Sweden’s refusal to lock down citizens or businesses during the pandemic has resulted in fewer excess COVID deaths in Sweden than what the average country experienced.
Unlike most countries, Sweden’s health authorities decided to keep businesses open and allowed citizens to assume their own risks.
According to Carl Heneghan, a professor at the University of Oxford in evidence-based medicine, Sweden’s decision “not to interrupt transmission entirely but to reduce the pandemic’s health impact has largely been vindicated.”
“The strategy in the future should be to trust the public in the face of escalating risks to their health to make the right choices,” he said.
According to data just released by the WHO, Sweden had 56 excess deaths per 100,000 from 2020 to 2021. However, the average excess deaths per 100,000 for all countries during that period was 96 — almost twice as many excess deaths as Sweden experienced.
Under Angela Merkel’s strict, segregationist COVID policies, Germany had more than double the excess deaths (116) as Sweden.
Thus, while pro-lockdown mainstream media types were eager to slam Sweden for its ‘careless’ policies, these attacks were clearly wrong.
With that said, two of Sweden’s most closely neighbouring countries, Norway and Denmark (who imposed light restrictions for a brief period), had lower excess death rates, at –1 and +32, respectively, so there’s some disagreement about the effectiveness of Sweden’s pandemic response. Finland had +55 excess deaths, just one less than Sweden.
Moreover, while pro-lockdown policies were supposedly put in place to save lives at the expense of the economy, Sweden’s economy didn’t suffer nearly as much. In fact, it bounced back faster than any other European country.
In all, it’s challenging to state which policies were more effective than others definitively. Each country’s respective impacts are still playing out — such as the economic hardships and missed cancer screenings caused by those that issued lockdowns. But so far, Sweden’s decision appears to be panning out better than most.