Is Sweden's strategy to keep major parts of society open amid Coronavirus crisis working?

  • Public Health Agency anticipated mild effects of coronavirus on majority of population

  • The country aims to establish voluntarily social distancing measures that could last for a longer time

Sweden strategized to keep major parts of its society open and did not choose to impose lockdown to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. Myth is going around that life there is normal as the world is seeing the photos of open bars with outdoor seating and kiosks around ice-cream cycles.

The crux of Sweden's strategy was to create awareness and people to inhabit voluntary social distancing. According to the BBC, data reflects that usage of public transport has significantly dropped and the majority of people opted to work from home. The government have banned visiting elderly care homes and capped large gatherings up to 50 people.

Their approach by scientists has been the topic of global debate if Sweden adopted a sensible and sustainable plan or this experiment would lead causing unnecessary fatalities. Capital of Sweden, Stockholm experienced a spike in number of coronavirus cases by the end of this week, still, there is space in intensive care units.

Reason behind keeping society open

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State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said, "To a great part, we have been able to achieve what we set out to achieve. Swedish healthcare keeps on working, basically with a lot of stress, but not in a way that they turn patients away." His team anticipated limited impact of the virus in other regions of Europe who introduced lockdown. Accordingly, they decided to leave larger parts of society open than most of Europe. In addition, Swedish Public Health Agency supported the idea that the major proportion of cases are likely to be mild.

The main aim of the scientists was to introduce social distancing measures that can be maintained for a longer period of time. Many countries in the Nordic region initially imposed stricter restrictions that were relaxed eventually.

Sweden's condition?

Sweden comes under top 20 most-affected countries in terms of coronavirus cases. Instead of just checking people with severe symptoms, authorities are now increasing the number of tests starting from key workers. Nearly half of the coronavirus deaths include elderly care home residents, which is a major concern, admits Dr Tengell.

Claudia Hanson, an epidemiologist from Karolinska Institutet criticized the government approach and support that society should have been temporarily shut down in March.

Scientists are more concentrated on how many Swedes are infected with the virus without showing the symptoms. Many scientists believe that many Swedish patients will end up with higher immunity level as compared to others living in stricter restrictions. History will decide which countries got it right.

Related topics : Coronavirus