Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnall is in hot water over a statement made about Italy’s handling of COVID-19.
He was reported as saying, “We had really thought that in a modern, wealthy society in Sweden we should be able to protect our elderly. [We thought that] it didn’t need to be as it appeared in China, and perhaps even Italy, where they have less resources for this, but that we should as a society be able to manage this better.”
The Italian ambassador, Mario Cospito, fired back at this statement, citing the World Health Organization’s ranking of Italy’s healthcare system as second in the world.
Cospito went on to explain that in addition to Italy’s public health system ‘there is a comprehensive structure of private hospitals and clinics ready to move in to offer support.” He continued by saying Sweden had plenty of warning before hand unlike Italy which was hit early on in the pandemic.
Sweden has faced harsh criticism abroad and at home over how officials have handled this pandemic. The country has yet to put any lockdown measures into place and they have one of the highest death rates of COVID-19 among the Nordic countries. Meanwhile, an investigation is underway after Swedish healthcare officials raised the alarm over uncertain rules and improper care of patients in need of intensive treatment.
Italy has not been immune to similar criticisms over patient care. With the third-highest death toll reported, the country is facing its own investigations into reports of neglect and disregard for hygiene guidelines.
Across the world, countries are struggling to overcome this deadly virus. Cospito said it best when he said the pandemic is not a sports match with a winning and losing team. This crisis is a universal fight for everyone’s health and safety.