Sweden’s top expert on the coronavirus has warned that encouraging people to wear face masks is “very dangerous” because it gives a false sense of security but does not effectively stem the spread of the virus.
“It is very dangerous to believe face masks would change the game when it comes to COVID-19,” said Anders Tengell, who has overseen Sweden’s response to the pandemic while resisting any form of lockdown or mask mandate.
“Face masks can be a complement to other things when other things are safely in place,” Tengell added. “But to start with having face masks and then think[ing] you can crowd your buses or your shopping malls — that’s definitely a mistake,” he further urged.
Tegnell has consistently spoken out against the use of masks, last month declaring that “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport.”
“The findings that have been produced through face masks are astonishingly weak, even though so many people around the world wear them,” Tengell has urged.
“I’m surprised that we don’t have more or better studies showing what effect masks actually have. Countries such as Spain and Belgium have made their populations wear masks but their infection numbers have still risen,” the epidemiologist also declared.
Sweden, which didn’t enforce any mandatory lockdown order, has seen its coronavirus cases and deaths slow to a trickle.
“That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” Tegnell has said, adding “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero.”
As Newsweek acknowledged earlier this month, Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate is lower than those of Spain, the UK and Italy, countries which all imposed lockdowns.
Sweden’s GDP fall of 8.6 in Q2 2020 is also significantly less severe than the 12.1 average experienced in the Eurozone, leaving the Scandinavian country in “much better shape than the rest of Europe.”