From: PDX (and now) London, UK
Sweden has become an interest of mine as we look for examples of easing measures and opening businesses. They have never closed most of them, and remain in a stable, if growing, position in relation to cases. The growth is slow, the percentage positive in testing is moderately high (~16), but mortality is not higher than many countries who have had much more strict lockdowns.
Interesting article on how and why this works in Sweden, but might not elsewhere.
Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lovin, told the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday "it's a great myth that Sweden hasn't really taken very serious steps" to limit the spread of the virus.
"Every country needs to take its own measures according to its traditions and its systems of governance," Lovin said, a nod to the fact that Sweden's public health agency runs independently, so politicians never get to make decisions about Swedish health.
"It's a real fear that if you have too harsh measures, then they can't be sustained over time, and you can get a counter-reaction, and people would not respect the voluntary recommendations that will need to be respected for a very long time."
The economy has also taken a hit. The Swedish Public Employment Service said on April 20 that 8% of the country is now unemployed, a figure that's projected to continue to rise, possibly hitting 10% by this summer.
"This is not a strategy that has come without any impact on our economy, or on people's freedom," Lovin told the BBC. "We have more than 90,000 people who have been unemployed during these four or five weeks."
Trust in the public is high, and so is the public’s trust in the strategy. Swedes seem happy with the global attention. “Many countries are starting to come around to the Swedish way,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist, told USA Today.
But like so many stories of national exceptionalism in this crisis — the U.K. at one point was convinced it could avoid strict closures, painting them as unscientific, before eventually doing a U-turn — this one is debatable and premature.
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill