In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Sweden opted to avoid strict confinement measures in order to save its economy. However, the Scandinavian country has so far registered a significantly greater number of deaths than the countries in its environment, but it has not managed to significantly reduce the economic damage associated with covid-19, holds an article in The New York Times, which calls this result a “red flag” for other nations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, which are preparing to lift the blockades.
With a total of 5,500 deaths from covid-19, Sweden, with a population of 10 million inhabitants, has recorded 12 times more deaths per million people than Norway, seven times more than Finland, six times more than Denmark and 40% more than the US At the same time, despite letting its economy run smoothly, the Nordic country has suffered damage “almost to the same extent as its neighbors.”
In fact, Sweden’s central bank expects its economy to contract this year by 4.5%, while the unemployment rate has already risen to 9% in May from 7.1% in March. By way of comparison, the Danish central bank forecasts that its economy will decrease by 4.1% this year, while unemployment stood at 5.6% in May compared to 4.1% in March.
Norway’s central bank hastened to impose an aggressive blockade which it later relaxed as the incidence of the virus slowed and the government increased evidence that its continental economy, excluding the oil and gas sector, was to contract. 3.9% this year, which represents a notable improvement compared to the 5.5% decrease expected in the midst of confinement.
As the newspaper explains, despite the Swedish government’s decision to leave the economy open, its companies have found themselves “trapped” in the same conditions that caused the recession elsewhere, while fear of the virus caused citizens to limit their purchases, which brought down commercial activity.
In addition, the Swedish manufacturing sector “closed when everyone else closed due to the supply chain situation,” explains Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. And this was “completely predictable”, he stresses.
The “false” trade-off between lives and paychecks
Sweden’s shadowy result suggests that “the alleged tradeoff between lives and paychecks is false,” since not imposing social distancing can cost lives and jobs at the same time, the article highlights.
“They literally won nothing,” says Kirkegaard. “It is a self-inflicted injury and they have no financial gain,” she adds.
In late June, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell acknowledged that the death toll in the country “is appalling and should have been preventable.” However, the next day he criticized the WHO classification that included Sweden in its list of “11 countries and territories” where “accelerated transmission has led to a very significant resurgence” of the disease, qualifying this list as “an unfortunate one misinterpretation of data. ”