The comments from regional healthcare director Björn Eriksson came at a press conference on Thursday morning, where he also gave an update on the overall situation of the coronavirus outbreak in the Stockholm region, and announced the dismantling of a field hospital built two months ago.
Here's what he told Stockholmers about the current situation and their responsibility:
“We need the numbers of people in need of hospital care and intensive care to fall significantly more and significantly faster. This is even clearer if we look at the total number of patients with Covid-19 who have needed hospital care. Here we see that the development has gone from, at the peak, 1,100 patients with Covid-19, on April 20th, and the curve goes down a little bit but then has remained completely still.
“If we then look at the last month's development on the number of people who have died, it is still very upsetting reading. Yesterday alone, we reported that 18 further patients had died with Covid-19, whose loved ones, relatives and friends have lost someone before their time. This is incomprehensible.
“On May 3rd, we had 1,430 people who had died of Covid-19. Yesterday it was 2,099 people who had died of Covid-19 in Region Stockholm. I don't know what picture you have of the situation, but over the past few weeks there has been a general feeling among the public that things are now a bit easier. But as we can see, the need of hospital care is falling far too slowly and just in the past month, we have confirmed that 669 people have died with Covid-19 [in Stockholm].
“The assessment I make is that we are in a highly serious situation and that the next months will be completely decisive. Therefore I want to turn to all residents of Region Stockholm, and we have for a long time urged everyone to voluntarily follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency. Most people have made big efforts and big sacrifices.”
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Stockholm healthcare director Björn Eriksson speaks at Thursday's press conference. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
“We have stayed at home with the slightest symptoms of a cold or flu, we have washed and disinfected our hands like never before, we have worked at a distance when this has been doable, we haven't travelled on holiday or around the country, we haven't visited friends as we normally do, we haven't visited those who belong to a risk group – that is to say, those aged 70 or over or have an underlying illnesses.
“Those who are over 70 or have underlying illnesses have socially distanced themselves. We have kept two metres' distance both inside and outside, we have allowed public transport to be only for those who belong to the jobs that are needed for society to function and who must take public transport.
“But now we are tired and we all want things to go back to normal. But they cannot. Because then, more people will be infected by Covid-19, more will need hospital care for Covid-19, and more will die of Covid-19. It is our responsibility as residents of Stockholm to absolutely not crowd in pubs, to not celebrate with friends and family, to not meet in large crowds on streets and squares, or be close to each other on beaches or parks now that the sun is shining.
“Keep two metres' distance from everyone who doesn't live in your household. That way, we can keep down the spread of infection, the number of ill people, and the number of deaths.
“Unfortunately, there are some who don't follow the recommendations and to you I say one thing: you are exposing not only yourself, but everyone else around you to an unacceptable risk. Many also think that they have had Covid-19 but few of us know with certainty. Whether or not you've had it, we must follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency, we must reduce the spread of infection and reduce the need for hospital care. And this only works if we all help out together and dare to tell others if they are not following them.”