Unlike their neighboring European countries, Swedish officials made the choice not to implement a nationwide lockdown. The government said that they trusted people would do their part to stay safe.
Since the coronavirus was officially declared, a worldwide pandemic, Swedish schools, restaurants, gyms, and bars, have remained open—with social distancing rules enforced. Group gatherings are restricted to 50 people maximum. After 60 days of the rest of the world enforcing different versions of stay-at-home orders, experts say, the death toll in the Scandinavian country is not exactly the “worst-case” scenario some predicted.
Like in other parts of the world, COVID-19 deaths in Sweden hit the country’s elderly at a more disproportionate rate than any other group. The data compiled by the ‘New York Times’ states that almost 30 percent more people have died during the pandemic than is normal during this time of year. In the country’s capital of Stockholm, twice the usual number of people died last month. Yet, the Swedish government says, their hospitals have not been overwhelmed. In fact, numbers show that the mortality rate is lower than many countries that did impose much stricter lockdowns.
Andrew Noymer, a demographer at the University of California at Irvine spoke with the ‘Times’ about whether or not skipping the lockdown would affect their population in the long-term. “Sweden will be judged at the finish line,” he said. “But it’s a very high-stakes risk, and the consequences are people’s lives.”