A Swedish professor of epidemiology stopped researching COVID-19 after facing a strong backlash over his findings that the disease poses a low threat to children, undermining the political argument that schools cannot reopen.
Jonas Ludvigsson, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute, said he has lost sleep as a result of the “angry messages via social media and email” that assaulted his study and blamed him in part on the contrary strategy of the COVID-19 from Sweden, College Fix. reported.
His research focused on children ages 1 to 16 during the first wave of the pandemic last spring, including those with “laboratory verified or clinically verified COVID-19, including patients who were admitted for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children” because it is “probable” related to the error.
Only 15 children went to the ICU, a rate of 0.77 per 100,000, according to the report. Four had “an underlying chronic coexisting condition” and none died.
As for teachers, “less than” 30 ended up in the ICU during the same period, a rate of around 19 per 100,000.
Ludvigsson also noted that the children did not wear face masks, while the rest of the Swedish citizens were simply “encouraged” to practice social distancing.
Now, due to the backlash Ludvigsson faced over his research, Sweden plans to push forward protections for academic freedom in law, according to College Fix.
Higher Education Minister Matilda Ernkrans told the British Medical Journal that the government plans to amend the Higher Education Act to ensure “that education and research must be protected to allow people to freely discover, research and share knowledge.”
The president of the Karolinska Institute, Ole Petter Ottersen, told the magazine that “hateful and contemptuous accusations and personal attacks cannot be tolerated,” either against the pediatrician or against other researchers who “have withdrawn.”[ed] of public debate after being threatened or harassed. “
Ludvigsson said his letter to the editor, which was published in the Feb. 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, had undergone several reviews and a “formal external peer review,” including statistically.