Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The scene in central Stockholm in May during the pandemic. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Sweden recorded its highest death tally since 1869 in the first half of 2020 — and COVID-19 pushed the toll 10% higher than the average for the period over the past five years.

Why it matters: The figures released by government agency Statistics Sweden Wednesday showing 51,405 people died from January to June coincide with the country taking a more relaxed approach to the pandemic. Schools and businesses have remained open and the nation took a "herd immunity" approach.

The big picture: Statistics Sweden announced the findings in a statement confirming the country recorded its lowest population increase since 2005.

  • "The low population growth is the result of a substantial drop in immigration and a higher number of deaths during the coronavirus pandemic," Statistics Sweden said in a statement.

Of note: A study published in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine on Tuesday that examined infection rates in Sweden compared to other countries found it "continued persistence of higher infection and mortality ... well beyond the few critical weeks period seen in Denmark, Finland and Norway, whose rapid lockdown measures seem to have been initially more successful in curtailing the infection surge."

  • Epidemiologists estimated that about 70% of the population attaining immunity "should be enough to achieve herd immunity," per the study. It was believed Sweden could hit 40% by May, but only about 15% has had the virus.

The bottom line: Per the study, "Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden's prized herd immunity is nowhere in sight."

Go deeper

11 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus surge threatens to shut classrooms down again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The nationwide surge in coronavirus cases is forcing many school districts to pull back from in-person instruction.

Why it matters: Remote learning is a burden on parents, teachers and students. But the wave of new infections, and its strain on some hospitals' capacity, makes all forms of reopening harder to justify.

Oct 29, 2020 - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president"

Michael Caputo. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In September, Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo privately pitched one branch of the agency's $250 million coronavirus ad campaign with the theme: "Helping the President will Help the Country," according to documents released by House Democrats on the Oversight Committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: These are the latest documents that suggest the deep politicization of the Trump administration's coronavirus response.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!