Sweden the Unconquered, the Unbowed, the Unafraid: Who Thought These PC Enthusiasts Would Be the Last Ones Standing?

Hats off to Sweden, maybe we've been wrong about you all along

These soy-boys have balls of steel!

Sweden has become a global outlier in its approach to stopping the coronavirus.Rather than imposing a lockdown like most of Europe, the country has avoided “draconian” regulations, telling its people to follow social distancing, only order food at restaurants via table service, and work from home if they can.

At first, it may look like Sweden is taking the lax approach to curbing the virus that the UK hastily abandoned on Monday. But in a country famed for its world-leading public policy, local experts think the more lax approach could still have potential.

Here’s why Sweden is the largest country with the few limits during the outbreak, and why its government believes it will pay off.


Under guidance issued by Sweden’s Public Health Agency, Sweden will permit restaurants, bars and primary schools to remain open, with gatherings of 500 people or more still allowed to take place. Primary schools remain open, while secondary schools and universities have shut.

Everyone in Sweden is urged to stay at home if they are at all sick (even a mild cough or sore throat), avoid non-essential travel within the country, work from home if possible, and avoid non-essential visits to elderly people or hospitals.

The health agency, Folkhalsomyndigheten, believes this approach to social distancing will result in “a slow spread of infection, and that the health services have a reasonable workload”.

On Monday, Sweden’s former state epidemiologist and current advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Johan Giesecke went as far as to tell Swedes to go out and enjoy the spring sun.

Saying “banning public gatherings is an idiotic idea”, he told members of the public to “bring a friend and walk a metre apart”.

“Don’t hug your neighbour. Bring a thermos and sit on a park bench. It’s bad for your health to sit at home too,” Giesecke told broadcaster SVT’s morning show.


The approach may seem anxiety-inducing to Brits who have seen the death rate in the UK rise following government attempts to avoid lockdown.

But Sweden believes it could see a slow and steady increase in cases, without overwhelming its health system, relying on public faith in its health agency, and its citizens’ compliance.

Sweden’s Public Health Agency has a unique vantage point. Unlike in other countries, Sweden has an ingrained trust in the Folkhalsomyndigheten, as it is politically independent from the government. Ministers cannot interfere with its day to day running, with agency freedom enshrined in the Swedish constitution. “We’re seeing that tradition at work right now,” historian in Swedish policy Lars Trägård told Foreign Policy.

“Since the Public Health Agency is tasked with being the leading authority on the coronavirus crisis, the prime minister and his government are expected to listen to and follow their advice.” [This sounds like in Sweden the response is more de-politicized. This is what you get when decisions are made by people who aren’t facing re-election and feckless opposition ready to ramp up hysteria as a path to power, and who don’t have much to gain by ramping it up themselves. Either that or the Swedes are just a lot smarter than the rest of us.]

Early statistics work in the agency’s favour, with Sweden’s number of deaths substantially lower than in the UK.

A total of 2,272 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus by 2pm on Tuesday in Sweden, with 36 deaths, averaging an age of 82, according to the public health agency’s latest update.

Comparatively, 8,077 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, with 422 deaths recorded. By the time the UK reached 1,500 cases, 55 deaths had been recorded.

Vikings can be smart


As the agency places its bets, other experts are outraged by the risky approach.

The Journal of the Swedish Medical Association has published a highly critical paper on the government’s approach, saying that it had missed the chance to halt the coronavirus.

Fredrik Elgh, a virology professor at Umeå University, is one of several professors who said he was “deeply concerned” by the government’s laissez-faire approach.

“I’d rather Stockholm was quarantined,” told state broadcaster SVT.

“We are almost the only country in the world not doing everything we can to curb the infection. This is bloody serious.”


What makes the approach even more controversial is that only time will tell if it is working.

The agency has also refused to make public risk assessments or prediction models for the spread of the virus, saying it “no longer has time to wait for the test results”.

Karin Tegmark Wisell, a microbiologist with the body, said: “We have to work faster and go one step beyond the tests. We recommend that all patients with symptoms limit their social contacts.”

Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, say the virus will be scheduled to calm down in May, but is likely to return in the autumn.

By then, experts will be able to find out whether coronavirus could be stopped either by “herd immunity, or a combination of immunity and vaccination,” Anders Tegnell told The Guardian. “It’s basically the same thing.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is urging Swedes to “take responsibility” and play their part in minimising the risk.

“There are a few crucial moments in life when you have to make sacrifices, not only for your own sake but also in order to take responsibility for the people around you, for your fellow human beings, and for our country,” he said in a televised speech on Sunday.

“That moment is now. That day is here. And that duty belongs to everyone.”

Source: INews

  1. JustPassingThrough says

    Sweden has been wrong before.
    All one has to do is ask how it’s female population is handling the influx of animals that are used to copulating with goats.
    All one has to do is ask its old folks why they’ve been dumped out of their lodgings in favor of some boat people.
    All one has to do is ask about Julian Assange.
    Or about Greta and her family.
    Did they ever find that submarine?


    The votes ain’t in yet.
    And they’ve been wrong so often that i wouldn’t bet a glass of Akvavit on their insights.

    1. Rowdy-Yates says

      So true. A nation who can ;produce this creature is abnormal

      1. CHUCKMAN says

        While she looks like charming Pippi Longstocking in some photos, when she speaks she reminds me of sometimes of Donald Trump, both her tone and expression.

        1. Rowdy-Yates says

          The similarity is in the eyes. Both have that Autistic looking angry eyes. Nothing wrong with Autism but it is not a mental issue to have for a leader or a spokesman.

      2. Mikhail Garchenko says

        …same for you, another idiot.

        1. Rowdy-Yates says

          Stop being so bitter. you do not know what I look like making your statement meaningless and emotionally unstable

    2. Mikhail Garchenko says

      “greta” IS JUST “greta”, NOT Sweden. Idiot.

      1. JustPassingThrough says

        hopefully your brain is bigger than your mouth, but i doubt it. you can read can’t you?

        “In May 2018, Rentzhog and Olsson of We Don’t Have Time became chairman and board member of a think-tank called Global Utmaning (Global Challenge). Its founder, Kristina Persson, is an heir to an industrial fortune. She is a career trade unionist and a Social Democrat politician going back to the party’s golden age under Ol of Palme. She is also an ex-deputy governor of Sweden’s central bank and a New Ager who has discussed her reincarnations and communication
        with the dead. Between 2014 and 2016, Persson served as “Minister for the Future” in the Social Democratic government of Stefan Lofven.

        Petter Skogar, president of Sweden’s biggest employer’s association, is on Global Challenge’s ten-person board. So is Johan Lindholm, chairman of the Union of Construction Workers and member of the Social Democrats’ executive board. So is Anders Wijkman, president of the Club of Rome, chair of the Environmental Objectives Council, and a recipient in February 2018 of Bo Thorén’s call for youth mobilisation. So is Catherina Nystedt Ringborg, former CEO of Swedish Water, advisor at the International Energy Agency, and former vice-president at Swedish-Swiss energy giant ABB.”

    3. isaac says


    4. Digby says

      They’ve also made the decision to go cashless in a few years. I find this a monstrosity (e.g. cash-payments can be done without electricity, unlike card- or mobile phone-payments), but then again make of it what you will.

  2. Rowdy-Yates says

    It makes sense as to the spread of the disease. To force people into confinement means that those who are infected spread the disease among those they live with. Forced confinement takes the disease to every place across the nation.

    for example if a person who got infected at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and had plans to spend a week at a beach resort or stay in a hotel, had to check out and go back to his family say in Wisconsin where he infects these people who have never been exposed. That would be one example of taking the contagion to every part of the nation.

    When complete shutdown took place that included the infected.

    The complete shutdown of America’s economy deals with bigger issues than the virus. All the political and economic problems are now under control. In France Macron finally controlled the 2 year long Yellow vest protests. In India Modi finally controlled the rising nation wide protests over the anti Muslim CAA law and the annexation of Kashmir.

    Maybe Sweden already had control over major issues. The Swedes are very politically correct and barely exert any protests against the government.

    1. pogohere says

      What does this mean: “All the political and economic problems are now under control.” ?

  3. Vijay Vallamudi says

    There are two things one has to keep in mind about ANY outbreak.

    The natural mortality rate – the number of people (and demographics/health status) of the people who die even when access to standard healthcare is available vs the number infected.

    The number of necessary hospitalizations to ensure lower mortality and as importantly the hospitalization rate and spare capacity.

    Even if the natural mortality rate is 0, but the hospitalization rate zooms up to overwhelm spare capacity, the effective mortality rate – which now includes people who die because they are not able to receive standard healthcare – would go up.

    So endlessly discussing how much or how little the COVID-19 mortality is without considering whether this depends on hospitalization rate and spare capacity is useless.

    With COVID-19 in New York City (which has a large data set) approx 20% of cases are hospitalized. Even if say 10% of this could be avoided by staying at home – that’s still 10%. If the case load grows extreme and capacity is breached with hospitals get clogged up (average time using ventilators is apparently 2 weeks or more), then effective mortality rate of a normally 100% treatable disease will go up.

    And indeed in every cluster (Wuhan, Qom, Teheran, Lombardy, New York City) the danger has been capacity being overwhelmed leading to poorer health outcomes including death. And this impacts not just COVID-19 cases but ALL cases, since to increase capacity, ALL cases have to prioritized (eg in NYC elective surgeries have been indefinitely postponed including tonsillitis and so on.)

    Perhaps Sweden has calculated the hospitalization rate will not overwhelm its spare capacity and decided that they will take their chance with herd immunity and let those who will die, die.

  4. CHUCKMAN says

    Really interesting.

  5. Mikhail Garchenko says

    For all the “lucid detractors” from Sweden, I ask that TRY TO THINK A BIT, no more than this, “if you can do it”… 😉

  6. Charles Homer says

    Here is a fascinating look at one of the unintended consequences of the imposition of various controls on the population of the United States thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic:


    This is yet another unintended consequence like the hoarding of toilet paper that results from governments trying control their citizens by instilling fear.

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