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Why can’t we be more like Sweden? Boy, I never thought I’d write those words, but I just did. You may ask in what way would I like the US to be more like Sweden? Well, it turns out they are the only country in the western world in which the government has not unilaterally shut down society in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they are just as interested in the economic, social, and psychological health of their citizens as they are in minimizing death and illness from the coronavirus. They are, therefore, treating their citizens as responsible, rational adults.
So far, Sweden has closed its borders to non-EU nations, has restricted public gatherings to less than 50 people, and, well, that’s about it for enforced prohibitions. Otherwise, the government has issued a number of advisories including asking people to practice social distancing, work from home if possible, students over 16 are asked to study from home, and those 70 and over are urged to self-isolate. Most private businesses remain open, restaurants still offer table service, private meetings and parties continue apace, and elementary schools are open. This does not mean that Sweden has not yet felt any pain from the virus. According to the NBC News article I linked to as of March 31, Sweden had recorded approximately 4,500 cases of coronavirus and 180 deaths therefrom.
I’d be interested in what the people here at Ricochet who have been paying much closer attention to the numbers than have I, such as @rodin and @arizonapatriot have to say about Sweden’s coronavirus policy. I’m also interested in what the numerous Ricochet physicians think about the policy.
Since there is one country in the west that has not followed the shutdown, perhaps we’ll be able to test which method worked the best: the command-and-control model of every other country or the more laissez-faire approach of Sweden. Of course, there are many differences between countries which affect outcomes. For example, Sweden has a much lower population density than many of the hardest-hit areas, each country has a unique population age distribution, and so forth.
As for me, I’m rooting for Sweden.Published in