When foreign commentators discuss Sweden’s light-touch response to Covid-19, they tend to adopt an affronted tone. Which is, on the surface, surprising. You’d think everyone would be willing the Nordic country to succeed. After all, if Sweden can come through the epidemic without leaving a smoking crater where its economy used to be, there is hope for the rest of the world. So far, many signs appear encouraging. The disease seems to be following the same basic trajectory in Sweden as elsewhere.
Although we must wait for complete data, modelling by country’s authorities suggests that the infection rate in Stockholm peaked on 8 April. If so, we need to consider the implication, namely that, once basic hygiene and distancing measures are in place, tightening the screw further perhaps makes little difference. Which would be good news for the rest of us. Adopting Sweden’s more laissez-faire response might not restore our economies to full health, but it would at least allow us to bring them out of their induced comas….
25 APRIL 2020 • 6:00PM