Swedish expert warns Irish lockdown will push “serious cases into the future”

A senior Swedish epidemiologist has said the Irish lockdown is “destroying the fabric” of our economy and society.

Dr. Johan Giesecke told Newstalk that Ireland’s strict lockdown is “pushing the serious cases into the future” to when the restrictions are lifted, and that everyone will eventually get infected with the novel coronavirus provided no effective vaccine is found.

“That’s true for all respiratory tract infections like this – influenza, measles – you can’t get rid of them without a vaccine. If a good vaccine comes along, then I’m wrong – but if not, everyone will get it in the end”.

Defending the Swedish government’s more lenient approach to the virus, where society largely remained open, he said the UK was an example of where lockdowns had failed to achieve lower death rates than his own country.

“One example is your neighbour the United Kingdom: they have more deaths per million inhabitants than Sweden has.”

“And they’ve had a rather severe lockdown all the time, that’s one example,” Giesecke said.

Whilst agreeing that “flattening the curve” is helpful, the government advisor to Sweden warned that such steps will not only fail in preventing people from becoming infected in the future, but also result in considerable social and economic damage.

“I don’t think that the serial lock-up is a very good solution. You’re destroying the fabric of your society and your economy – and you [are] pushing the serious cases into the future.”

Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal Donohoe responded to the comments by saying each country is being guided by different advice and that the Irish approach is “having the effect that we need it to have.”

“We believe we’re getting the balance right overall in relation to the health of our country, the economic health of our country, in dealing with this terrible disease.”

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