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It is not business as usual, not in Sweden, not anywhere.
Sweden's approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has drawn global attention totally disproportionate to the relatively small size that this Scandinavian country of 10m people. That's because Sweden was the only EU country not to lock down, keeping its schools, restaurants, and borders open. But whereas its Nordic neighbours have had low death tolls due to coronavirus, Sweden has had one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.
I'm driving into Sweden now. On this side of the bridge, in Norway, there was a lockdown. And after three months of coronavirus they've had about 240 deaths. On the other side of the bridge, in Sweden, however, in the same period, they've had about 4,700 deaths. That's 10 times higher than Norway per capita.
Of course, we're suffering. Everybody in the world is suffering right now in different ways. But Swedish healthcare, which I guess is very difficult to understand. It's taking care of this in a very, very good manner. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of stress on the personnel. And it's really a fight for them every day. But it's working.
Swedish authorities have tried to defend their strategy, insisting that people were largely working from home, keeping their distance, and washing their hands, as well as arguing that even if worse than Norway or Denmark, Sweden had fared better than Belgium, the UK, or Spain.
Here in Sweden's second city of Gothenburg, the public mood is mixed. Most people support the approach. But there are worries about the high number of deaths in care homes, such as this one, in Northeastern Gothenburg, where more than a quarter of residents have died in the past three months.
They thought the strategy would work. But I don't think that they saw how big the problems were with elderly homes and how the disease will spread so widely. The problem is that I think if we could have made it, as we should have done it, keeping distances, not sitting around in coffee shops or bars so closely, I don't think the infection would have spread that much. That's just my opinion.
Sweden's strategy was always based on the idea that their measures could last a very long time, unlike lockdowns. If a second wave hits other countries hard in the autumn and winter that approach could seem prescient. Otherwise, though, the high death toll relative to its Nordic neighbours could come back to haunt Sweden.