Sweden

By April 12, 2020 Commentary

Sweden is an interesting test case for what I would view as a more rational and balanced approach to the coronavirus epidemic, and one that will prove to have been correct in the long run, given the likely trajectory of the epidemic.  This story will give you a fair amount of background to the country’s approach.  (Sweden Story)   Of particular note is that Sweden has not forced businesses to close or schools.  It has strongly encouraged at-risk groups to isolate.  So far, most people in the country appear to accept the approach.  And it is highly likely that Sweden will slow the transmission of the virus in its population, due to higher rates of immunity, faster than will other countries, so it will face an end to the crisis sooner as well.  Meanwhile, it has limited job loss and economic damage.  If you look at the Worldometers site, Sweden has middling test rate and a fairly common positive test ratio.  It currently has somewhat over 10,000 cases and a per capita death rate that is higher than the US, for example, but much lower than an Italy or Germany.  But raw death numbers and per capita rates are misleading if you believe the epidemic has a lengthy trajectory.  Per capita rates can only go up, and there is plenty of time for countries with more aggressive mitigation of spread strategies to catch up.  Sweden’s approach may have front-loaded infections and deaths.  It is a good thing to have countries that are willing to adopt a different approach than the herd mentality that prevails in most of the world, just as we are fortunate to have a few governors in the United States who were willing to buck the trend. This will allow us to learn whether these extreme lockdowns were really necessary.

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