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As Umeå Coronavirus Curve “Levels Off”, Government Urges Against Summer Travel Abroad

A Västerbotten official says that the graph showing the coronavirus’ burden on the health care system is leveling off.

ÅLIDHEM – A spokesperson for Västerbotten County, Per Strömbo, said today that “the curve is leveling off somewhat” of the number of people in the hospital and intensive care in the region. The number in intensive care dropped today, as it has continuously for 10 days, from a high of 13 on April 28 to the current total of seven. The number hospitalized went up by three in the last day to 19, but it otherwise had also been dropping continuously from May 1 to yesterday. No deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, and the total number of confirmed infections in Västerbotten rose by seven to 357.

Strömbo, speaking to Västerbottens-Kuriren, nonetheless said that “now it is important to hold on, and hold out (hålla i och hålla ut)”, and stressed that the total number of confirmed infections is not the same as the total number of infections, because many people who have the virus do not seek health care and are thus not tested for it.

Just 10 days ago — when the number in intensive care was at its highest — Västerbotten’s senior doctor Anders Johansson said he expected the virus curve would peak in early June. He showed a graph depicting the number in intensive care to be rising constantly until next month.

Västerbotten senior doctor Anders Johansson shows a chart this afternoon with expected coronavirus intensive care patients over time. -Umeå Today
Västerbotten senior doctor Anders Johansson shows a chart on April 28, of expected coronavirus intensive care patients over time. Real-life statistics have not matched this curve. -Umeå Today

About two weeks before that, Västerbotten officials predicted that the peak would be in mid-May. The “peak” is defined as the highest burden that the pandemic would be putting on the health care system. National data is now beginning to suggest that Sweden is past a peak, as the large majority of Swedish counties — and above all, Stockholm — have been seeing a decrease over the past days in the relative number of coronavirus patients in intensive care. Sweden’s public health agency said at the end of last month that the disease may have already past its peak in Stockholm.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister warns that residents should not book overseas holidays this summer.

Despite evidence that coronavirus is passing its peak in the country, the national government is taking a cautious stance on the question of whether Swedish residents should avoid unnecessary travel abroad this summer. Speaking to SVT television, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that “people will definitely not be free to travel after June 15.” She was not able to say “exactly how long” the recommendation would last.

“Everyone wants it to end as soon as possible,” she said, adding: “We will not wait until June 15. We will give a new recommendation far in advance.”

Linde’s argument against foreign travel is not based on a fear that Swedish residents will become infected abroad. Rather, the federal government is not sure that it will be able to find ways to bring travelers back, particularly from places where infections are still common.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. -Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet Publicera

“In March, 50 thousand Swedes said they wanted to return home,” she said, “and right now, about 1000 to 1500 say they want to.”

“The Gambia is the only country left from which we haven’t been able to bring Swedes home.”

Asked whether Swedish residents should book summer holidays abroad, Linde replied, “I personally wouldn’t do it.”

Prominent Swedish poet and playwright Kristina Lugn, who led a literary festival in Umeå’s Capital of Culture year, was found dead today.

Kristina Lugn, a poet, playwright, and member of the Swedish Academy, was found dead in her home today.

She published over a dozen collections of poetry and more than 20 plays, a number of which were performed at Stockholm’s prominent Royal Dramatic Theatre and the Stockholm City Theatre. Lugn’s works were known for their sarcasm and black humor, and dealt with themes such as loneliness and death.

Lugn hosted Umeå’s Littfest literary festival in 2014, when the international spotlight was on the city as Europe’s Capital of Culture. Among the guests were other Swedish Academy members poet Katarina Frostenson, novelist Kerstin Ekman, and Umeå University-educated writer Torgny Lindgren. One of the themes of the festival was Sami activism, and Sami artist Anders Sunna and anonymous Sami street art-activist group Suohpanterror participated.

In 2010, Umeå cultural and media studies doctoral student Ann-Helén Andersson defended her dissertation about Kristina Lugn, entitled Jag är baserad på verkliga personer”: Ironi och röstgivande i Kristina Lugns författarskap (“I am based on real people”: irony and voice-giving in Kristina Lugn’s writings).

In her final poetry collection in 2003, Lugn wrote about her own death:

Jag vill inte träffa jourhavande medmänniska, jag vill inte tala med akutteamet och krisgruppen. Jag vill att Mörkrets Furste ska komma och underteckna mitt sista frånvarointyg.

I do not want to meet fellow human beings who are on duty; I do not want to speak with emergency and crisis teams. I want the Dark Prince to come, and sign my last certificate of absence.

Lugn was 71 years old.

Oxbron bridge, to Gröna Oxen Island, will be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

The City of Umeå has announced that the bridge known as Oxbron, from Böleäng to Gröna Oxen Island in the Ume River, will be closed at the beginning of next week between the hours of 7 AM and 4 PM. Umeå Energi is planning to lay down new electrical and broadband wiring underneath the bridge.

Visitors can still access Gröna Oxen by using the bridge to the neighboring Island of Grytan and then crossing by a causeway to the east.

Oxbron bridge, on the left, with the alternate access to Gröna Oxen Island on the right. -Google Maps


  1. Lars-Erik Edlund Lars-Erik Edlund Saturday, May 9, 2020

    I’m so impressed, reading these news every day, well written and well edited. Thanks

    • Erik Campano Erik Campano Post author | Saturday, May 9, 2020

      Thank you for your kind words, and for your readership. Please let us know if you have any feedback, or particular stories you’d like us to cover.
      -Erik, Publisher

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