by Finn McRedmond
Friday, 19
August 2022
News
11:33

Sweden reaps the benefits of its no lockdown policy

Two new studies suggest the country is emerging less harmed than other nations
by Finn McRedmond
Not a mask in sight. (Photo by Pascal RondeauGetty Images)

As the UK debates whether the impacts of lockdown are responsible for more deaths than Covid itself, the wider secondary effects of Covid shutdowns are becoming apparent across the world. One country that is bucking the trend is Sweden, which seems to be reaping the benefits of its non coercive approach.

Two new studies show that, in different ways, Sweden seems to have escaped the most harmful secondary impacts that other countries showed.


Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email

Already registered? Sign in


First, a study from the International Journal of Educational Research concludes that Sweden’s decision to keep primary schools open during the pandemic prevented students suffering learning loss.

This evidence sets Sweden apart from comparable nations, including close Scandinavian neighbours. UNESCO figures estimate that 90% of the world’s students were affected by school closures. The negative consequences of this were particularly acute for the youngest and most disadvantaged students across the world.

For example, modelling in the United States found school closures significantly hampered improvements in the reading ability of kindergarten and first grade children. One model showed that by the autumn 2020 students reading ability improved by 31% less than usual.

Unlike comparable nations, the reading comprehension skills of Swedish primary school children did not suffer as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Also, researchers did not find students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to be particularly disadvantaged. And the proportion of academically weak students did not increase over the same period.

But it is not just in the realm of education that Sweden’s bold covid strategy is standing the test of time.

The latest Pew Research Centre Global Attitudes Study has found that Sweden is one of the few countries whose society has become more united since the advent of the pandemic. Globally, only Singapore and Malaysia share this optimistic outlook.

New data shows the US feels the most divided after the pandemic

By contrast, 81% of people in the United States believe that the pandemic sowed and entrenched societal division. Following closely behind is The Netherlands at 80%, Germany at 78% and Canada at 74%.

Furthermore, Swedish people join only Hungary, Singapore and Israel in feeling that their government’s handling of the pandemic highlighted their country’s political strengths. Most nations felt the opposite: that their government’s covid management revealed their political inadequacies.

Sweden has one of the most successful overall Covid outcomes in Europe, coming in 20th out of 28 European countries in terms of deaths from Covid per capita.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
39 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Russell David
Russell David
3 months ago

It’s certainly divided the UK. Two of my family members are hardly speaking to me now because they share the mainstream view of covid – it was a deadly disease, the lockdowns were essential, masks work, vaccines work etc – and I… don’t.

Douglas H
Douglas H
3 months ago
Reply to  Russell David

Surely you can believe it was a deadly disease and still however say that the lockdowns were wrong or over aggressive – that’s the Swedish position. I hope you find common ground with your relatives!

Andrew F
Andrew F
2 months ago
Reply to  Douglas H

the point is, which they knew, from all but the beginning, is that it is only a “deadly disease” for very small slithers of the population…

Despite what the MSM and the political class pumped out…

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
3 months ago

A great pity the UK got derailed by covid hysteria. If Boris had kept his nerve the Conservative party and Boris would be in a better place and so too would the UK be.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jeremy Bray
Aaron James
Aaron James
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Sweden reaps the benefits of its no lockdown policy

Lemming not dashed to bits at bottom of cliff reaps benefits of not jumping. Bruised and bloody lemmings at bottom are amazed how this worked out.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 months ago

My wife teaches 3rd grade in California, so last year was the year she had the kids who were denied nearly all of 2nd grade (California schools closed or went “online” for nearly a full year, March 2020 – April 2021). Her school is mostly 1st generation immigrants with some multigenerational poverty mixed in, so school really matters to these kids success (especially the latter).
She absolutely noticed it. They couldn’t do basic subtraction because that’s taught in second grade. This year’s reading fluency numbers plummeted; half the kids she just started with are reading below 10 wpm; they missed 1st grade. Both years feature larger and more numerous behavior problems.
We’ll never get our elites to admit it, but their actions likely consigned 2 years of children to being “behind” for years, with all the stigma and likelihood of failure that implies. I’ll bet you will see a appreciable drop in high school graduation percentage in 2031-2032.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
3 months ago

One hears similar anecdotes from friends of friends working in early years childcare in the UK. 3-year olds are barely socialised, in appallingly many cases not even toilet-trained.

So all things considered it sounds like we’ll all have to learn Swedish in 30 years’ time, rather than Chinese as previously expected.

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Comments about that age group’s lack of toilet-training were in circulation before “Covid”

Thomas S
Thomas S
3 months ago

By 2031-2032 we probably will be living in a world where they better have learned survival skills…

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
3 months ago

“We’ll never get our elites to admit it, but their actions likely consigned 2 years of children to being “behind” for years”
When actual communists like SAGE’s Susan Michie explicitly tell us that they would like to keep us behind masks forever, it feels like the woke elites are doing this on purpose.

Todd Kreigh
Todd Kreigh
3 months ago

Shame on Sweden for believing in actual science, and not following the herd off the cliff of the politi-science idiocy we followed here in the USA. Of course a piece of see-through fabric blocks viral particles. Why not? Hasti-baked vaccines full of poison are safe and effective. Don’t worry about it; SCIENCE!
This is what happens when people become too lazy to think and learn for themselves

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 months ago

The impact of Covid policies is not well determined by focussing on public opinion polls. Look also at the longer term impacts on trends in national debt, supply chain delays, inflation in prices of domestic products, impacts on the health services and waiting times, etc. Lockdown policies and their implementation have continuing effects still visible today.

Pat Q
Pat Q
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

Excellent point, Andrew. I believe it’s always prudent to view polls with a fair amount of scepticism. Your list of objective results of the lockdowns give credence to the sentiment of the polls. I believe future scientific research to be done by real scientists – not the biased, computer model focused “scientists” who have us this travesty – will add to your list. My hope is that we who have been subject to this travesty will not allow a similar response in the future. My fear is that the “chicken little” attitude of our discredited protectors will be ignored at a time when we shouldn’t do so. I could be wrong.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
3 months ago

So the UK under Boris did better than the US, Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, Greece, and Australia on both metrics. Who’d a thunk it from the media?

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Hang on a second. I thought Merkel’s Germany was showing old Plague Island how to do it. At least that is what it said on the BBC.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 months ago

I’m interested to know how widely reported are these findings? Are they in the msm (I don’t read it anymore)?
The author cites to a paper in The Journal of Educational Research, but so many academic journals are now strongly woke, and were promoting lockdowns, masking, etc, even when the evidence for the effectiveness of these measures was thin, I’m surprised they’re now willing to publish research that shows the harm of these covid policies.

Peter Bingham
Peter Bingham
3 months ago

It’s an interesting study – no mention of New Zealand. Trust in the ruling parties / governing bodies has fallen fuelled by some of the shadowy conflicts of interest up and down the chain including the MSM. Co-ordinated coercion and suppression might have created a reluctant obedience and conformity in the short term but has sown the seeds of mistrust and has created division. And you have to ask yourself who benefits from this division. The people with the money. And I don’t mean the governing bodies.   

Liam Brady
Liam Brady
3 months ago

From the early phases of Covid I was adamant the U.K. should follow Sweden’s approach. However, it pains me now to say, I don’t think it would have worked for us. A combination of hysterical, disgraceful media, poor government messages and the blatant refusal by some citizens to follow even basic safety rules indicates it would have been an even bigger mess than it was. If only U.K. could be more like Sweden.

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago
Reply to  Liam Brady

Sadly I agree Liam. You would have to have had a PM of rare self-confidence to have stood up to the media/medical profession/civil service/opposition onslaught.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
3 months ago

There is always a danger in assuming a society of mainly white Europeans will have a similar culture to ours, Sweden is significantly different in temperament as covered in another recent article.
But I am curious as to the factors in their decision to take this “risky” approach, but one that IMHO was always going to be best for society’s cohesion.
Was it enabled by a health care system serving a smaller population and with a better grip on who were the most vulnerable? Genuine question, I know no Swedes to ask.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 months ago
Reply to  Dustin Needle

Sweden is far less white European than you might think. All the population stats are here: https://www.statistikdatabasen.scb.se/pxweb/en/ssd/START__BE__BE0101/?rxid=4cc105fb-e48b-4c82-a1e6-85998b3eeef1 (with lots of breakdowns by area of origin, etc.)
And 25% of the population is of foreign origin.
The approach wasn’t considered risky here. It was the planned way to deal with pandemics up until the WHO changed its tune under political pressure to adopt measures which they had hitherto recommended against either because they did not work or because the harms involved greatly outweighed the benefits. Looks like the old plans were the better plans.
The notion of who was most vulnerable was known, everywhere, early on. That apparently did not factor into the calculations many countries made. But our health ministry experts were honest. They made mistakes, some very dreadful ones, but they didn’t knowingly tell lies. When you look at the whoppers that, for instance, the American CDC were telling, it seems hard to believe that the CDC cared about honesty. They had an outcome they wanted, and getting that was all that mattered.

Jim Stanton
Jim Stanton
3 months ago

This post is right on the money. It was never about trying to save lives. It was about an agenda and control. Anyone with even a hint of reasoning skills should be able to see that but far too many people have drank the Koolaide. There are still people here in the US wearing masks that don’t work.

Pat Q
Pat Q
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Stanton

Jim, I noticed the same post-COVID mask wearing phenomenon in North West Louisiana, mostly among our black brothers and sisters. I asked one of my black friends why this continued on his culture. “Tuskegee Experiment”, was his simple response.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_Syphilis_Study

Howard Clarke
Howard Clarke
3 months ago

Thank you, Laura.

Thomas S
Thomas S
3 months ago

The CDC (Center for Disinformation Control) marched in lockstep with others that received their orders from the globalist elites. Even Sweden, about a year into the plandemic, started to buckle a bit, as I think they were monetarily threatened.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas S

A change in Prime Minister may have had more to do with it. Magdalena Andersson replaced Stefan Löfven, and she is a WEF banking sort, while he is a welder and (very successful) trade union organiser in the Swedish Metalworkers Union. But I would be very, very interestred in any evidence of threats you have. (And I would like to know why there was a change in Prime Minister, too, of course.)

Thomas S
Thomas S
3 months ago

The answer is in your post. WEF. Do a little digging and you’ll see the enormous power they can leverage against our ‘leaders’….

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas S

Indeed they supply the leaders; precisely the Young Global Leaders of the WEF…
https://www.informedchoiceaustralia.com/post/wef-and-their-young-global-leaders-program

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 months ago

Sweden opted for a plan that had a better best-case performance and a higher worst-case risk. There is an alternaive (or additonal) explanation as to why:

Data point; The Danish health bureauracy also favoured sticking to the existing plan, and told us that COVID would not come to Europe, and if it did it would not be a problem, and anyway ir would not last long. Pretty similat to the Swedish bureaucracy here. Only in Denmark politicians decided to take over, whereas in Sweden politicians left it all to the health bureaucracy.

Parenthesis: The existing plan was optimised for known epidemics – which means influenza. It is not at all obvious that this will be the best plan for an unknown disease that might be very different from influenza: asymptomatic transmission, higher death rate, long-term effets etc. Also it did not consider closing borders or lockdowns, because those had never been done before. But the health bureaucracuy stuck to that plan because it was the only one they had. And because scientists are not very good at decision making under uncertainty. Science is about working slowly to get deep understanding. If you need a quick decision you either stick to the current understanding, however imperfect (which is comfortable and tells you what to do) or you abandon it and start improvising, which means you have no guidelines and feel horribly ignorant and exposed.

So what was differnt in Sweden? First an unusually high trust in expertise and bureaucracy, even for Scandinavia. The government was happy to leave decision making to expert opinion and established bureaucratic procedures. The population was happy to trust officialdom in this, as they do in so much else. The plan was suffeciently middle-of-road to avoid triggering any rebellions – in a population not much given to rebelling against officialdom anyway. And, if people died (again, in moderate numbers compared to some places) people were happy to trust that the government had done the best that could be done. Finally, no one was surprised that Sweden was an outlier. When Boris Johnson chose to relax measures much earlier than other European countries, a lot of people wondered what they knew that the UK did not, given that the virus was the same everywhere. In Sweden people just thought it was normal that Sweden would get it right, while delse got it wrong.

Jim Stanton
Jim Stanton
3 months ago

Who could possibly have seen this coming?(sarcasm)
It has deeply divided people here in the US but the seeds for that were already sewn and the plandemic merely excelerated the and exasperated the divide.
Covid just proved how most people in most countries are mere sheep. So long as they have their phones to connect to social media they’ll go along with just about anything, even if they don’t agree with what is going on.

Thomas S
Thomas S
3 months ago
Reply to  Jim Stanton

Yep, that’s right. And–most think the violence sweeping across many cities are just something seen on their screens–until they get sucker-punched head-smacked. We are entering an era of a lawless society that I don’t know if it can be turned around at this point and may need to play out to its ruthless end.

Patrick Ussher
Patrick Ussher
3 months ago

Bravo Finn McRedmond! Now can you sneak this into your weekly column in the Irish Times, a paper that shamefully towed the government line throughout the pandemic, ignoring Sweden’s example and contributing to the major harms caused to Irish society by the lockdown strategy. Does the virus behave differently in Stockholm than in Dublin? No doubt the Irish Times editor would believe that….

Last edited 3 months ago by Patrick Ussher
Benjamin Holm
Benjamin Holm
3 months ago

Yeah, the response to Covid in the US has been catastrophic. Who knew that treating your fellow citizens as potential virus carriers and preventing people from seeing your face could have social consequences? Or that lockdowns might have serious consequences?

Johnathan Galt
Johnathan Galt
3 months ago

Now who might ever have guessed that Liberty would result in a superior outcome for the people than totalitarianism? Shocking!

Mark Duffett
Mark Duffett
3 months ago

Add to this the mounting evidence for excess non-covid deaths in the US https://www.nber.org/papers/w30104 UK https://uk.news.yahoo.com/silent-crisis-soaring-excess-deaths-203000290.html?guccounter=1 and Australia https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-08/non-covid-deaths-are-up-a-significant-amount-this-year/101309930. That this is a consequence of lockdown measures would have to be the leading hypothesis. Comparison with equivalent data for Sweden would be most illuminating.

Last edited 3 months ago by Mark Duffett
James N
James N
3 months ago

“Sweden… 20th out of 28 European countries in terms of deaths from Covid per capita.”

Aaand? You should also note here all of the lockdown casualties they avoided. And the fact that their country isn’t falling apart at the seams with violence might also be worth something for years to come. But this was all obvious from the start to anyone with half a brain.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
3 months ago

The Swedes just guessed right – they were lucky.

M. M.
M. M.
3 months ago

Finn McRedmond wrote, “Two new studies show that, in different ways, Sweden seems to have escaped the most harmful secondary impacts that other countries showed.”

The Western nation which produced the best response is Japan. It has a single, dominant Western culture. In the one-year period from March 2020 to March 2021, the number of excess death in Japan is negative.

Exhibiting a high rate of excess deaths, the United States produced a much worse response to the pandemic than either Sweden or Japan.

By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, most residents already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

The non-Western cultures in the United States severely damaged its response to the pandemic. For decades, the supporters of open borders have claimed that multicultural diversity (fueled by legal or illegal immigration) makes American organizations and processes superior to the organizations and processes in nations like Japan. The pandemic has proven that this claim is a lie.

Hispanic culture is extremely damaging to American society.

Get more info about this issue.

Jim Stanton
Jim Stanton
3 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

The Western culture response WAS the problem. The groups who didn’t tow the line here in the US were right all along. Most people who towed the Western culture response were and are sheep. Swedens response was just an inconvenient truth to the Globalist agenda which WAS the response of most Western nations.