In April, the country banned visits to nursing homes, limited the capacity of restaurants and bars, and there had to be a gap of at least two meters between the tables. The gatherings were for a maximum of fifty people, the number of customers in stores was also limited, but otherwise it was mainly a recommendation. Schools have only closed to pupils over the age of sixteen. However, a nationwide quarantine was never announced.
This is how the Scandinavian country differed from the response to the coronavirus pandemic in other countries. The Swedish government has made it clear that people should follow the recommendations in order to “protect their health and the health of others”. The Swedes trusted the government and experts to a large extent, so any penalties for non-compliance were not needed, writes server National Review.
According to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), the Scandinavian country has risen in number over the past fortnight positive cases of the disease per hundred thousand inhabitants was around 30 (more precisely 30.4), ie significantly less than the states that imposed a national quarantine. For comparison, in the same statistics, Spain has the worst numbers (281.6 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants), France (162.8), the Czech Republic (129.4), Belgium (75.7) and the United Kingdom also have a higher proportion of those infected. (55.6).
According to the newspaper, Swedish intensive care units are currently in full swing The Guardian thirteen patients, the cumulative mortality per hundred thousand inhabitants in the last fourteen days is then at the limit of 0.2, in the last week it is close to zero (in the Czech Republic the fortnightly value according to ECDC is 0.5). “The disease has not reappeared to the same extent as in other countries,” The Guardian was quoted as saying by Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist. “In the end, we’ll see how big the differences are between strategies, one of which is more sustainable and can be applied for a long time, and the other means that you keep closing and opening up,” Tegnell added.
But the numbers for the whole pandemic period are not so favorable for Sweden. In terms of the number of positive tests per million inhabitants (8638) and victims per million inhabitants (579), Sweden ranks 34th and 13th, respectively, in the world. For comparison, the other Scandinavian countries are much better off, with Denmark 88th, Norway 106th and Finland 115. In the number of victims per million population, Denmark 60th, Finland 78th and Norway 87.
In Sweden, a total of 5,860 people died of covid-19, almost half of whom were nursing home residents, states France 24. The government thus heard criticism from survivors and experts. “Tegnell is known for his stubbornness. I wonder what it would look like with another responsible person, ” they quote The Financial Times criticized Tegnell’s strategy as one of the Swedish epidemiologists. The foreign media was even tougher, with The New York Times calling Sweden an “outcast state” and a “warning example to the world.”
Tegnell believes that Sweden’s main goal was not to plunder the entire population, but argues that the immunity gained from exposure to the virus is at least partly responsible for the recent sharp decline in new cases, The Financial Times writes. The main epidemiologist is the opponent of area quarantine. “It’s like trying to kill a fly with a hammer,” says Tegnell. “You can’t open and close schools all the time. It will be a disaster. And you probably won’t be able to open and close restaurants and things like that too often. Once or twice, yes, but then people get very tired, poison them, and businesses are more likely to suffer than if you shut them down completely, ”he explains.
According to Tegnell, schools must be seen not only as a place where the virus could spread, but also as the most important part of a young person’s health. “If you succeed in school, you will have a good life. If not, your life will be much worse. You will live a shorter time. You will be poorer. Of course, everyone will think about that when they start talking about closing schools, “he adds. Likewise, the epidemiologist criticizes the introduction of drapes. “Veils are an easy solution and I don’t really trust easy solutions to complex problems,” he explains.
Sweden’s approach to a pandemic is unusual in large part because management is unusual. Unlike most other countries, it is not politicians who make big decisions here, but the Swedish Public Health Agency, because the constitution gives the independent bodies great powers. In practice, this means that big fundamental decisions are made by Tegnell. “This whole approach is Tegnell’s. The government accepted it without any questions, “comments one of the epidemiologists critical of the main epidemiologist.
Experts warn that it is too early to draw conclusions or cite Sweden as a role model, whether positive or negative. “Two months ago, it was wrong to condemn the Swedish strategy, and it would be just as wrong to draw the opposite conclusion now.” writes in the Financial Times commentator Wolfgang Münchau. “It took many years for epidemiologists and biostatists to understand the infectivity and development of SARS in 2003. This time it will be no different,” he added.