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Sweden's path on pandemic

Sweden's path on pandemic

| June 01, 2020
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Sweden pursued its own distinct path in confronting the coronavirus pandemic.  By choosing to keep its economy open, rather than instituting a policy of lockdown, it is the only major nation expected to report a positive gross domestic product reading for the first quarter.  Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the architect behind Sweden’s policy, has repeatedly doubled down on the merits of his country's approach.  Sweden, he said, is playing the long game despite the country currently experiencing a much higher death rate than its neighbors.  “In the autumn, there will be a second wave. Sweden will have a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low,” Tegnell said in an interview.  “But [neighboring] Finland will have a very low level of immunity.  Will Finland have to go into a complete lockdown again?”  Critics, such as infectious disease expert Stefan Hanson, noted that Sweden’s mortality per million is as much as five times higher than all the other Nordic countries, though still lower than numerous other countries.  What can be said unequivocally is that the disaster predicted by many to befall Sweden because of its relaxed response to the pandemic has simply not occurred…at least not yet.  The chart below shows the actual number of covid-19 deaths (red then black line) vs the projected number (dotted line) and the worst-case number (shaded area). (Chart by Yinon Weiss from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) data)

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