Swedish king on coronavirus strategy: ‘We have failed’

The Swedish king said in a new speech that the country’s strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 has “failed” as the number of fatalities in the Scandinavian country continues to rise.

Carl XVI Gustaf told residents of the country in his annual Christmas address that Sweden has suffered “tremendously” from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and that it is “traumatic” that many of the loved ones of the nearly 8,000 people who died from COVID-19 were unable to to say goodbye to them personally.

‘I think we failed. We’ve died a lot and that’s awful. It’s something we all have to deal with, ”said the King in comments released Thursday and due to be broadcast in full Monday, as translated by the Financial Times.

Sweden has opposed the introduction of a nationwide lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, unlike many of its European counterparts.

However, Swedish officials are reportedly considering implementing lockdowns as some of the country’s intensive care units reach capacity, The New York Times reported this week.

Sweden has reported about 1,700 COVID-19 fatalities in the last month, compared with about 100 deaths each in Finland and Norway. The countries both have about half the Swedish population.

Asked if he was afraid of becoming infected with the coronavirus, the king said: “Lately it has been feeling better. It has come closer and closer. That’s not what you want, ”said the Financial Times.

Sweden’s top infectious disease expert said late last month that the country has seen no evidence of herd immunity slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Herd immunity is the point where a disease stops widespread spread through a population because enough individuals are immune to it, either by recovering from an infection or by vaccinations.