The myth of Sweden’s voluntary lockdown
Mobility data shows that Swedes' behaviour barely changed during the pandemic
No matter how you slice the excess death figures, Sweden performed exceptionally well during the pandemic. According to Britain’s Office for National Statistics, it has the second lowest rate of excess mortality in Europe — lower than Finland, Denmark and Iceland (only Norway did marginally better). Other databases show similar results.
This fact is evidently inconvenient for proponents of lockdown, given that Sweden was the only major Western country not to lock down in the spring of 2020. If stay-at-home orders and mandatory business closures were as effective as their advocates claim, Sweden shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the leaderboard.
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
Indeed, the country’s comparatively relaxed approach was roundly denounced at the time. Yet the architect of that approach, Anders Tegnell, told his critics to “judge [him] in a year”. It’s now been more than two years, and the data judges him very favourably.
In light of Sweden’s success, a revisionist argument has gained traction among lockdown proponents: the country’s approach wasn’t really that different because Swedes locked themselves down voluntarily. As Jeremy Hunt — who once advocated Zero Covid — said in a recent interview, “we used the law, Sweden used a voluntary approach” but we had “fairly similar levels of compliance with the lockdown”.
We can test this argument using Google mobility data. For most countries in the world, Google provides the percentage change in the number of people in various location categories (for example: residential, retail and recreation) over the course of the pandemic. The data is based on apps like Google Maps, which track smartphone users’ movements.
The chart below plots change in residential mobility in 33 Western countries for the year 2020. Note that 2021’s mobility data is less informative because the vaccine rollout, which began at the end of December 2020, fundamentally shifted people’s behaviour.
Sweden (shown in red) saw the smallest change in residential mobility out of all 33 countries in the spring. The country then saw an uptick over the summer, which is unlikely to be purely Covid-driven as very few deaths were recorded at the time. By the end of the year, it was somewhere in the middle of the pack, coinciding with the introduction of tougher measures.
If we calculate the cumulative change in residential mobility over the whole year, Sweden comes 24th — just behind the Nordics and a handful of Eastern European countries (all of which saw less change during Europe’s Covid-free summer). The cumulative change in Britain was more than twice as large, undermining Hunt’s claim that the two countries had “fairly similar levels of compliance”.
And if we use retail and recreation mobility instead of residential, Sweden comes 32nd out of 33 countries — with only Denmark registering a smaller change. (On that measure, Sweden doesn’t show the unexpected blip over the summer.)
Overall, there’s no evidence that Sweden had a “voluntary lockdown”. Mobility changed far less there than in most other Western countries. Yet the Swedes still finished at the top of the table. Something for our policymakers to mull over, perhaps.
It’s a bit disturbing just how many people still want to contort themselves into knots to defend “lockdown;” a term most often utilized for prisons. Going so pathetically far as to claim the most famous Western country not to do it…actually did.
I suppose they didn’t need evidence to implement it, so neither do they to defend it.
Splendid news indeed, and I never doubted it!
For a nation that produced both the Aga, Volvo, and Saab it was fairly obvious that they would produce the correct response to this irrational COVID hysteria.
No doubt wannabe Commissars such as Robbie K (of this Parish) will be outraged, but how could it possibly be otherwise given their warped outlook on life in general?
Oh dear, who’s a little grumpapottamus then? You haven’t been flagging my comments for moderation Charles, have you?
Certainly not Commissar, nor you I trust?
No. I’m not afraid of a debate, but persons here are it seems.
Weird, ‘they’ may reappear later I find.
Except that by Xmas 2020 much of the population thought their Government’s approach was wrong. Powers were taken to control the population more tightly and a limit of eight put on gatherings. Not much different from our Rule of Six. Schools were closed for older pupils and universities shut down. That sounds rather like lockdown to me.
Even the King joined in the criticism
I’m sure we can learn a lot from the Swedish experience but many people have a highly limited understanding of what that experience actually was.
As for excess deaths, I suspect a lot depends on the overall health of the population going into the pandemic, rather than pandemic control measures themselves. Here in the UK we’re a pretty unhealthy lot.
I seem to recall that both Denmark and Norway had had a ‘clear out’ of potential candidates the previous year thanks to a Flu epidemic that was NOT visited on Sweden!
However as you well say many of ‘us’ are unhealthy, obese slugs, who by a process known as Darwinian self selection have offered themselves for sacrifice. So nothing really unusual there I think.
The ‘dry tinder’ effect, resulting in thousands of high risk vulnerable people milling about, which makes the Swedish decisions even more absurd.
yet locking people up in Italy and Spain a lot earlier than in UK (enforced a lot stricter, btw) didn’t save those “highly vulnerable”
what was the point of all those stupid rules that put people out of job and the economy in tremendous debt, then?
I suspect the dry tinder effect had a strong effect on the mortality of covid patients. In the UK the previous years flu seasons were benign so a new flu-like virus was always going to be effective in carrying off the most vulnerable.
The author of the essay was aiming to use data to get past the “highly limited understanding” about the facts-on-the-ground in Sweden. A similar approach would help in comparing the experience in various states here in the US. I noticed a very real distance between the stated rules and the behavior of the people. Here in Brooklyn the police had no interest in enforcing those rules so most of us walked in the parks or played with the kids and/or dogs. Every day was Saturday!
I come here mostly for the comments.
Isn’t it sort of culturally ingrained in Sweden to keep distance from each other anyway? So that, even if they were still moving around almost as much as they were before the pandemic, they still remained distanced from each other? Meaning that there were certain culturally ingrained behaviours among Swedes which became quite advantageous when Covid broke out and meant that they didn’t have to change their lives much in order to cope with it.
Comparing countries and their relative performance is interesting, but I think you’ve got to take certain things with a pinch of salt when looking how you could do things in the future. You can have a better health service, mounds of PPE in storage and everything else, but Britain is fundamentally never going to be Sweden.
Actually, I was thinking about Sweden’s pandemic approach this morning while out running (it’s the start of spring and that always reminds me of the 1st lockdown in 2020). I will never forget how, very quickly, the country went from being totally inoffensive, uncontroversially socialist and nicely Nordic to the dark and frozen north where the devil-who-kills-grannies, also known as Anders Tegnell, resides.
That whole period of time has taken on a sort of Schrödinger’s cat quality…I know it happened, but it was so weird, it now seems completely unreal.
I don’t always (or often, or whatever it doesn’t matter at least we both have brains, sort of in my case anyway) agree with you, but that is a spot-on comment!
About 15% of Sweden’s population are third world immigrants, even less well integrated than the UK’s, so the idea of this homogeneous, calm, obedient monocultural populace is absolute nonsense.
So 85% are ‘calm obedient monocultural’ etc then!
More to the point any of that 15% still alive?
Unfortunately, yes. Causing high crime rates.
They were a young minority.
I don’t see in the UK a population that is prone to having close contacts, like they do in southern Europe.
Maybe the tube is more crowded than most spaces, but I can’t believe Brits don’t “keep their distance”.
I’ve been living there for 40+ years and the ” Swedes keeping distance” thing is just a myth. What did happen in response to Tegnell’s message was keeping distance in indoor spaces (shops etc.) and not relying on masks to prevent the spread. Working from home was immediately implemented for a large section of the population and public transport was sparsely used. Foreign travel was “out” thanks to other countries imposing lockdowns and restrictions but domestic travel was less affected. When the population hasn’t been scared sh it less by panicking politicians then people will tend to live as normal apart from the distancing and avoiding crowds and large family meetings. The local golf courses and clubhouses were just as busy as usual. Healthcare was affected despite what others have been led to believe and there have been negative consequences (eg. increase in late cancer diagnoses) of delayed routine checks and treatment, although less so than in the UK. Due to language and cultural differences, the immigrant population tended not to follow a lot of the many recommendations and they suffered accordingly in the early waves.
She’s a troll.
Not true, judging by her other posts
That’s what I thought. According to Index of Economic Freedom (Heritage) Sweden is tenth most free economy in world, compared to “only the strong survive” US ranked 25th.
Have you been to Sweden? I’ve travelled many times and have not found this at all, very sociable. They are just very measured and society led. Very smart and eco conscious nation.
But Sweden is c20% not Swedish – I mean culturally, of course.
The evidence from Sweden at this time showed people out and about and eating and drinking in restaurants without distancing or wearing masks or PPE. I have friends there and when I’ve visited Sweden or the other Nordics I have not noticed any difference in how close people are to me or each other. It should be noticeable to someone who spent a large part of his life in London? The best advice I have seen for dealing with a pandemic came from the Mayor of Manchester during the Spanish Flu outbreak – “Keep away from people who are sick.” We should have allowed the young and healthy to freely mix, thereby allowing the virus to pass through quickly before it had a chance to mutate and this would have created a wall of pre-infected and immune individuals. We tested everyone as a new and infantile way of trying to stop an airborne virus that is already out in the wild and spread around the world. Even the most deadly viruses like Ebola are not treated in this way. Please read Hans Rosling’s book ‘Factfullness’ – the chapter ‘Urgency Instinct’. He describes various experiences of his in Africa dealing with outbreaks and in the case of lockdowns he says don’t do it.
Interesting, but after some time trying to work out what it really measured I would say that graph is useless unless the graphs for retail and recreation mobility data are also shown. The reason is that just because the Swedes were not staying at home as much as other Europeans (at least until mid-summer, after which they were right in the middle of the pack for the rest of the year – they author says that this was at first not due to Covid, which seems a very strange assumption to me) does not mean that they were mingling unduly elsewhere – presumably they were still going to work just being a lot more careful about it.
That is what I call a very selective view of the data. I tried to follow the link but seem to have developed the attention span of our younger generation and gave up trying to find the other graphs, as the link didn’t actually lead directly to them (surprise!).
There seems to be no definitive argument against the supposition that the Swedes did well because they have a relatively low population density and are by-an-large boringly sensible people! Any stats on their mask-wearing proclivities?
Hi Tony, here’s a chart comparing retail and recreation mobility in the UK and Sweden.
Where? And, without seeing it of course, isn’t the relevant comparison against all of the 33 countries?
Click “here’s a chart”. You can add more countries at the link.
Wow – that’s a really cool chart tool (everyone have a go)! Sweden still following the trend though, albeit less extreme.
Thanks for that. I’ve only dipped my toe in but i’ve bookmarked the site for further study.
OWiD was by far the best source of data during the pandemic.
A more comprehensive graph than that shared by Noah: https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/changes-visitors-covid?country=GBR~SWE
This gives an even broader overview: https://ourworldindata.org/covid-mobility-trends
It seems to suggest that Swedes didn’t stay at home as much, but they went to the park a lot more instead. So contrary to the article, their behaviour did change a lot.
The whole ‘lockdown’ vs ‘anti-lockdown’ debate is and was to me infuriating. Of course ‘lockdown’ worked in the sense that legally compelling (and many complying) people to stay away from one another helped to stop the spread of a disease transmitted person to person.
The question I hope the politicians/media will deal with is whether using the law to achieve that behaviour change was the best way of doing it. Or was it actually a clumsy way that stopped a lot of good interactions where the benefits outweighed the risk of covid spread.
I’m afraid I feel this article (and the headline) keeps us stuck in this false Telegraph ‘lockdown bad’ vs Guardian ‘lockdown good’ debate.
I had the pleasure of 6 weeks in Sweden in November and December 2020 to get a little respite from the madness. I enjoyed packed underground comedy clubs, dinners in crowded restaurants, drinks in bars. There were a few masks, a little keep your distance but that was it. Oh the joys of normality at the height of the stupidity.
Let’s hope the various national Inquiries do further assess this sort of data. We need to learn. At a glance it’s certainly of significant interest but also inconclusive. Essential though we be open minded.
Just to add, Sweden’s Public Health Ministry states categorically that the high vaccine rate was the most important factor in their comparative performance – 85%. And they recommended vaccination down to age 12yrs. That’ll upset some.
The simple fact is that no government knew what was the correct course of action and therefore it is hardly surprising that the vast majority of countries with the wherewithal, not just the UK, erred on the side of caution. Sweden is the outlier and maybe they guessed correctly, or maybe there are other reasons, like average population density to explain the progression of the disease there. Trying retrospectively to pin the tail on the donkey is a pointless exercise. The only important thing is that we learn from the experience so that next time we handle it better.
I wrote a rather long thing, and now it is gone. grrrr.
It was in reply to my comment, which someone flagged for moderation, so yours is in that thread. It will be back shortly. Very disappointing that some folks are abusing this system to try and suppress views they don’t like, rather than debating.
Why I gave up. Moderate, credentialed, data driven responses (citing sources) just… “poof”. Gone.
Another dragon slayed. Nice.
I’m certainly not going to defend lockdowns, I don’t believe they actually prevented anything but merely delayed it. But why would Sweden not locking down result in them having less Covid deaths overall? Surely it should be on par with other nations, which would still prove the futility of that policy?
If you lockdown and stay in your house etc then it is clear that you are not getting as much movement/exercise, social interaction, Vit D from the sunlight etc. All of those are known benefits to general health and some specifically to Covid.
Lockdowns were therefore, as supported by the evidence, actually a stupid thing to do and made things worse. And the more they were enforced the more it got worse.
Here is a transcript of a BBC Radio 4 interview with a Ugandan nurse at the beginning of the pandemic. Nick Robinson was puzzled as to why Africa didn’t seem to be affected so much. After all, this is Africa so shouldn’t it be hit hard?
Nick Robinson: It’s coming up to 19 minutes to nine. It’s not very long ago that we were told that the coronavirus pandemic could have a terrible impact on Africa, a continent that has suffered terribly from the effects of Ebola and AIDS, but so far at least, so far it has not turned out that way. This week we’re examining how the virus is affecting developing countries around the world. In a moment we will hear from the World Health Organisation. First though the picture on the ground in Uganda. A country that has so far recorded no deaths from COVID-19. I’ve been speaking to a nurse in a General Hospital in the Rakai district of Uganda; Maria Nekalanda.
Maria: We really haven’t seen many patients of the symptoms of Covid. Like we have the measures in place, we do have the tests for outpatients that are coming in, but actually we have not recorded anyone.
Nick: So, is it turning out to be nothing like as scary as maybe you thought it would be a while ago?
Maria: Well, in the start we actually panicked. We were thinking, Oh my god, we are going to be the next dead people and it turned out that over time we stopped panicking and understood that probably this whole Covid situation is just not going to be as bad.
Nick: Are you saying that you’re no longer scared of COVID-19?
Maria: Yeah, we are no longer scared. We are following guidelines, but we are continuing with work.
Nick: And do you have all the protective equipment that you would want to have?
Maria: No, that’s actually a part of what stopped scaring us because for a greater part of the season we did not have protective gear. The health workers on the ground that are also handling general patients are not protected.
Nick: What about for the people who have this? You’ve seen people who get Ebola and how serious that is. How does Covid compare for them?
Maria: Comparing Covid to Ebola will be a kind of joke to the many Ugandans that have lived to see the impacts of Ebola, because people can deal with Covid 19 and they eat normally, they interact in communities, until probably they are found out and they are literally interacting with each other. That doesn’t happen with Ebola. Whilst there is an Ebola outbreak in the region pretection is at the very high pitch. People don’t keep running in at out of those particular areas. But for Covid you realise having Health Ministers come to places where Covid 19 is unchecked and Ebola is like 100 times worse.
Nick: Tell me about the lockdown in your area of Uganda or in Uganda as a whole if you like? What sort of lockdown is it and are people happy to go along with it or are they very frustrated?
Maria: People are actually frustrated because they have been financially affected. They’ve lost a lot in business. They are struggling to put bread on the table. They are like “well, you’re talking about a pandemic which I haven’t been able to go to work, why don’t you let me work?” So the whole lockdown situation is like a punishment.
Nick: Have you any theories why Covid is much less serious in Uganda than it seems to be in the UK for example?
Maria: I would think about the lifestyle. Ugandan’s they have probably access to more organic food. Lower cases of chronic illnesses like obesity. But um…we just think we have a bit of unexplained immunity to that disease. We are not dying just as bad.
Nick: That was Maria Nekalanda a nurse in the Rakai district of Uganda and listening to her is Dr Mary Steve a public health expert at and WHO Africa based in Congo. Good morning to you…
Africa still hasn’t been affected like developed countries. The ONS data showed average age of death for Covid was 82 and life expectancy in most African countries is between 53 and 77, therefore…? Is it necessary to spell out the conclusion?
Sweden had democratic principles. Citizens were given the facts and made their own decisions. It was recommended that the elderly and vulnerable isolate but it was up to the rest of the population to decide what was personally best for them..
We faced am authoritative regime right down to forcing vaccination on the population and denying some rights of passage to those who resisted. A question at PMQs today highlighted the dreadful damage that was done to some citizens by being forced to take this vaccination. They will get compensation but nothing will make up for having their lives ruined.
The concept that one should allow or even expect individuals to decide on a matter of national emergency is frankly idiotic.
We can’t trust individual nations because political reputations and careers get in the way but it would be helpful if a Covid report could be produced investigating this and other factors which could then be used as guidance in preparing for, and responding to, the next pandemic, which will surely come one day.
Maybe that’s something the UN could usefully do.
Noah Carl wrote, “This fact is evidently inconvenient for proponents of lockdown, given that Sweden was the only major Western country not to lock down in the spring of 2020.”
That statement is false. Japan is a Western nation and did not undergo a mandatory lockdown. (Japan is the only Western nation of non-European origin).
Like Stockholm, Tokyo issued some recommendations without mandates. The Japanese people then decided how to implement the recommendations.
The results speak for themselves. The number of excess Japanese deaths from March 2020 to March 2021 was actually negative. In other words, the Japanese results are better than the Swedish results.
California (in the United States) exhibited poor results due to its large Hispanic population. Hispanic culture is quite different from Western culture. Hispanic misbehavior includes poor hygiene and rudeness (e.g., not covering the mouth during a cough) and produced a high coronavirus death rate. It greatly exceeds the Japanese death rate.
In California (where Hispanics are 40% of the population), by December 14 (2021), the Japanese death rate due to the coronavirus was only about 7.6% of the Californian rate, where “rate” is “death count divided by the population count”. Approximately 75,571 Californians succumbed to the coronavirus whereas only about 18,370 Japanese died from it.
By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture (as the American population is swelled by anti-Western migrants from primarily Latin America and secondarily South Asia), and Hispanic culture will dominate. The nation as a while will resemble California.
Get more info about this issue.
Some inconvenient facts for you:
Compared to Britain, Sweden has 85% more landmass, but 700% fewer people. Simply by virtue of its much bigger land mass and its much smaller population, Sweden as normal is much, much more socially distanced than even a lockdown Britain.
Around half of all Swedish households are made up of one person.
They have outdoor nursery schools and class sizes around 40% smaller than Britain’s.
Lots of Swedes (over 51%) have summer houses in the North to escape to. Land is cheap, houses prices are sensible, and having a second house in Sweden is quite commmon.
Swedes are much more reserved socially. Have you ever been to a pub in Sweden? Quiet. “Boring”, to Brits, Aussies and Paddies. They are famously disdainful of small talk: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p08v2cjz/how-the-swedes-survive-without-small-talk
They have the space and they don’t have our hive mentality. Essentially, the Swedes without a lockdown naturally are set up to be more socially distanced than Brits are with a lockdown.
Your comparison is cherry-picked evangelising.
But they have urban cities like everywhere else and they feel much the same as urban areas like everywhere else. The massive amount of land available to Swedes is not scaled so that people stand 50ft away from each other everywhere. My experience of Stockholm was a city just like in the UK. The underground, trains, trams, ferries, bars, cafes, shops were crowded and I noticed no one keeping their distance. No one.
Sweden is highly urbanised. 88% of Sweden’s inhabitants lived in urbanised areas in 2021 versus 84% of the UK’s population. Look it up instead of jerking that knee.
I’m afraid I don’t have much understanding of graphs but what strikes me when I look at this one is: 1) In April Sweden has a much lower level of mobility despite the fact the rest of us were locked down and it was not, and 2) after that the other countries’ mobility falls until Sweden is in the middle of the pack where it continues up to the end.
This suggests to me that the Swedish did ‘lock themselves down’ quite effectively, especially at the beginning of the pandemic and perhaps that was the reason for their low death rates.
Someone please enlighten me as to what is wrong with my interpretation of the chart.
Not defending lockdown as it suited me when studying, but have questions when comparisons are being made between two entirely different populations in every sense. What do we know about the relative size and health of our general population – especially taking into account the numbers existing on the so called ‘living wage’ or in the benefits system which doesn’t exactly support a healthy – or winter warm lifestyle – compared to Sweden’s at the beginning of the pandemic? Ditto density/infrastructure/NHS preparedness (actual bricks and mortar)/bed capacity, inc bed blocker situation/ waiting lists so long that people die or deteriorate/broken social care/ the number of health professionals with the relevant skills needed to deal with a deadly virus? Our living standards – many here have to live cheek by jowl in badly insulated housing. Population – it’s fair to say we are overpopulated in many towns and cities and have increased our population beyond our capacity to provide a healthy lifestyle. It is very relevant to factor in lifestyle and the assertion that the Swedes have a similar lifestyle is perplexing. British traditions of socialising countrywide (not confined to the wine bars of Clapham High Street) are quite different to our Nordic and continental neighbours. They are obvious if you have to drive through a town centre after the bars and pubs have closed where it’s clear social distancing inside the pub was a fantasy. A sizeable number of our police force are thus engaged instead of fighting crime. Such ‘ traditional behaviour has lead to a ban in at least one holiday resort). ‘Answers on a postcard’ please…..
Oh God, it’s back!
I am not sure your that your argument about Hispanics work, both Texas and Florida have large Hispanic populations. Neither followed the same path as California and didn’t have the same results.
Some inconvenient facts for you:
Compared to Britain, Sweden has 85% more landmass, but 700% fewer people. Simply by virtue of its much bigger land mass and its muchy smaller population, Sweden as normal is much, much more socially distanced than even a lockdown Britain. Around half of all Swedish households are made up of one person. They have outdoor nursery schools and class sizes around 40% smaller than Britain’s. Lots of Swedes (over 51%) have summer houses in the North to escape to. Land is cheap, houses prices are sensible, and having a second house in Sweden is quite commmon. Swedes are much more reserved socially. Have you ever been to a pub in Sweden? Quiet. “Boring”, to Brits, Aussies and Paddies. (I love Swedish pubs, though, as I’ve never really fitted in to the ‘let’s have a big scrum and talk bollocks’ approach to life so extant in Ireland and Britain.) They are famously disdainful of small talk: https://www.bbc.com/reel/video/p08v2cjz/how-the-swedes-survive-without-small-talk
They have the space and they don’t have our hive mentality. Essentially, the Swedes without a lockdown naturally are set up to be more socially distanced than Brits are with a lockdown.
Your comparison relies on cherry-picked facts.
Excellent comment! Bashing the UK’s response to lockdown decisions has become a fashion; a common, politicised trope using massaged, or ignoring, inconvenient data. How commentators can ignore the living standards, temperament and key societal differences and challenges between the UK and Sweden is beyond me. Had we ‘let it rip’ the consequences in this overcrowded ‘Sceptre’d Isle’ would have been disastrous leading to a very different and sadder outcome.
Time will tell which statistics are right. Another respected source has Sweden’s death rate twice that of its locked down Nordic neighbours. Sweden’s own official enquiry into how well it fared states that its death rate prior to vaccines kicking in, was high, and that its immigrant population, living in worse conditions that the average Swede, fared the worst. This is what we’d expect, relative poverty and overcrowding accelerate epidemics. Its always good to look at multiple sources of data.
The immigrant population’s living conditions are in principle no worse than that of working class Swedes and miles better than that of immigrants in other countries. The overcrowding and lack of adherence to the Covid guidelines issued (published in several languages) was more a cultural issue and partly a result of earlier immigrants taking in newer arrivals from their families following them.
You make a fair point, but overcrowding is overcrowding, whether its culturally or economically drive, and I’m sure it’s both. We’ve known since Victorian times that overcrowding and relative poverty are [apart from baseline infectivity] the two biggest drivers of epidemics.
Cumulative covid deaths by country:
That doesn’t look like a success to me. Those people needlessly died because of their loose policies and creating a new comforting narrative about excess mortality on a spreadsheet will not bring them back to life.
Are you not looking at a different metric here – I am guessing your death figures are deaths per 100,000 or similar. That is a very blunt measure of the issue surely as it takes no account of demographics. Excess deaths figures are far more subtle – given that Covid was largely fatal to people around the normal age of mortality it is important to focus on excess deaths as this effectively smooths out the effects of old age. And no it won’t bring anybody back to life but we should also reflect on the young lives that have been lost as a result of lockdowns and be sure that the measure is used if ever again in a far more measured way.
The figures are total covid deaths from ourworldindata.org here
Seems to me that those sceptic of lockdowns would prefer to use as you say, a different metric and create a different narrative. Of course there is a wider discussion on lockdown harms however, and it’s an interesting article concerning Swedish behaviour, but in no way did they ‘perform exceptionally well’, it’s a ridiculous claim.
“These people needlessly died…”
Isn’t the point that if you are near or at the end of life you will die from something, cold, ‘flu, pneumonia, a fall… or Covid. Looking at excess deaths allows you to see if more people than expected have died and allows you to evaluate an intervention to save lives.
If you are dead it’s irrelevant to you what saw you off!
This statement is absolutely true as long as the person who dies is not close to you. Then you have to look for someone to blame.
I partly agree if it’s natural causes. But what of neglect? If your elderly parent died from a contagious disease that is allowed to let rip in the nursing home would you feel that was a natural death ?
It’s not ridiculous at all. They had the second lowest excess mortality in Europe in 2020 and 2021 and they didn’t smash their economy, their health service, their youngsters’ education and their citizens’ basic freedoms. Sweden followed the pandemic preparedness plan which was informed by decades of disease management. The rest of the world went crazy, and created problems far greater and longer lasting than the disease.
An excellent riposte, thank you.
Incidentally you’re wasting your time with Robbie.He is a wannabe Commissar who has been denied his natural vocation….classicide!
Cool. Do I get a big sword?
Most of the people who died in the first wave of covid did so in the end-of-life nursing homes and alone in their homes which were visited by hemtjänst — the people who come by a few times a week and prepare meals, do the heavy cleaning, etc. This makes sense, as this is where the eldest people, those who were most likely to die of covid are living in Sweden — either in care homes or at home with home help — which is state provided.
So the question is, how much exposure did those people have to the population as a whole? And for the nursing homes, the answer is none. They were locked down completely. This meant that a lot of people who had been promised that they would be able to die with their family surrounding them instead died alone, with nobody but nursing home staff around. And, according to surveys, the answer for most of the other elderly was ‘very little to none’. The whole country mobilised to get them their groceries, as did amazon and other delivery services. They were asked to not see their friends, and not see their families, and that, for the most part they did.
So how did these people end up dead? They caught covid from their health care providers, and from hemtjänst. There was a terrible failiure there. There was a lack of PPE equipment, lack of tests, and a lack of training in how to properly use the equipment. Compounding the problem was the belief that people could only transmit covid when they had symptoms, (based on reports from China). We learned, to our sorrow, that, there is a good 12 hours before you show a fever, the usual first symptom than you can be sick and infectious. Not everybody is, but it is true of very many.
All of these were catastrophic. There is a great deal of blame to go around about lack of preparedness. But shutting down the rest of the country wouldn’t have done these people any good. The people who gave them covid would be the first people listed as essential workers who would be required to go to work and continue on doing what they were doing — which was itself the problem. And they were catching their covid from the hospitals and other health care workers, not from the restaurants and the bars. In the early days, we could trace the different strains and thus we knew that it was health services that was responsible for the bulk of the community transmission that was resulting in hospitalisation and death.
Hooray ! at last ! some real honest reporting.
I agree with your premise that a major vector was via health services – not helped by swathes of healthcare workers at all levels who refused the vaccine – giving oxygen to the anti-vaccine trolls on social media.
Is that per capita?
Why is it important to you that Lockdowns are good?
I hope we never ever have another lockdown, they are not ‘good’. They had to be done however as there was no other realistic option, at that time(s).
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe