I have not been in favor of the ‘herd immunity’ strategy due to the fact that no vaccine is in place to accompany it.
Now we hear of only a minuscule number of people having any antibodies after recovery. I know that there are friends of mine and others, who greatly disagree with me, but this is how I see it. The initial lockdown to contain the spread appears to have worked in Finland, which by the way, is sparsely populated except for the southern region where the nation’s capital is located.
Recent numbers of CCP’s Coronavirus victims in the Nordic region bears this out. Norway, Finland and Denmark combined have fewer numbers of dead than its neighbor Sweden which has taken the route if “herd immunity”.
Finland, 293 dead (pop. 5.5 mill), Norway 232 dead (pop. 5.4 mill), Denmark 537 dead (pop. 5.6 mill).
Total dead 1062 in a population of 16.5 million people.
Sweden, 3500 dead in a population of 10.5 million.
I can only speak for Finland which initially did lockdown, with crowds at first being held to no more than 50, then down to 10, and the entire Helsinki region under roadblock, meaning no one could leave the area except for certain cases. That lasted for three weeks and all local businesses were open with the exception of bars and restaurants. I even had a dentist appointment during that period. So Finland was not entirely in lockdown nor practicing herd immunity either, and the situation has normalized with all schools being opened this past Thursday.
For me the big issue is immunity once having been infected, are you susceptible to being infected again? If that’s the case, then basing everything on herd immunity is a fool’s errand. With such a depressingly low number of people showing signs of antibodies, initial strict lockdown, as unfortunate as that might be, is the more prudent of the alternatives, as seen in the Nordics vs. Sweden numbers.
PM Marin: “Govt is not seeking herd immunity”
“We don’t even know if infections provide immunity,” the Finnish prime minister said.
In an effort to explain the government’s coronavirus crisis strategy, Prime Minister Sanna Marin held a joint press conference alongside experts from the health ministry and the country’s health authority THL on Friday morning.
The roughly 45-minute briefing followed requests from opposition parties asking for clarification on the government’s strategy.
Marin said even though restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus are being gradually loosened, the government’s main goal in dealing with the epidemic is to prevent the spread of the disease outright, likening the effort to a sports event.
“Nobody wants to come in eighth or ninth place, we all want to win the fight. We want to win and be rid of the virus,” she said, adding that the country still needs to be realistic and realise that we are dealing with a global pandemic.
As of Thursday 14 May, Finland’s Covid-19 death toll amounted to 287, and a total of just over 6,100 lab-confirmed cases of the disease. However, due to limited testing the actual infection figure is thought to be considerably higher.
Grandchild visit decisions left up to seniors
“We don’t want to make life difficult but rather want to prevent people from falling ill and dying. That’s the reason behind our recommendations to seniors to avoid physical contact with others. But if some seniors feel like it is more important to meet their grandchildren than protect their own health, then that’s up to them, but the government cannot recommend it,” Marin said.
She said the country needs to find a balance between safeguarding the public’s health and a healthcare system that reduces human suffering as much as possible.
She said that because people need to be able to leave the country and be able to return, there is a risk of new cases arising.
On Thursday, Finland loosened rules on international travel slightly, following cross-border restrictions implemented in early April.
Citing mathematical models based on current infection rate figures, Marin said health authorities are preparing for a slight decline in infections over the summer and anticipate a second wave in the autumn.
The PM said that even though 80 percent of the country’s Covid-19 cases were being diagnosed in the Helsinki-Uusimaa region, the government does not have plans for regional deviations of restrictions in place, for example opening up restaurants in regions with very low infection rates.
Short on tracking app details
Alongside Marin was Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki the strategic affairs director at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, as well as Taneli Puumalainen, head of the THL’s vaccination programme unit.
When asked, Marin and the two experts did not provide specific detail about plans to introduce a mobile-based coronavirus tracing app, when such a programme would roll out or which system would be used.
Earlier this month it was reported that one prospective tracing app would be ready by June , following trials at a Vaasa hospital in western Finland. But at the time there was no word from officials on any possible timetable for its use – or whether they will start using the app at all.
Such mobile device-based tech has been put into use in other countries around the world, and enables authorities to reach out to people who may have been exposed to coronavirus-infected individuals.
However, on Friday, Marin said any tracing app put in place would need to be secure, voluntary and respect data protection rules.
Voipio-Pulkki and Puumalainen said the goal of using such applications would be to track possibly-exposed individuals and then quarantine them.