COVID-19: Unhappy Swedes

Sweden’s experiment isn’t going very well.

It is simplistic to portray government actions such as quarantines as the cause of economic damage. The real culprit is the virus itself.

7 responses to “COVID-19: Unhappy Swedes

  1. For those who can’t access the New York Times page:
    http://archive.is/1fmXR

  2. Ignorant Guy

    As always it’s not so simple but irritatingly complicated.
    Sweden has indeed seen lots of cases and lots of deaths from covid-19. But a disproportionally large part of the death toll and infections has been in Stockholm. Most of the rest of the country have rather low infection and death rates. And in Stockholm there are two specific group that has been hardest hit: People in care homes for elderly and immigrants from outside EU. Care homes have been hit because of an old story of mismanagement. Immigrants have been hit because Sweden has severe problems with segregation that most swedes don’t like to talk about. Now the death rate seems to be decrasing. But that’s because it’s decreasing in Stockholm and the numbers from there swamp the numbers from other regions. In other regions numbers are going up, but slowly and from a low level. But because the numbers most people see are from Stockholm a lot of people think that now it’s over and we can go back to normal. But it’s not. So we can expect a ‘second wave’ that is actually not a second wave but still the first wave but delayed compared with Stockholm.

  3. Rune Valaker

    There are some inaccuracies in the NYT article. Norway never had a lock down. Almost all shops were open, the restaurants were open with restrictions on the number of guests, the latter led to many restaurants closing at first, but began to open after a few weeks. Norway closed pubs, hair salons, gyms, cinemas, theaters and other high-risk activities. But most of this is now open and operated almost normally, but with rules on social distancing etc. (theaters and cinemas are still closed). And unlike Sweden, the amusement parks in Norway are open, in Sweden the authorities have decided that these will not be opened this summer. And a few days ago, the Swedes passed a new law that gives the authorities the same legal access to regulate the restaurant industry as in Norway, a law Norway already had in place in March. And the law is being used, after the reopening of the pubs in Oslo, there are already seven pubs that has been closed due to breaches of the corona rules.

    • “Norway never had a lock down. Almost all shops were open, the restaurants were open with restrictions on the number of guests,”

      That wasn’t true in Oslo. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores were open, and restaurants and coffee shops could offer take-away only. Pretty much everything else was closed.

      I agree it wasn’t a “lockdown” in the sense that we were never required to stay inside. We were always allowed to go outside for a walk or a bike ride. Face masks were never recommended by the public health authority, and very few people wore them. I think Norway’s great success in the stopping the virus up to this point is a little curious, because the only real restrictions in my life during the “lockdown” were that I couldn’t go to my fitness club and I couldn’t go to my swimming pool. I could still get takeaway coffee from my coffee shop, and I didn’t miss going out to restaurants, because, in Norway, going out is very costly.

      But pretty much everyone in Oslo implemented the recommended social distancing rules immediately, and there were no wingnuts complaining about losing their rights. The public health authority said yesterday that the R| number is probably just under 1, so we could see a serious second wave in the autumn when everyone has to go indoors again.

  4. Rune Valaker

    >>>That wasn’t true in Oslo. Supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores were open, and restaurants and coffee shops could offer take-away only. Pretty much everything else was closed.

    Yes, that was Oslo. But in the beginning, Oslo also followed the national guidelines where the pubs were closed, but where the restaurants could stay open, but they had to take into account the corona rules. After a series of warnings and the closure of a series of restaurants, Raymond Johannsen, the mayor of Oslo, decided to close all restaurants. In Bergen and in the rest of Norway, the restaurants could stay open if they kept the rules. Just ask me, I have had my dinners and drinks at Møllaren Cafe during the entire corona period, with the exception of Mondays, then Møllaren was closed, as it always has been on Mondays.

    And another point, all the malls were open and the only shops that were closed were hair salons and other high risk business. The Minister of Justice even brought a TV team with her and went shopping and stated that there were no reason not to buy a new outfit, as long as one complied with the corona rules.

  5. After 4 months, this is the first day when there is no one on a ventilator for COVID-19 in Norway. Only 6 people in hospital with COVID-19.

    It’s quiet… too quiet.

    [Response: It’s also the first day that New York announces: no new deaths to report. That’s the kind of “quiet” I like.]

    • Nice. We in the US–and especially the South–can only envy.

      Well, we can only envy if we’re already social distancing, wearing masks, limiting exposure, and evangelizing for everyone we know to follow suit. If we’re not doing those things, then we can certainly do more than envy.

      We can change.