Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph:
It is important to stress that Sweden is not being insouciant. Its people have been told to work from home if they can and to avoid unnecessary contact. Sports fixtures and meetings of more than 50 people are banned. Cafés can serve customers at tables, but not at the bar. Many Swedes, especially the elderly, are isolating themselves by choice. Personal spending, measured by bank card transactions, is down 30 per cent – though, by comparison, the fall in Norway is 66 per cent and in Finland 70 per cent.
So it’s not a laissez faire policy. And “according to the pollster Novus, 76 per cent support the public health agency.” There’s definitely a price to this strategy, though. As of today, Sweden has had 217 Covid deaths per million inhabitants, while its locked-down neighbors Norway and Finland have had about 35 per million. The U.S. has had 165 per million.
Scott Sumner points out that the better model of a country with no lock-down is Taiwan. Remarkably it has had a grand total of six deaths, or .25 per million inhabitants. The difference?
Taiwan was impacted by the SARS epidemic, and its government took this issue very seriously. There was lots of testing, quarantining of those infected, and tracing of contacts. The Taiwanese people were encouraged to wear masks, and take other precautions.
As far as I can tell, the Swedes did not take the crisis as seriously, seeming to content themselves with the inevitability of mass infections.