Health authorities in Sweden have refused to follow the rest of Europe by imposing new coronavirus lockdown measures on their population, arguing that those beset by loneliness and misery of being isolated have suffered enough.
Despite Sweden mirroring other countries on the continent with rising coronavirus infections, the government has held firm in refusing to lockdown its population, weighing the untold misery and health impacts of isolation against the threat of COVID-19.
“The elderly, they said, have suffered enough,” writes Fraser Nelson. “They have spent months being advised to avoid public transport, shopping malls and other parts of everyday life. And the result? Loneliness. Misery. This is more than unpleasant: it quickly translates into depression, mental health issues and mortality. “We cannot only think about infection control,” said Lena Hallengren, Sweden’s health minister, “we also need to think about public health.” An important distinction: focus on Covid to the exclusion of other conditions and you risk lives.”
Hallengren’s 21 page report also uncovered a “decline in mental health” that was “likely to worsen the longer the recommendations remain in place,” leading officials to lift lockdown restrictions that previously applied to over-70s.
After deciding to take a “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, Sweden was roundly condemned for not following the harsh lockdowns imposed by virtually every other major European country.
However, as Newsweek acknowledged, Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate is lower than those of Spain, the UK and Italy, countries which all imposed draconian lockdowns.
Unlike the rest of the continent, Sweden’s economy is also in a far better position to make a swifter recovery.
The country’s senior epidemiologist Anders Tengell has also criticized the wearing of face masks as “very dangerous” because it gives a false sense of security but does not effectively stem the spread of the virus.