Where to start with when it comes to the results of Sweden’s COVID-19 response? Sweden decided to tell their seniors to stay at home, and they essentially left most of their economy open. The idea was that the younger Swedes would achieve herd immunity and protect the more vunerable seniors and others in their population. And Sweden would avoid the economic damage of a hard lockdown for COVID-19. Keep this in mind: the idea was to protect BOTH seniors and Sweden’s economy. SPOILER ALERT: so far, the Swedes have achieved neither intended result.
Should we all be heartless conservatives and look at the Swedish economy and ignore the deaths? Yeah, why not! Money seems to be what conservatives care about, so how is the Swedish economy doing? Ummmm…
Sweden’s highly contested response to Covid-19 left much of the economy open. Even so, the country is now headed for its worst recession since World War II.
Scandinavia’s biggest economy will shrink 7% this year, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Tuesday. Shortly after she spoke, the debt office revealed an historic 30-fold spike in borrowing to cover emergency spending amid record job losses. A separate survey showed 40% of businesses in Sweden’s service sector now fear bankruptcy.
Andersson said her country is now seeing “a very deep economic crisis.” She also said the “deep downturn in the economy is happening faster than we expected.”
Marten Bjellerup, chief economist at the debt office in Stockholm, says he thinks Sweden will fare “somewhat better” than others, but acknowledged “the difference is marginal.”
What??? A 7% decrease in the Swedish economy! Record job losses! The wonderful service sector with 40% bankruptcies! So it ain’t so Sven! And only a “marginal” difference between the Swedish economy and others in Europe!
But weren’t the Swedes supposed to shop until they dropped? I guess something went wrong. And speaking of dropping, or simply dropping dead, how about Sweden’s death rate from COVID-19?
Sweden tops Europe COVID-19 deaths per capita over last seven days
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden, which has opted for a more open strategy in combating the virus than other European countries, has the highest number of deaths in Europe per capita from the COVID-19 disease over the last seven days, data showed.
Sweden has kept most schools, restaurant and businesses open during the pandemic. While deaths are on the decline Sweden had 6.25 deaths per million inhabitants per day in a rolling seven day average between May 12 and May 19, according to Ourworldinsata.org. That was the highest in Europe and just above the United Kingdom, which had 5.75 deaths per million.
Over the course of the pandemic Sweden still has fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, which have all opted for lockdowns, but much higher than Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland.
Emboldened is mine.
And who is paying the price for this viral pandemic strategy?
Care home residents account for nearly half of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Sweden. Some healthcare workers believe an institutional reluctance to admit patients to hospital is costing lives.
Lili Sedghi's father, Reza, was not seen by a doctor on the day he died from coronavirus, at his care home in northern Stockholm.
A nurse told her he'd had a morphine shot in the hours before he passed away, but he was not given oxygen, nor did staff call an ambulance. “No-one was there and he died alone,” says Ms Sedghi. “It's so unfair.”
Most of the 3,698 people who have died from coronavirus in Sweden so far were over 70, despite the fact that the country said shielding risk groups was its top priority.
Some will argue that it is still too soon to declare the Swedish model a bust, but how many dead people does it take to prove a model wrong? How much lost income does it take to justify the loss of life? As a former scientist, I am glad that I never had to design experiments that required the loss of human lives. And this is what the Swedish model for the coronavirus has become. An experiment with humans as the laboratory rats.