What to learn from Sweden’s handling of COVID-19?

Sweden’s handling of the Coronavirus is something to marvel at.

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The world is going through a frenzy time caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus. It was not too long ago that the World Health Organization dubbed this outbreak a pandemic, meaning the scale of the Coronavirus has reached insurmountable levels.

It goes without saying that everyone is panicking; everyone is scared for their and their relatives’ lives, that’s why we have become extremely sensitive to the ways our governments are handling this situation. 

The strict social policies against the Coronavirus

In many countries like the US, Australia, China, and Norway, the governments have imposed strict social policies in the battle against Coronavirus. The majority of them have closed down schools, restaurants, hotels, and gyms, banned communal gatherings up to a certain number of people (10, 5, or even 3), and some have even gone as far as announcing curfew across the whole country.

These governments adopt the strictest counter-epidemic measures in a belief that strict social distancing will limit the transmission of the Coronavirus and help the nation come out of it relatively untouched. And citizens of those countries seem to be content to their governments’ decisions.

In Norway, as well as other Scandinavian countries apart from Sweden, the government has adopted a strict pandemic policy that doubles down on all social gatherings that are outside of the most crucial services like hospitals, drugstores, and shops. Other than that, all other facilities, whether it’s gyms, hotels, stylish shops, or gambling halls, are temporarily locked down.

Speaking of gambling, what’s quite interesting is that Casinopånett.eu has reported that even online gambling in Norway took quite a serious toll in that even the online games on Spinia, as well as other popular casinos, have been restricted.

Now, while this may not seem like the biggest issue in the world right now, the decision to limit the playtime of online games is definitely a hazy one. The two main governmental institutions that manage the gambling field in Norway haven’t issued any explicit statement as of yet but the users already report on limited access to the online games, which can be even more frustrating in this time of isolation. 

Swedish pandemic strategy – different from its neighbors

On the other side of the spectrum, however, there are countries that don’t necessarily believe that COVID-19 is the biggest adversary to the world right now. In countries like the UK and Sweden, the governments are employing a significantly relaxed counter-epidemic strategy, believing that the unfounded fear and panic is more harmful to society than the infection itself.

Sweden is one of the most controversial cases we have as of yet. The Swedish government has decided to go relatively easy with its restrictive capabilities and allow the economy to function. Under this decision, every school, restaurant, and gym is still operational in the country however, the government has now banned gatherings of more than 50 people in total, which is still a loose restriction considering how strict other governments are in this sense.

Currently, countries in Scandinavia have somewhat similar results as far as the total infection cases are concerned – around 5,000 in Sweden and Norway and 3,000 in Denmark. However, Sweden has more mortality rates that outweigh the same results in the region – almost 250 people according to the Worldometer statistics

These numbers may not seem as alarming as those in other countries like the US or Italy, where there are more than 100,000 infected people and thousands that have died as a result, however, in a smaller scale and considering the population of Sweden, 250 deceased people is still a lot.

Is a relaxed policy more effective?

Seeing how the world governments are reacting to the outbreak, Swedes are starting to take different sides, some arguing that the country is moving towards a massive catastrophe that will leave hundreds of thousands infected and thousands dead. The opponents of stricter policies, on the other hand, argue that if the government decides to lock the country down, the implications will be far more severe than the virus itself.

According to this opinion, there are two major advantages of not closing down schools, restaurants, and other facilities. The first one is that while having schools fully functional, students’ parents who work at healthcare facilities, transportation, or the food supply sector will be able to dedicate their time to work, providing necessary assistance to those in need.

But probably more importantly, the second argument goes like this: if the crucial industries stop functioning and the country doesn’t produce enough products or services, the economy will undergo much more severe crisis that, in the long term, will likely cause even more deaths and suffering than Coronavirus does right now. 

And these types of arguments are raised in other countries as well. In the UK, for instance, Boris Johnson’s government has been reluctant to stop major industries for the same economic concerns, just like Trump’s Administration in the US. However, to the peril for these countries, the relaxed anti-pandemic policy turned out to be a serious mistake: the day Trump announced about his decision to open the country once again, the number of infected people rose by tens of thousands. 

But in Sweden, the government has a different take on this issue. Apart from economic rationale, the officials hope that Swedes will achieve “herd immunity” by letting people undergo a milder version of Coronavirus. This way, their immune system will produce antibodies that will cut the spread of the virus and prevent it from occurring again.

Whether this is true or not, only time will tell. We can only hope that either method doesn’t turn into a social or epidemiological catastrophe and the world comes out of it relatively unharmed.