IN NUMBERS: New Covid-19 infections continue to increase in Sweden

The number of confirmed new Covid-19 cases increased 14 percent in the week of Christmas, according to a preliminary analysis by the Public Health Agency.

IN NUMBERS: New Covid-19 infections continue to increase in Sweden
A box where people can pick up self-test kits for Covid. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden confirmed around 9,000 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since last December. Data for individual days are likely affected by factors like less testing (due to for example fewer staff and a lower inclination to get tested) and reporting lags over the Christmas holidays and should be taken with a pinch of salt – but it follows a sharply rising infection rate since mid-November.

Last week Sweden’s three-week rolling average stood at 327 new Covid cases per 100,000 unvaccinated people over the age of 12, and 187 per vaccinated over-12s, wrote the Public Health Agency as it presented the latest available data on Wednesday afternoon.

Of confirmed cases last week, 36 percent were unvaccinated.

So far, 29 percent of all over-18s in Sweden have received their booster dose of a Covid vaccine, and 79 percent of everyone aged over 65, said the Public Health Agency. More than 85 percent of over-12s have had at least one jab, and more than 81 percent have had two.

Sweden’s death rate remains relatively low, although around a handful of people are still dying every day after testing positive for Covid.

But the number of people in need of intensive care is increasing, with 52 new patients admitted to intensive care last week.

More than 100 Covid patients are currently in intensive care in Sweden, as The Local reported on Wednesday. The number of intensive care patients per 100,000 people was last week 12 times higher among unvaccinated than vaccinated people, said the Public Health Agency.

According to a preliminary analysis of positive tests, the number of cases of the new Omicron variant ranged from three to 51 percent across various regions last week, but the majority of regions had not reported new data on the variant over the Christmas holidays.

The variant is believed to be milder but more infectious than other variants, but much about it is still unknown.

The spread of infection has reached record levels in much of Europe, with several countries now recording their highest levels of daily cases since the start of the pandemic. Denmark on Wednesday found 23,228 new cases among 189,512 PCR tests, its highest daily total to date.

Sweden’s confirmed infection rate is still lower than the second wave last winter, but it’s worth bearing in mind that its curve has generally been a few weeks behind many other European countries. The Public Health Agency believes Omicron will dominate by mid-January.

Member comments

  1. Dear theLocal, thanks for continuosly publishing these important data about C-19 evolution. I also praise the fact that you post a graph illustrating evolution in time, so much more worthy than thousand words. In this respect, is there any way you may put any pressure on other newspaper and to the FHM to provide a bunch of simple graphs? FHM contains a lot of information, but you really need to dig in, it seems really done on purpose to discourage people from getting that essential figures. Good examples of graphic information are daily given in the The Guardian,
    where you barely need to read a line to have a clear idea of what is going on
    I haven’t found so far anything comparable in the Swedish newspapers.
    Happy New Year

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The Local’s paywall-free Covid blog is coming to an end

After two years, it's time for us to bid farewell to The Local's paywall-free Covid blog. But we'll continue to cover the pandemic in other articles.

The Local's paywall-free Covid blog is coming to an end

In March 2020, just a day before the World Health Organization declared that the spread of the new coronavirus was now a pandemic, we published The Local’s free Covid blog.

At the time it was not much more than a short timeline of the outbreak in Sweden up until that point. But since then, it’s been one of our most important articles.

In the past two years, the blog has been read more than a million times, and it’s been the most-read article on the site almost every day. Despite being completely free to read, it has also been the most-read article among paying members – thank you for your feedback and support, it’s been invaluable.

We’ve kept the blog updated almost every weekday for the past two years, while also producing other, more in-depth, articles on everything from Covid vaccine passes, opinion pieces and our own readers’ stories about the issues you told us affected you.

Most of the blog updates have been done by myself or Catherine Edwards, followed by her successor Becky Waterton from October 2021. That’s not a huge team, so we’re grateful that our community of members of The Local makes our newsroom feel much bigger.

We started the blog mainly to keep readers informed about new infections and changes to restrictions, recommendations and testing rules.

But we’ve reached a new stage of the pandemic, and it feels like the blog has served its purpose.

Nearly all restrictions and guidelines have been lifted, data on new infections is harder to come by since Sweden stopped testing the general public on February 9th, and today the Coronavirus Commission set up to investigate Sweden’s pandemic response presented its final report. We’ve written about it here.

Today will also be the last time we update the blog. But the pandemic itself, its impact on people, and The Local’s coverage, are not over. Loved ones are still falling ill and dying, vaccinations are still vitally important, and Sweden’s non-EU entry restrictions are still in place until March 31st.

We’ll continue to cover all of those things in other articles. If you want an email alert every time we publish a major Covid-19 story, make sure to update your newsletter preferences here.

It’s now time for us to focus our resources on those articles, as well as continuing to investigate other issues that affect foreign residents’ lives in Sweden. With Russia’s war in Ukraine, Sweden’s upcoming election in September, and potential changes to Sweden’s migration laws, there’s no shortage of such issues.

This is my last day at The Local before I go on parental leave. Our correspondent Richard Orange will take over as editor while I’m gone. You’re always welcome to get in touch with him and Becky Waterton at [email protected] if you have any questions about life in Sweden, or any stories you think they should cover.

As always, thanks for reading,