Sweden has emerged with one of Europe’s lower Covid death tolls but as the country’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, says: it will take years to know if the Swedish approach to Covid was the right one.
Sweden, controversially, was the rare bird among nations to implement few lockdown restrictions, allowing citizens, instead, to employ common sense. A not so controversial choice, Telegraph columnist Fraser Nelson concludes, for a nation where caution is an abundant inclination. He cites the Swedes’ no-fuss mindset – expressed by an almost untranslatable word, lagom, or “perfect simple” – as perhaps the reason why the Swedish Covid experiment was not such a peculiar one for a country so committed to not standing out, as a virtue. Through the lens of Sweden, argues Nelson, what would become the global response to the virus (lockdowns, suspension of civil liberties, keeping children home from school) would not wash here, where keeping calm and Swede-ing on is the rule of the day.
Without the same pandemic-related economic and social interruptions, will Sweden’s unique coronavirus strategy emerge as the example more countries should have adopted?
Nelson circles back to Tegnell’s “too early to say” position, noting that Sweden is faring better than his own country, however, on certain measures. Nelson notes a number of problems as a result of Covid disruptions for Britain: academic grade inflation, Britain’s “debt mountain” and low GDP, and hospital waiting lists at critical lengths.