Sweden’s no-lockdown strategy is beginning to look like less of an outlier, but still doesn’t compare well to other countries

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Sweden has been a closely-watched example of a country which decided to not to implement a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government said that theirs was a long-term strategy that would eventually bring better results than lockdowns, which have brought their own problems including mass unemployment.
Initially, the policy looked like a clear failure, as the virus spread faster than in comparable nations.

However, Sweden’s cases have started to decline recently, bringing them more in line with countries that did lockdown.

But on balance Sweden’s metrics are still lagging its neighbors, suggesting that their strategy has yet to redeem itself.
One expert said it would be “dangerous” to paint Sweden’s response as a success.
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Sweden’s coronavirus cases have fallen and remained down from their peak, returning it closer to comparable nations after its policy of avoiding sweeping lockdown policies had initially led to elevated deaths and infections.

However, although its numbers of daily deaths and new cases has declined from its own peak, they still compare poorly to its immediate neighbors, which took a harder line on the virus.

While most of Europe was confining citizens to their homes and closing businesses, Sweden relied on people to socially distance without drastically changing their lives.

It introduced only a handful of rules, like banning visits to nursing homes and gatherings of more than 50 people.

The logic was that a gentler approach would be more sustainable in the long-term, and avoid a dynamic whereby the virus was kept at bay only as long as the nation could withstand severe restrictions.

Initially, it did not look good — the number of Swedish people dying from the virus soared in the lax environment. Its per-capita death rate became one of the worst in the world by March, as other nations were taking desperate measures to rein in the virus.

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More than four months later, Sweden is now on a trajectory much closer to that of other European nations. Its daily new infections have now fallen from a peak the end of June, and have stayed down since.

But its current position still doesn’t look good compared to many European countries.

Sweden’s cases have only been down from their peak for just over a month.

In comparison, countries like the UK, Ireland, and Italy had their peaks earlier, in April and May, and cases have stayed down with no spikes since.

This is what Sweden looks like:

Compared to Italy:

 

The UK:

And Ireland:

Many other European countries follow the same pattern.

As well as having its decline in numbers later, Sweden also has had a less sharp decline overall.

Over the last seven days, the UK, with a population of 66 million, has seen an average of 818 new cases a day.

And Italy, with a population of 60 million, has seen an average of 208 cases a day.

While Sweden, with around 10 million people, has seen an average of 212 new cases a day.

That means Sweden’s new daily coronavirus cases are, as a proportion of population, more than 1.5 times higher than …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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