complicated. There are strange mathematical formula, and integrals signs, and stuff, but it rests on the assumptions! And the assumptions in that articles could be heavily criticized. I won’t go through that, it would take to the rest of your day if I went through them all.

 

The paper was never published scientifically! It’s not peer-reviewed. Which a scientific paper should be. It’s just an internal departmental report from Imperial. And it’s fascinating! I don’t think any other scientific endeavor has made such an impression on the world, as that rather debatable paper!

 

Unherd: So, is your impression is that it was overly pessimistic?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes! Oh yes! Very much so.

 

Unherd: So what, I mean, I guess it comes down to some degree of speculation, but what’s your impression of how serious the disease is? And what kind of fatalities we would be looking at if we had a more moderate, or more mitigated approach?

 

Prof Giesecke: What’s the number of deaths in the UK now? I don’t know, I haven’t looked.

 

Unherd: Thirteen thousand. [As of Apr 25, 2020 the UK total is 20,319 — See chart at end.]

 

Prof Giesecke: So you’re getting close to twenty now?

 

Unherd: Yeah.

 

Prof Giesecke: But probably not 510 thousand! I think, … Well let me back one step. One thing that the model has missed is that it assumes that hospital capacity will remain the same. And that’s not what’s happening anywhere. I mean, in Sweden we tripled our intensive care capacity. And I think that’s happening in the UK as well. That the paper completely overlooks that. It cites that as a static thing.

 

Unherd: Hmm. So, just to sort of come back on this. The argument, what people watching will be asking, and I think what most people who support the lockdown would say, and that is the overwhelming majority of people in politics and in the media, is that the reason the curve is now flattening, and the numbers of deaths are gradually coming down on a daily basis, is because of the lockdown. And that shows that the policy has worked!

 

[Image — Professor Neil Ferguson of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.]

 

And Professor Neil Ferguson who wrote the, or led the Imperial paper, suggest that he stands by his prediction that 500,000 odd people would have died had that not taken place. So if it wasn’t the lockdown that has been flattening our curve, what else could have been?

 

[10:01]

 

Prof Giesecke: One thing is immunity. The other is that the people who are frail and old, will die first. And when that group of people is sort of thinned out, you will get less deaths as well. The other thing is that when you start your “exit strategy”, that’s the favorite word now in all this public effort. The “exit strategy”. When you start that one, you’ll have some other deaths that we had already.

 

Unherd: Yes. So does that mean then that as the disease passes through the population, are we gonna see second and third spikes now, after this?

 

Prof Giesecke: It would be part of the exit strategy. Because the only way to check, if you taking away one restriction, and say we’ll open the schools again, as an example. How do you evaluate that? You have to:

 

“Oh! Numbers are going up again! More people are dying! We have to stop that! We have to pull back that softening, and try another.”

 

That’s what “exit strategy” will be in all countries! Countries will ease up a little on a restriction, see what happens over the next to-3 weeks:

 

“Ohh! It didn’t work very well! We will resume that! We try another restriction, we lift that one. Oh it worked!”

 

And so every country will have to do it that way. And that means that the increasing number of deaths will be part of checking which strategy should be kept or not.

 

Unherd: So what should we be doing instead?

 

Prof Giesecke: Well, you can’t! When I first heard — which is now six week ago — about the different draconic measures that were taken, I asked myself:

 

“How are they going to climb down from that one? When will they open the schools again? What should be the criterion to open schools?”

 

Did anyone, the strong and very decisive politicians even think about how to get out of this, when they introduced it? And I think that would be a problem for the UK, as well.

 

Unherd: So yes, let’s take as a comparison, the neighboring countries in Scandinavia.

 

Prof Giesecke: Yep.

 

Unherd: Because a lot of people are sending around these charts that showed that Denmark, and Norway, and Finland, have had much fewer deaths on a per capita basis. And in Sweden the rate is still climbing. And they take that as proof essentially that Sweden should have gone into a more draconian lockdown. What do you say to those people?

 

Prof Giesecke: Well first, that is not true for Denmark. Secondly, one important thing is that Norway, the nursing homes in Norway, are usually quite small. Whereas the nursing homes in Sweden are quite big, with hundreds of people. Which means that if you get the virus into one nursing home in Norway it will affect far fewer people. So that’s part of the reason, it’s not all the reasons.

 

For Finland the epidemic never really took off there. They started their measures before it had even started. But I think we should have this discussion a year from now! Let’s decide that. We do it on the 17th of April 2021! I think that the difference between countries would be quite small, in the end.

 

Unherd: So you don’t think that the severity of the these intervening measures are gonna make that much difference?

 

Prof Giesecke: No! I don’t think so. I think, … Should I tell you what I really think?

 

Unherd: Please!

 

Prof Giesecke: I almost never do this. I think what we’re seeing is a tsunami of a usually quite mild disease which is sweeping over Europe. And some countries do this, and some countries do that, and some countries don’t do that. And in the end, there will be very little difference.

 

Unherd: So when you say it’s a usually “quite mild” disease, what do you mean by that?

 

Prof Giesecke: That most people who get it will never even notice they were infected.

 

Unherd: So, does that mean that you think the actual fatality rate of this disease is much lower than the numbers that have been talked about?

 

Prof Giesecke: Much, much, lower!

 

Unherd: So have you made any speculations as to what sort of zone, the real fatality rate might be in?

 

Prof Giesecke: I think it would be like a severe influenza season. The same as, and which would be an order of 0.1 percent, maybe.

 

Unherd: So that would suggest then for a country like the UK that has already had, is heading towards 20,000 deaths, that would suggest, that millions, many millions, of people have already had it.

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes!

 

Unherd: And you believe, … Do you think that is also true in Sweden then? That a substantial percentage of the population has had it?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yep! I’m rather certain on that, actually. And when we get — we don’t have the tests really, yet. As you know, you have these two kinds, you know, this don’t you? Two kinds of tests.

 

[15:04]

 

Unherd: Yeah.

 

Prof Giesecke: One that tells that you have it now. Another one that tells you that you had it at some point before. An immunity, or serology test. And they are just being developed and are just being employed.

 

I know from discussions with friends in the UK, that you started last week with 3,500 such tests, and you have gone with eight in one week, and it will be about eight thousand per week. And when you get tests that show that people that have the disease, you’ll see that most of them never even dreamt they had it!

 

Unherd: But we don’t have yet any effective antibody tests, I don’t think. No. You’re right. But it’s coming.

 

Unherd: But you’re confident that we will get those tests?

 

Prof Giesecke: Oh, yes. That’s a matter of time.

 

Unherd: And so what sort of percentage of the population do you think we will discover has had it, once we get mass antibody testing in place?

 

Prof Giesecke: At least half.

 

Unherd: In the United Kingdom, or do you mean in Sweden, as well?

 

Prof Giesecke: Both countries.

 

Unherd: So, the whole sort of rationale for introducing these lockdowns across Europe, that has created such unbelievable side-effects, and pretty much stops the whole world in its tracks.

 

Prof Giesecke: Mmm.

 

Unherd: You believe is a misguided policy, and do you think it’s doing more harm than good?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes! I think so! Although, I mean, if you listen [a slight chuckle], what I’m saying is that people who will die a few months later, are dying now. And that’s taking months from their lives. So that’s maybe not nice. But, comparing that to the effects of the lockdown which may be, …

 

I mean, what am I most afraid of its the dictatorial trends in Eastern Europe, that Orban is now dictator for Hungary forever. There’s no finishing date. I think the same is popping up in other countries. It may pop up in more established democracies, as well. I think the ramifications can be huge from this! We don’t even start seeing that.

 

Unherd: So you think the correct policy from the start, just to get this clear, should have been to shield old and vulnerable groups, …

 

Prof Giesecke: There we failed! Sweden failed. We were not on our toes enough to really shield the old people. We should have banned visitors earlier. Many of the people working in nursing homes are from other countries, they’re refugees, or asylum seekers, in Sweden. Their Swedish may not be perfect. They may not always be understanding the information that has been spread to the population. There are many things we could have done better a couple of weeks, or a couple of months ago.

 

Unherd: So, at the point we are now, what you’re advocating in is we protect groups better.

 

Prof Giesecke: Mmm.

 

Unherd: And as far as the rest of the population is concerned we just allow it to pass through the population? Essentially.

 

Prof Giesecke: Essentially, yes.

 

Unherd: Which is, I mean, I know that it’s now, …

 

Prof Giesecke: Herd immunity, yes.

 

Unherd: That is commonly understood by what we call the “herd immunity” strategy, basically,

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes. There are others. It’s not just the old and frail. I mean, there are other people that should be protected. But I don’t think you can stop it. It’s spreading! You can try, you can stop it for some time, but then? I mean, countries that have been successful, South Korea is giving up now. They can’t maintain their policy. Taiwan, I don’t know about Taiwan, they were quite successful. Singapore, similar problem.

 

Unherd: Those countries that are held up is the most successful. In some cases they totally managed to suppress the outbreak. Do you think that it’s just a question of delay, and actually they won’t be able to hold that back?

 

Prof Giesecke: No!

 

Unherd: So how should we judge success, then? It seems like numbers of deaths does seem like a fair a measure. But if you’re saying that they’re essentially deaths that are just going to happen later, you know, it will sound to some people that’s a slightly cold-hearted approach, I suppose. That if you’re saying they’re going to die anyway, so we should allow the disease to take it’s path.

 

I think a lot of people might feel that a government can’t sit back and do that, if they’re, … If now having had this lockdown and we were headed towards 20,000 deaths, how many deaths might we have had if we had had no lockdown? Would it have been more?

 

[20:15]

 

Prof Giesecke: Yeah, probably a bit more. But in the end the result would be rather much the same. And I agree it’s a bit callous to say, let people, … We’re not saying that. We are saying protect the old, try to slow the spread of the epidemic a bit, so that the health care system will manage, when we have many sick people, many severely ill people. But it’s more, … Well, I don’t think you can’t, really. At some point it’s like, “tsunami” is not a bad, it will roll over Europe no matter what you do!

 

Unherd: And as it rolls over Europe, sooner, or later, will presumably treatments will improve?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes.

 

Unherd: We’ll get better at knowing how to treat it?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes.

 

Unherd: Already feels like the initial focus on ventilation has shifted to other ideas, and people are thinking of new ways to treat it. Is that in itself not an argument for suppressing it as much?

 

Prof Giesecke: But how long in a democracy do you think it would keep a lock-down? How long will it take before people say:

 

“No! I’m not taking it!”

 

You can do it in China. In China you can do it. You can tell people to stay at home and you can weld back that door, so they can’t get out. But in a democracy you can’t! And also in 3 or for weeks people will say:

 

“Well, I don’t know anyone who had the Covid, and I haven’t met any, and I want to go out! I want to go down to the pub!”

 

Unherd: I suppose.

 

Prof Giesecke: So how long do you think you could lock people up like? This stay in your home, you need a permit to go to the shop!

 

Unherd: We don’t actually need a permit. But yeah, I mean, I think we’ve now just had it extended by three weeks. There is an enormous amount of public support for it. And that’s one of the interesting factors about this. That at the moment the public is very much on side with the lockdown in the United Kingdom. Some people seem to like it. [Giesecke starts laughing] So maybe that it’s hard to persuade people to go back in some way.

 

But do you feel, Dr. Giesecke, that the policies that have been put in place by the UK and by other European governments, how did they come about? You’ve been a leading epidemiologist for your whole career. You dealt with influencers, and czars, and you advise the World Health Organization. What was it about this pandemic that was so different, that has led to this global shut down?

 

Prof Giesecke: New disease, a lot of people dying, don’t know really what will happen. And this fear of contagion, I think is almost genetic in people. And showing political strength, decisiveness, force, very important to politicians!

 

Unherd: Do you think the fact that it came out of China and we had witnessed such a enormous response, quarantining whole provinces, and so on, set the tone in some way? And that that felt like, …

 

Prof Giesecke: Yeah.

 

Unherd: … Like the response?

 

Prof Giesecke: Could be. “Let’s do like the Chinese”. But again you can’t compare to China. It’s a different world. And do you think you could keep the lock-down to protect the old people until we have good drugs and good vaccines? Six months, a year, 18 months? I think people would get a bit tired of it, even if they support the policy in the UK

 

Unherd: So a couple of specific things that have occurred to me during our conversation. One is, how many deaths do you foresee in Sweden? You are up at 1,400, or something? [As of Apr 25, 2020 the Swedish total is 2,192]

 

Prof Giesecke: I think it will be like a severe influenza. And it’s interesting with influenza, when the flu comes we all say:

 

“Oh, the flu is coming!”

 

Like every winter, it’s in the papers, the flu is here, okay. And it usually kills in this country around, 1,000, 2,000 people. But it’s normal, it’s influenza. We have it every year. And they’re old and they’re going to die soon anyway. So no one is very upset about influenza.

 

But I think if influenza came around as a “new disease”, you never had it before, but suddenly this new disease called “influenza” popped up, we would have exactly the same reaction as we have now! So I think the number of deaths will about be about the same as in a severe influenza. How many are you? Fifty million?

 

[25:14]

 

Unherd: Yeah. 65

 

Prof Giesecke: 65. So multiply by six. So it would be 12,000 cases in the UK.

 

Unherd: Well, we’ve already had 13,000

 

Prof Giesecke: And a lot of the influenza deaths are not booked, or they’re not recorded in that way, anyway. In [words unclear] disease. So I think this is similar. About the same anyway. It may be double as much, but it won’t be ten times as much.

 

Unherd: The reports from hospitals that are very different aren’t they? The way the disease progresses seems different from influenza.

 

Prof Giesecke: Oh yeah, it’s different. It’s not the same disease as influenza. But it’s not, … The shape of the epidemic is not that different. There are a few differences. For example, the influenza is driven by children. An influenza outbreak is driven by children in society. They are the ones who pass it on between the generations. And this does not hurt children very much. They don’t have any symptoms. And they’re not very infectious. So that there are epidemiological differences.

 

Unherd: Hmm. When talking about all people like you did, as opposed to children, a lot of people will say that young people have been dying of Covid 19. There are examples of young people dying, and some of the data out of America suggests that a large number of hospitalizations are among younger people. Is it responsible to describe it as just a disease for elderly people?

 

Prof Giesecke: No. But influenza can spread to those people too, even though not that many. And it much more, makes more headlines right now. And if you look at the data. I mean, people under 50, are a clear minority of all the cases.

 

Unherd: So, I’m 38. I’m on the sort of borders between young and old. If you’re younger than me, what is your advice to young people? I mean, should they be campaigning to have the lockdown eased, because it’s inappropriate? What are other risks for young people? We’re told that it’s about carrying the disease to other people, and they act as spreaders, even though they’re not vulnerable themselves. What should we be doing with younger people?

 

Prof Giesecke: No, I think it’s good thing you are doing. They won’t hurt that much! I mean, you can’t say that it’s completely without, what the English word? It’s not completely safe. I mean, there will be young people who die. But, for the majority it’s, … But what you said is correct, that they should think about protecting other people. That’s important, because they move around a lot. Then they shouldn’t meet the grandmother and grandfather too much. And until they’ve had it themselves, yet.

 

Unherd: So, I’m just trying to guess, … We’re nearing time now. I just want to get a sense. What should the British government do now, in your opinion? We should say:

 

“Okay, lockdown is canceled!”

 

Prof Giesecke: No! You can’t do that! Then you have a wave of cases. Then you really have a peak, one week, two weeks later, if you took away all the lock-down. No, you’ll have to climb down, one rung of the ladder at the time. And probably start with the school closures, maybe. It’s a good thing it makes society, … I mean, in this country Sweden we have one million people, children, between 0 and 10. They need to be looked after. If they’re not in school, someone has to stay at home with them.

 

And one of my friends is a nurse and head of an emergency room here, an emergency ward here in Stockholm. She prays every morning when she wakes up that the government will not close Junior School, because then she loses her office staff. So school closure is one thing. But I think, one step has to be taken at a time.

 

And it’s interesting how the countries in Europe are sort of, after the lock-down, are approaching the Swedish policy now. They’re opening up schools in all the Nordic countries. In Austria you can shop in a job that’s more than 400 square metres. In Germany they are going to do the same thing on Monday. In Germany they were also thinking about opening the schools again. So countries are approaching the Swedish, but they had a lock-down first.

 

[30:00]

 

Unherd: So you don’t think, … There’s two other there’s, two things that people get very hopeful about. One is a vaccine. And then someway we can suppress the disease completely until the vaccine comes. Is that a feasible strategy?

 

Prof Giesecke: No! We’ll take too long! It won’t work in a democracy.

 

Unherd: And one other idea are these so-called immunity passports, for people who have proven to have had the disease, they could then carry a wristband, or something, that and they would then be allowed back into jobs and in full society. Is that a feasible strategy in your view?

 

Prof Giesecke: There are some technical problems with [that]. Like you indicated the antibody tests are not that perfect yet. So it will be, but it’s not a bad idea. Do you need a passport? Do you tell your boss at work that I’m immune? Maybe he wants to see a paper. No, I mean, that’s the way we work. That you find people who are immune and they can go back and you can work in the hospital without all this spacesuit on. Things like that.

 

Unherd: Will that be part of the Swedish strategy?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yeah, yep.

 

Unherd: So, in terms of what happens next then in Sweden, you know, there’s a huge amount of pressure, a lot of people are looking to prove that it was a mistake in some way. Do you think the Swedish strategy will just stay as it has been?

 

Prof Giesecke: I don’t think it will be tougher. No. We’re talking now about opening the final year of schooling, so that people who spent 12 years in school can celebrate. Which is a big thing in this country. It’s not, because of the celebration is being done, but it’s to see that those who finish school get grades and finish all the tests they have to take and things like that.

 

Unherd: And so you feel like the curve is improving sufficiently in Sweden to start releasing further the suppression measures?

 

Prof Giesecke: Yes!

 

Unherd: And how did that happen without a lockdown? Just by voluntary social distancing, has already achieved that, you believe?

 

Prof Giesecke: Mm-hmm. And there are some, … Maybe we should finish this now, but one, it’s not a law. What do you call a minor law in English, an ordinance? That’s something that not as strong as a law.

 

Unherd: [word unclear]

 

Prof Giesecke: Yeah. Restaurants, the rule is you can only eat sitting down. The food should be hot and served at the table. You can’t stand up drinking. If you want your beer you have to sit down at the table, which is five feet away from the nearest table.

 

Unherd: Yeah.

 

Prof Giesecke: And that’s being checked now. But it’s not the government, it’s the local medical offices of health that go out and check restaurants. And when they closed two, or three restaurants, because the tables are too close, or people are standing at the bar, the other followed suite. You don’t need a law for that. They know that if the MOH, the Medical Officer of Health comes in, they’re closed for business.

 

Unherd: When do we get past that? When can we just back to normal, then? And no social distancing at all? What will be the metric for making that decision?

 

Prof Giesecke: That is a good question. I’m not quite sure I can answer that for you. But it will take a couple of months to climb down from a lockdown. Can you climb down from a lockdown? I don’t know.

 

Unherd: Professor Giesecke, thank you so much for your time. That was fascinating!

 

Prof Giesecke: Thank you!

 

Unherd: And we learnt an entirely different perspective there. And we will definitely be in touch in one year from now, but hopefully we will get a chance to talk to you before that.

 

Prof Giesecke: Okay.

 

Unherd: Thank you so much.

 

Prof Giesecke: Nice talking to you.

 

Unherd: Thank you. So there you have it!

 

You have been watching Lockdown TV from Unherd. That was Professor Johan Giesecke from Sweden, the former State Epidemiologist, adviser to the World Health Organization, who believes that the lockdown imposed across Europe and in the United Kingdom were the wrong policy. And that we’re going to find it very difficult to reverse out of. So that is a different perspective.

 

Thanks for tuning in. And we will be back next week

 

[34:24]

 

END

 

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Worldometer charts — April 25, 21:29 GMT

 

 

(Click images to enlarge)

 

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See Also

J-IDEA – Professor Neil Ferguson on the current 2019-nCoV coronavirus outbreak – Feb 6, 2020 — Transcript

 

 

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PDF Notes

* Total words = 5,841

* Total images = 9

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Version History

 

Version 4:

 

Version 3:

 

Version 2: Apr 26, 2020 — Updated cover. Corrected some typos. Added current death totals. Added Worldometer charts for Apr 25, 2020. Added 6 more images.

 

Version 1: Apr 25, 2020 — Published post.

 

This entry was posted in Coronavirus, Europe, Sweden, Transcript, Victor Orban, WHO. Bookmark the permalink.

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