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Has Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Failed?

Do you remember when the COVID-19 pandemic just started in China, we thought it was a local issue? And a few weeks later, the entire Europe was hit by the virus. At that time, governments with no such experience acted almost at random. Some imposed strict limitations, and some wanted to protect their citizens from becoming tired of lockdown restrictions. So has this strategy succeeded or failed? Let’s find out.

The United Kingdom and Sweden, for example, have chosen a herd immunity strategy. The UK very soon regretted the decision and imposed some restrictions. But the Swedes seemed to have coped with the pandemic.

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Has Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Failed?


Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said that forcing people to wear masks and the introduction of lockdowns would only contribute to panic. In March, about five thousand people got sick in the country. Other countries, with similar rates, instantly imposed lockdowns, while the Swedes limited it to recommendations.

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The only restriction was the ban on gatherings with more than 50 participants. There were no masks or social distancing. Back in April, local scientists tried to draw attention to the fact that in Sweden the number of cases per million of the population was higher than in Italy. However, they were accused of data falsification.

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While Denmark, Norway, and Finland were under dozens of restrictions, the Swedes lived their regular lives. And in the summer, when the first wave began to recede, it seemed that the Swedish strategy proved itself right. Although, according to official numbers, antibodies were found in only a couple of percent of the population. While according to the plan it should have been about 60–70%.

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Second Wave

In the fall, the pandemic surged again. The roots of the second wave are still unknown. Either the eased restrictions during the summer were the reason, or the virus simply mutated. The numbers are three to four times higher than those of the neighbors, who have been actively fighting the pandemic throughout the year.

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The most curious thing is that despite the situation, the authorities continue to fight the pandemic with recommendations. Although they admitted that the strategy did not prove itself right. As a result, in addition to the raging pandemic, the level of people’s trust in government has seriously dropped. Many are beginning to think that too little has been done.

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The Swedes ask why they did not have the same restrictions as in Denmark or Norway. Of course, Sweden can’t be compared in size to Denmark. And although the Swedes follow and trust the government’s recommendations, they ask why more has not been done before.

© Gettyimages

The examples of Sweden and the UK show that no matter how extreme the lockdown is, we have not yet come up with a more effective method. Besides, COVID-19 is still too new to us to face it with minimal losses.


Like many people nowadays, I love to explore new places. My favorite type is slow travelling, when you can really blend in with locals and learn about new cultures and languages. But I think there are also perfect times for enjoying freshly baked pastry, a cup of fragrant coffee, and a good movie in the comfort of your own home. I guess I'm kind of a cultural omnivore, and I watch different types of movies, but the ones about art and food inspire me the most!

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