Previous studies have reported a reduction in pediatric emergency visits for communicable diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been related to the use of face masks and school closures. As Sweden imposed less strict restrictions as compared to most countries we aimed to assess the effect of the behavioral changes, however without school closures and general usage of face masks in the society, on the spread of communicable diseases in children. We calculated cumulative incidences of pediatric emergency visits for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), gastroenteritis and as a control diagnosis urinary tract infections (UTIs) comparing 2020 with 2018-2019. Our results suggests that the behavioral changes including improved basal hygiene routines and physical distancing, had a major impact on the disease transmission of LRTIs (cumulative incidence 0.24% in 2020 versus 0.57% during 2018-2019, p<0.001) and gastroenteritis (0.26% versus 0.87%, p<0.001) in children but observed a small increase in UTIs (0.22% versus 0.20%, p=0.01). This raises the question on to what extent some of these recommendations can and should be extended in the post pandemic era.
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