“Did Sweden make the right call on limiting its lockdown?”

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Editorial, The Washington Post, May 18, 2020

“SWEDEN OFFERS an appealing model to many people who are fatigued by the hardships of pandemic lockdown or who were never convinced it was entirely necessary.  The Nordic country took some measures to control the spread of the coronavirus: It banned groups larger than 50 people, called for social distancing and put older students on video learning. But it did not take a draconian approach. Schools for those under 16 remained open, as did many bars, restaurants and gyms, with social distancing. That raises the question of whether the example is worth emulating.

“In terms of illness and death, it appears Sweden has paid a higher price for its approach. As of Monday, it had suffered 3,698 deaths in a country of 10 million.  By contrast, Denmark, Norway and Finland, with a combined population of more than 16.5 million, which all imposed tighter restrictions, have seen only 1,081 deaths. Sweden has reported 364.28 deaths per million people, compared with 94.4 for Denmark, 53.7 for Finland and 42.8 for Norway.


From the land of FriLuftsliv

“What Sweden has demonstrated is the advantage of a high degree of trust in government.  People did not have to be ordered to stay at home, wash their hands and flatten the curve; they accepted the recommendations of the government and followed them.  In a public health emergency, this reflects common sense and good judgment, a contrast to the noisy demands in the United States to break free from government orders…”


“However, Sweden’s death rate remained lower than those of Britain, France, Italy and Spain, which all imposed strict lockdowns. The virus ravaged Sweden’s nursing homes, which accounted for a large portion of the deaths; the government was slow to restrict visits to them.

“What Sweden may gain by its approach, over the longer term, is a population with a greater natural immunity to the virus if there is no vaccine. To achieve a level known as herd immunity, in which the virus is largely unable to spread, two-thirds or more of the population would have to acquire protection stemming from exposure. It isn’t known if Sweden will reach that level or something less. But it might have more natural resiliency against a second wave. Nations that took drastic measures to protect people at the outset will be left with populations that are more susceptible. But if a vaccine is found relatively soon, it will provide immunity with a far lower cost in lives.

“What Sweden has demonstrated is the advantage of a high degree of trust in government. People did not have to be ordered to stay at home, wash their hands and flatten the curve; they accepted the recommendations of the government and followed them. In a public health emergency, this reflects common sense and good judgment, a contrast to the noisy demands in the United States to break free from government orders…”


We provide this link to the article in The Washington Post , but do not try to make the whole article ours.  It does not belong to us. We only give you a flavour of it, so you can make up your own mind if you like and want to support the award-winning journalism behind it, like we do. Of course, we do not or could support all the points made in any article we highlight, but that is part of living in democracy.  We believe the material is relevant to all and is necessary for their personal judgments.


 

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