While the Covid-19 epidemic continues to drag on in the United States, it’s largely over in Sweden where fatalities have dropped to no more than 2 deaths per day for the last week.
Sweden has been harshly criticized in the media for not imposing draconian lockdowns like the United States and the other European countries. Instead, Sweden implemented a policy that was both conventional and sensible. They recommended that people maintain a safe distance between each other and they banned gatherings of 50 people or more. They also asked their elderly citizens to isolate themselves and to avoid interacting with other people as much as possible. Other than that, Swedes were encouraged to work, exercise and get on with their lives as they would normally even though the world was still in the throes of a global pandemic.
The secret of Sweden’s success is that its experts settled on a strategy that was realistic, sustainable and science-based. The intention was never to “fight” the virus which is among the most contagious infections in the last century, but to protect the old and vulnerable while allowing the young, low-risk people to circulate, contract the virus, and develop the antibodies they’d need to fight similar pathogens in the future. It’s clear now that that was the best approach. And while Sweden could still experience sporadic outbreaks that might kill another 2 to 300 people, any recurrence of the infection in the Fall or Winter will not be a dreaded “Second Wave”, but a much weaker flu-like event that will not overwhelm the public health system or kill thousands of people.
As we’ve noted before, the media has been particularly vicious in their criticism of Sweden’s approach which they’ve characterized as overly “relaxed.” Check out this sampling of recent headlines:
Sweden becomes an example of how not to handle COVID-19, CBS News
Lack of Lockdown Increased COVID-19 Deaths in Sweden, U of V Newsroom
Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale, New York Times
Sweden Stayed Open And More People Died Of Covid-19, But The Real Reason May Be Something Darker,