Fredrik Erixon reports in Spectator USA:
Two weeks ago, I wrote about ‘The Swedish experiment’ in The Spectator. As the world went into lockdown, Sweden opted for a different approach to tackling coronavirus: cities, schools and restaurants have remained open. This was judged by critics to be utterly foolish: it would allow the virus to spread much faster than elsewhere, we were told, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. Hospitals would become like warzones.
The country’s Public Health Agency and the ‘state epidemiologist’, Anders Tegnell, have kept their cool and still don’t recommend a lockdown. They are getting criticized by scientific modelers but the agency is sticking to its own model of how the virus is expected to develop and what pressure hospitals will be under. The government still heeds the agency’s advice; no party in the opposition argues for a lockdown. Rather, opinion polls show that Swedes remain strongly in favor of the country’s liberal approach to the pandemic.
We now have about 530 patients in intensive care in the country: our hospital capacity is twice as high at 1,100. Stockholm now averages about 220 critical care patients per day and its hospitals, far from being overwhelmed, have capacity for another 70.
There is also a broader case for it. Lockdown policies harm basic civil liberties: in Sweden these liberties are, with some exceptions, intact.
So Sweden isn’t edging closer to a lockdown. The vast majority of people think Sweden broadly opted for a balanced and effectual policy and current trends support that view. Everyone is upset about carelessness in nursing homes — that a very high share of our death toll is elderly nursing home residents — and that emergency plans were so poor and medical contingency stocks so small. People will be held to account.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.