The Swedish exceptionalism: What it means and why he is not undisputed

So some people look in these weeks, perhaps longingly to Sweden. Not necessarily because of the diverse cities, such as Stockholm or the beautiful nature. But rather because of the measures in the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus. While in Germany and also in Sweden’s neighbouring countries, Restaurants, gyms or shopping centers to keep their doors closed, it looks completely different, almost as there would be no Virus.

The Swedish exceptionalism in the corona of a crisis triggered in a number of countries, confusion. In many places, and, not least, the neighbours in Denmark and Norway, one wonders if the Swedes knowingly and with open eyes in the catastrophe to run – or your strategy will pay off.

In the outdoor cafes and Parks of the capital, Stockholm, the people are bustling, especially in the good weather of the last few days. Department stores, hairdressers and Restaurants are open, as well as kindergartens and primary schools. Instead is Forbidden to put the Swedes to keep my distance and to stay in the event of illness at home.

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Many recommendations, little rules

In fact, there are many clues that have been published by the health authority Folkhälsomyndigheten. For example, for a sufficient distance to jobs worries and more digital meetings, large gatherings of people, or to avoid public transport. Older people over 70 years of age is advised to limit social contacts.

Kristina Lundgren tried to keep to the recommendations. She is well over 80, and their age group, the government strongly recommends that close contacts to other people to avoid. In your block of flats in Stockholm, she lives with elderly and students. Your weekly Coffee Klatch and the cinema screening had been cancelled, and if Lundgren hits the Free on neighbors, keeping two meters distance. “We have to stick to the rules,” she says. Her cousin had recently died as a result of the lung disease Covid-19. However, for the young people in the house that seems to be not relevant. “I notice that the invite despite the recommendations of the health authority still friends.”

However, in Sweden there are also prohibitions and restrictions – it is not just a recommendation. These measures has published the crisis information page of the authorities on the Internet, according to public events and gatherings are allowed to have a maximum of 50 participants. This refer to demonstrations, markets, concerts, fairs or sporting events. Of these, private parties, corporate events, libraries, swimming pools and schools were the exception but. The prohibition also applies to persons present in large quantities in public transport, on squares, in shopping malls, and the like, it is said by the health authority.

Restaurants are subject to the rules

Also, The Entry says: to Sweden from outside the EU. This ban applies until 15. May. But here, too, there are some exceptions. So-Swedish citizens and people with a residence permit are not affected in the same way as citizens of a state of the European economic area (the UK and Switzerland included) and their family members who return home. Also people work with a health professional or the in the transport sector. From trips to Austria, Italy, China, Iran and South Korea is not recommended.

And even if Restaurants and cafes may be open, so also these rules must adhere to. So it must be ensured that there is sufficient distance between the guests. Visitors are only allowed to sit at a table and, if possible, food and drinks should be picked up ordered.

Sweden’s comparatively lax Corona-measures may also have advantages. The more open establishments, and Local could mean that the economy is less suffering or threatens livelihoods. In fact, the Swedish car maker, Volvo Cars has taken on Monday production at its plant in the Swedish Torslanda again. The work was for the 26. March closed in order to avoid that the employees infecting each other with the Corona Virus. On the other hand, the Reuters news Agency reported that the unemployment increases. A package of aid had been brought on the way, however, we expect a decline in the economy of four percent. But for parents open schools and kindergartens might be at home a relief. And probably could have a normal social life, but also health benefits for people, particularly in psychological terms.

Sweden has high numbers of dead

The social life is thriving, at least in the young, but, has its price. In Sweden, a far more Infected were registered with the Coronavirus as in the other Nordic countries, until Wednesday afternoon in 1937, people with a Covid-19 disease died, more than 16,000 are infected. For comparison: In Denmark, there were approximately 380 deaths, in Norway, around 170. To note: Both countries have half as many inhabitants as Sweden.

Regardless of the high Figures of Sweden, the government and the health authority rely on the state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. He is a symbol for the Swedish exceptionalism. School and border closures, he holds nothing, even otherwise, his strategy is different than the one that have almost chosen all the other in Europe. “We believe, we achieve, with voluntary participation as much as other countries with restrictions,” said Tegnell on Monday. It is unlikely that Sweden will change the direction.

The Numbers of the past few days seem to confirm his theory. On Friday, Karin Tegmark I spoke of the health authority of a downward trend in the number of the dead. “There are still a large number of deceased per day, but we see no increase, but a slowdown.”

Massive criticism from the pages of science

This point of view, others do not share. Nearly 2000 scientists have called on the Swedish government in a letter to rethink. Among them, Bo Lundbäck, Professor of clinical epidemiology of lung diseases in Gothenburg. He holds the high death figures is unacceptable, and the price that Sweden, in the Corona-battle paid is too high. “I don’t see that Sweden is pursuing a specific strategy, and I see no Trend,” he says in an interview with the German press Agency. “The guidelines are much too vague and people are confused.”

Last week, 22 scientists in the Swedish newspaper “Dagens Nyheter had called for” tougher measures in Sweden in the fight against the Corona-spread in the state, including Lundbäck. “The approach must radically and quickly changed,” it States, for example, social distancing needs to be strengthened. Likewise, should be closed according to the authors, schools and Restaurants.

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ACE the pubs and shopping centres in Stockholm at the weekend, showing that the message had not arrived correctly, says Lundbäck. “People seem to think this was a game of ice hockey: Sweden versus the Rest of the world.” It would be registered every day hundreds of new infections. “We in Sweden think that we are better than the other, and don’t have to listen to the WHO. This is stupid.”

Tegnell immunity speaks of Stove

To state epidemiologist Tegnell, criticism bounces off. He believes that Sweden is in a different Phase than its neighbors and, therefore, higher Numbers have. Again and again he speaks of herd immunity – that is, the spread of the Virus is stopped, because more and more people are immune, either because they have overcome the disease or been vaccinated. “Our mathematical models suggest that there is in may in Stockholm may be a herd immunity,” said the epidemiologist, in an Interview with the Norwegian broadcasting company NRK last week. The capital is most affected (stern reported). However, Tegnell acknowledged that the high mortality rate in nursing homes is a Problem.

“In Sweden must not be wrong,” says Claus Wendt of the University of Siegen, Germany, has analysed the backgrounds of the Swedish special path. The country was well placed to respond to the pandemic. The Swedes are generally in good health, there is little poverty and social inequality, and the health data of the people were captured. “A similar data level, in order to detect the development and spread of diseases in the course of time, is for Germany not available,” says Wendt.

That Sweden has used his good starting position, is not evident at first glance. In Norway and Denmark, it has not slowed down the spread of the Virus, but oppressed with so great success, that the schools, kindergartens, hairdressers and dentists can at least open the part again.

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If herd immunity is the goal, Sweden

Prof. Dr. J. Christian Virchow, Director of the Department of pneumology at the University hospital in Rostock, said the star to the meaningfulness of the lock downs, that without these a much worse course give. Sweden based, he said: “I wish the Sweden, this is your model good. Based on our model calculations, it could succeed if there is mass contagions absence.” This should not, however, be the case, “then the battle against the pandemic will not be lied to by virologists, epidemiologists or Infection, but on the existing, sufficient and equipped intensive care units won or lost.”

It is unclear, however, where the path of the Sweden lead to just: If herd immunity is the goal, then the country is a bit further. The Swedes could escape a second virus wave, Norway, Denmark and Germany, to risk, to your country, but if you are not prepared.

For the lung specialists Lundbäck such a new shaft would be in spite of everything, but the better scenario. “We don’t know enough about a possible immunity,” he says. “But we know that we have in the autumn of medications available to help against the Virus.” The most Important thing is to test as many as possible. After all, he is in agreement with Tegnell and the government: it has stated a few days ago, the goal is to allow significantly more people to test.

Sources: news Agency DPA, “Dagens Nyheter”, Sundhedsstyrelsen, Folkehelsinstitutet, Folkhälsomyndigheten, krisinformation.se, government of Sweden, Reuters

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