Did Sweden’s Covid-19 experiment pay off?


Sweden has one of Europe’s lowest Covid-19 death rates despite shunning most lockdown restrictions, new data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests. 

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Stockholm chose not to implement a full national lockdown during the pandemic, instead relying on “voluntary changes to behaviour”, said The Telegraph. The decision meant the nation was “deemed almost to be a rogue state” as other countries introduced wide-ranging restrictions to stem the spread of the virus. 

But according to the WHO figures, Sweden had an excess death rate of 56 per 100,000 – well below the global average of 96. By comparison, between 2020 and 2021, the UK’s excess death rate was 109, Spain’s was 111, and Germany’s was 116. 

Light-touch approach

At the beginning of the pandemic, Sweden’s public health officials argued that it would “take years” to see which approaches to combating Covid-19 would be most effective, The Telegraph reported, arguing it would be better to avoid “untested measures”. 

They also took into consideration the “collateral damage” of lockdown, such as “the missed cancer diagnoses, the cancelled hospital appointments, and the lost education”, the paper said. And the decision “appears to have been vindicated”.

Sweden relied on individual citizens’ sense of “civic duty” to protect its population, said the Daily Mail, with authorities advising the population to practise social distancing while schools, bars and restaurants remained open to the public.

Important factors

Experts have suggested that socio-demographic factors could have played a huge part in keeping down excess deaths, meaning that the policy of shunning formal lockdowns may not have worked equally as well in other countries

These factors include “having a high rate of single-person households”, therefore reducing opportunities for transmission, as well as a “low population density compared to countries such as the UK and Italy”, said the Daily Mail.

But Professor Carl Heneghan, an expert in evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, told the paper that Sweden’s decision “not to interrupt transmission entirely but to reduce the pandemic’s health impact has largely been vindicated”.

He added that although the country’s “light-touch approach” was “out of step with Europe”, it “avoided lockdowns, and the hit to their …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


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