As Delta Variant Surges Throughout the Globe, Sweden Downplays Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic | Laissez-Passer
As Delta Variant Surges Throughout the Globe, Sweden Downplays Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic
Recently, the latest COVID-19 news about Sweden is that the country now has zero new cases while death, if any has been limited to single digits. However, many health experts believe that the numbers are merely being downplayed. After all, it was only in April 2021 that the country adopted lockdown measures in order to arrest the worsening health crisis.
How Sweden’s Lack of Hard Health Measures Failed
In March 2020, when nearly all countries across the globe went into nationwide lockdown, Swedish health authorities decided against lockdown implementations and the wearing of face masks as personal protection. Unsurprisingly, the strategy did not pay off because after a year and a half, the country’s coronavirus death rate was several times higher than its neighboring countries. When compared to the UK’s infection rate of 9.4 and to Italy’s 7.4 out of every 100, Sweden had around 11 cases of infection out of every 100 individuals.
As the spread of the disease is exponential, the lax health measures resulted to a mortality rate measured at 145 coronavirus deaths for every 100,000 Swedish residents. In comparison to its neighbors, the country’s mortality rate was thrice more than Denmark, ten times more than Norway, and eight times more than Finland.
Experts believed that had they implemented tighter rules early on, the coronavirus death toll might have been similar to their neighboring countries. Associate professor at Karolinka’s Institute Claudia Hanson mentioned that the health authorities have underestimated the mortality.
Daily lives in Sweden didn’t change much during 2020 even as coronavirus cases increased, school classes were held in-person, bars were open, and people walked around without masks. Swedish philosopher Mirko Farina mentioned that if there is one advantage in the country’s approach is that people felt less anxious, to which depression, and stress was not a major concern among citizens.
As a matter of fact, Sweden remained in the 2020 list of world;s happiest countries, as cited in the recent World Happiness Report.
As Sweden’s Economy Fell Just the Same, Swedish Scientists and Researchers Made Stronger Calls for Lockdowns
April to June 2020 saw Sweden’s economy going down by 8.6% which was considered the country’s largest quarterly fall in the past 40 years. Again in comparison during the same time frame, Denmark’s economy shrank by 7.4%, Norway by 5.1%, and Finland by 3.2%. The country’s unemployment rate last year soared by 6.6% while Denmark, Finland, and Norway all experienced unemployment rate hikes by only around one percentage point.
As early as April 2020, Swedish scientists have called for revisions in the country’s strategy, while an open letter from 2,000 experts voiced disapproval on the government’s decision not to implement a nationwide lockdown. Moreover, un June 2020, 23 Swedish researchers and doctors publicly questioned Sweden’s no mask policy. Eventually, it was only after the daily coronavirus cases, death rates, and numbers of hospitalizations soared that the Swedish government mandated the closure of non-essential public spaces and recommended the wearing of face masks in public transport.
In April 2021, in a public broadcast via SVT, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden criticized the anti-lockdown approach, calling the death rates in the country as terrible. The King stated that the manner by which the pandemic was handled by the government had caused tremendous suffering to many people. Mainly because for more than a year Swedish citizens relied on voluntary health safety measures, whilst hoping that herd immunity will eventually alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 virus.