‘It’s a bad sign’: Sweden sees renewed rise in coronavirus infections among young adults

'It's a bad sign': Sweden sees renewed rise in coronavirus infections among young adults
Young people were warned to keep following social distancing recommendations. Photo: Ali Lorestani/TT
Swedish health officials warned young adults to respect coronavirus guidelines after a slight increase in new cases ended a trend of sharply falling infections.

A total of 81,967 people have to date tested positive for the coronavirus in Sweden.

Another six deaths of people who tested positive for the coronavirus were confirmed on Thursday, bringing Sweden's total death toll to 5,766. The number of intensive care cases since the start of the outbreak altogether is currently at 2,526, and 41 corona patients are currently on ventilators in intensive care.

The latter figure is down from more than 500 at the peak of the outbreak in Sweden, so in terms of serious cases the situation is looking much better than it did earlier this year. But there's also potentially bad news: after dropping sharply this summer, there has been a slight uptick in infections in the past couple of weeks.

Most of the new cases are people aged around 20-29, who usually (but not always) develop only mild symptoms. The number of new cases among elderly people, a risk group, is currently low. However, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell pointed out that the increase among young adults is still cause for concern.

“It's a bad sign, because this is how it started once upon a time and there is a clear risk that it starts to spread in that group but then spreads to other groups that could get significantly more ill,” he told the bi-weekly joint press conference held by Swedish health authorities.

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Tegnell said the Public Health Agency did not yet know what was behind the rise in infections, but it follows a similar trend in other European countries which are also seeing more new cases among young adults.

In elderly care homes, which was one of the major sources of fatalities in Sweden during the peak of the outbreak, the number of new infections is still falling. “Many elderly care homes have clearly done a very good job when it comes to improving safety from a Covid-19 perspective,” said Tegnell.

The main message at Thursday's press conference was to keep following social distancing guidelines even if you do not belong to a risk group, to break the trend and avoid spreading the infection to other people.

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