DRW and Coronavirus – 23 March 2020

A report on the present situation by Jamie Bolling

Coronavirus disease – COVID-19 is a world pandemic and crisis for all countries. This both as the healthcare systems are overloaded and people are dying. We are also in a world economic crisis to which we do not see the end nor grasp the results.

What is a Pandemic?

An epidemic that spreads across the world – Pan is the world. The COVID-19 is a virus not a bacterium, which is very contagious and can be deadly. It is spreading in Sweden, especially in Stockholm. The Swedish Prime minister spoke to the Swedish people yesterday describing the seriousness of this crisis and the responsibility we bare – all of us together. Making the best of this situation depends on all of us together taking our own responsibility to protect ourselves as well as others. Daily there are press meetings at 14:00 to spread information and decisions from the government and at 20:00 on the TV there is a program describing the virus and the world situation. 


The symptoms of COVID-19 are like a normal flu with high fever – tiredness, sore throat, runny nose, cough, but the fever lasts longer and is high! Another difference is that the virus attacks the lungs and locates itself deeply in the lungs making breathing difficult. Some people get pneumonia. Most people get a light case of COVID-19 but there is a larger press on the Swedish health care system with many people needing intensive care at the same time. Some people have died, as of today 25 persons on Friday the total was 16 persons. These were mostly elderly persons. 

Elderly are the highest risk group but even others with breathing complications are a part of the high-risk group. People like me and Adolf, who have breathing complications belong to the high-risk group and have stayed in now for weeks not wanting to get sick. 

Those of us in the high-risk group need to be careful. 

The disease started with people coming home to Sweden from skiing vacations in Italy. In Italy many people are sick, and many have died. The virus is still spreading. Italy has been hit hard with 59138 people being sick and 5476 people who have died. This information is not to scare people but for us to know that we are talking about something very serious. 

The Corona – COVID-19 is spreading swiftly within Sweden, in the last week 912 persons have gotten sick.  The authorities are trying to slow the pace of the spreading of the disease so not too many people are sick at the same time this as COVID-19 spreads quickly there is a risk of having too many persons in the hospital. Within the normal services in Sweden there are about 600 beds for intensive care. This is being raised by constructing temporary hospitals around the country. In Stockholm there will be temporary hospital in Alvsjö for example. 

Due to this crisis precautions are being taken. 

There are cancellations of operations considered not being life threatening. We have both Elias and Sara among the DRW participants’ whose surgeries were canceled due to Corona. There is a closing down of some workplaces. There is a limit of 500 persons at events. Many events have been canceled like Eurovision and the World Cup final in Football. Theaters, plays, air transport are also being canceled. Universities and gymnasiums are closed. So far, the schools for younger children are open. The schools are kept open so that parents have somewhere for their children to be so they can for example work in the hospitals. 

EU and Sweden have closed the borders so people from outside of Europe cannot come into Europe. Sooz our colleague is stuck in Ecuador where Sooz and family have been on vacation. Surrounding countries are also closing borders. Many people have come home from other countries, but some people are stuck and do not know when they will be able to come home. 

The Swedish health authorities are telling people to:

  Stay home if you are sick! 

  Work from home if you can.

  After you go out – Wash your hands. Wash them well – for at least 30 seconds.

➔  Wash your hands often. Don’t touch your face. 

  Avoid meeting older persons who are among the high-risk group. 

  The elderly is to stay home and to limit contact with other persons.  

The isolation is to keep the virus from spreading too quickly – otherwise the health system can become overloaded. Information says that we will all probably get the virus, but together we need to keep the number of people getting sick at the same time down

The government has asked people not to travel from one part of the country to the next. 

There is a worry for Easter which is on its way and a time when people travel for vacation. People travel to ski, visit family and for other reasons. There is a risk to spread the disease from one part of Sweden to another part. There is a risk when many people meet by going to the stores, going to discotheques, riding the ski lifts. The government is considering how to deal with this. To prohibit travel is not appropriate in the Swedish culture so it has not been discouraged as of yet. But the government is warning people and encouraging people not to put themselves and others in danger by traveling. The medical systems can be strained if many people are for example in the north and then they cannot get the care needed. Transport from tourist areas is problematic when there is no transport. So, we are to think twice before going too far! 

The situation in the world is difficult.

Italy has prolonged its quarantine and is to prohibit people from being outside at all. In Germany people can only meet one other person at a time when outside. France has a quarantine with over 16 000 cases declared and 674 deaths. The situation is getting worse in the USA with 33276 cases and 417 who have died. 

There is some good news:  there are no new cases in China since the 22th of March. The country is starting to go back to normal. Japan has opened the schools again. In Italy the percent of people getting well is rising. 

For more information in other languages: 

Folkhälsomyndigheten website: https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/…/information-pa-minor…/ 

and on Swedish radio: https://sverigesradio.se/newsinotherlanguages 


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