Coronavirus: Swedes told to brace for thousands of deaths

Coronavirus: Swedes told to brace for thousands of deaths, by Oliver Moody.

Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Prime Minister has told the country to steel itself for thousands of deaths after 2300 doctors and academics criticised its laissez-faire approach to the pandemic.

The Swedish “mitigation” strategy, under which life has been allowed to go on with a degree of normality for most of the population while the vulnerable have been urged to stay at home, is being closely watched by scientists and political leaders across Europe.

Bars, schools, restaurants, offices and galleries remain open and, until recently, people were allowed to gather in groups of up to 500. With the exception of Belarus, whose dictator claims farm labour can cure the virus, no large European country has allowed its citizens to retain so many old habits.

The Swedish public health authority argues that Swedes can be trusted to practise social distancing voluntarily and use common sense. It also believes that the restrictions must be light enough to be sustained for months if necessary. Yet as the death toll mounted to 401 — in per capita terms, a fatality rate higher than the US’s and slightly behind Iran’s — dissent has grown.

Changing course as reality sets in:

There are signs that Sweden is tightening restrictions. The maximum size of mass events has been cut from 499 to 49 and bars and restaurants were told to offer only table service. A number of cultural institutions, including the Abba museum, the main national gallery, have closed of their own volition.

Olle Kampe, professor of endocrinology at the Karolinska Institute, the country’s foremost medical research centre, accused the government of permitting the virus to spread in the “cynical” hope of achieving herd immunity. …

Delusional Sweden: Humanitarian superpower, and now intrinsically virus-resistant:

Nicholas Aylott, associate professor of political science at Sodertorn University in Stockholm, said Sweden’s distinctive approach had been partly based on national “exceptionalism”. The population is younger and healthier than other European nations. Swedes are also more likely to live alone. As one Swedish author wrote: “Skype-based relationships? No hugging? For Swedes, that’s just life.”

First immigration, now this. The country has a death wish.