Do you remember the early days of the pandemic, when people like Tucker Carlson and Senator Rand Paul advocated for the United States by following the Swedish model of avoiding strict lockdowns and letting life go on as usual? in the midst of the highly contagious virus?
Well, at the end of the year, Sweden is in the process of accepting a death toll per million which is about 10 times higher than neighboring Norway and Finland, and now its king has condemned political leaders for their experience, calling the light strategy miserable. and a fatal failure.
“The Swedish people have suffered enormously under difficult conditions,” King Carl XVI Gustaf, traditionally quiet on political issues, told Swedish public television station SVT. He added: “I think we have failed. We have a lot of them who have died, and it is terrible.
While it is remarkable for a king to comment on politics, his actual comments were a statement of the obvious. Anders Tegnell, the country’s leading epidemiologist who devised its anti-lockout strategy, himself admitted that too many people have died and that the country should have done more to prevent the spread of the disease early on.
Throughout the pandemic, Swedes have been allowed to go to restaurants and bars without social distancing measures in place and, until recently, have been allowed to go to the gym and send their children to the school. The country has also broken with the near-universal directive to recommend that protective masks be worn in public, except in hospitals.
The sight of Swedes packing restaurants and bars during the first wave of the pandemic has led some US commentators to urge leaders to follow Sweden’s lead. That way, they said, the economy would be protected and the virus could make its way through the population and provide a good level of herd immunity to slow its spread.
Since then, deaths in Sweden have exploded far beyond neighboring countries of similar size, and Tegnell previously said there was no sign that herd immunity was doing anything to slow the rate of death. infection. And the Swedish economy has always entered a severe recession, although it has been more moderate than that seen in most other European countries.
The rapid rise in new infections has even prompted Sweden to partially abandon its anti-lockdown strategy, with the government imposing stricter rules to reduce the limit on public gatherings to eight out of 50 people, asking high schools to do their distance education. and belatedly banning alcohol sales. Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson warned last month that the measures would hurt the economy, but are necessary.
Speaking to Swedish network TV4 this week, Tegnell said he was shocked by the second wave of the pandemic, saying: “I think many, along with me, are surprised he was able to come back so strongly.”
A poll released Thursday showed support for Tegnell and his approach has plummeted in the past two months.
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