Swedish experimentIf There Is a Second Wave of COVID, the Swedish Approach Will Have Been Right All Along

Published 13 July 2020

One country can look to the winter with less trepidation than most. Last week, a study suggested that 30 per cent of Swedes have built up immunity to the virus. It would help explain why COVID-19 has been fizzling out in Sweden. If a measure of herd immunity also helps them avoid the second wave, Sweden’s take-it-on-the-chin approach will be vindicated. Christopher Snowdon writes in The Telegraph that not going into lockdown was described as “a mad experiment” by one expert, while another accused the Swedish government of “leading us to catastrophe.” But the catastrophe never arrived. The pattern of mortality in Sweden is indistinguishable from that of many countries that locked down. Its daily death toll rarely exceeded double figures and has been below 30 since mid-June. As in Britain, half the deaths were in care homes and two-thirds of those who died were aged 80 or over. And what of the costs? “Sweden will not be unscathed by the global recession. Its GDP is expected to decline by 5.3 per cent this year. But GDP is expected to fall by 8.7 per cent in the Eurozone, by 9.7 per cent in Britain and by more than 10 per cent in Italy, France and Spain,” Snowdon writes.