Lockdown apologists have been crowing about Swedes “admitting their approach was wrong on Covid-19”.
The only problem is, as usual, they’re not basing their conclusions on real evidence. Reports from The Guardian and New York Times, two former newspapers (each as biased as epidemiological modelling from the London Institute), kind of admitted Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist made no such admission.
Sweden, among others, has been held up by lockdown opponents like me as rational lovers of liberty and life (yes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time). Their approach relied on voluntary action, physical distancing and vigilant personal hygiene – all pretty much common sense. They didn’t plunge their nation into economic catastrophe or generational debt which inevitably costs society in many more ways than just economically, and including health.
They also didn’t assume an authority to transgress God-given freedoms such as movement, trade, and religion. They implemented modest, not so repressive measures to allow the virus to spread slowly. Gatherings were limited to 50, table service at restaurants was free but not at the bar, education was left open for under 16s. They asked people to physically distance instead of turning the police against them if they didn’t and to stay home if unwell instead of banning “non-essential” work. Is your job and income “non-essential” to your family?
Allowing the virus to spread slowly through a healthy population avoided overwhelming the health system and this should cause immunity to rise to protect from the probable second wave of infection, potentially more lethal. Of course, people have already died at a rate higher than comparable, neighbouring nations where healthy people were quarantined. But Sweden’s death rate per capita is still lower than the UK, Italy and France which all vandalised their liberty and economy.
Sweden’s government expert, Dr Anders Tegnell is an epidemic veteran. He was sent to the Congo in 1995 to help respond to the Ebola outbreak. He says, “We know that trying to scare people is not a good way forward when you want something. You need to inform people and give them a good background to make their own informed choices.”
The Victorian Chief Medical Officer admitted his dictated restrictions were “somewhat arbitrary” and the Queensland Chief Medical Officer likewise gave us insight that shutting schools down was just to scare us. She admitted the evidence supported the opposite to the advice she gave: “schools were not a high-risk environment for the spread of the virus”.
Morally-superior lockdown apologists were outraged people could be so “selfish” as to “risk other people’s lives” by going to the beach and not physically distancing enough to satisfy them. So beaches were closed too, even though the evidence is coronavirus has a mere half-life of 90 seconds in the sun.
But in Sweden the people are free and happy; their jobs and society are safe, and so is their health system.
Inconveniently for the folks who think amputating a limb to cure chickenpox is what we should do if “government experts” say so, Dr Tegnell is still insisting that the country generally had a good strategy for fighting the virus after his previous comments had been wildly exaggerated by various outlets and social media endorphin-junkies.
According to Radio Sweden, Tegnell said his comments had been overinterpreted.
“There’s a news story going around today that I and the health agency think that the strategy we’ve had to fight corona was wrong and that we would change it drastically. But that’s not the case at all.
“We still think the strategy’s good in general, but there’s always things that you can improve, especially with hindsight. I think it’d be strange to answer the question in any other way. You can always be better in this line of work.”