Sweden’s strategy was subjected to a global smear campaign, but now it’s showing results.
Before the coronavirus, Sweden for most people symbolised moderation and fairness. But since Covid, this Scandinavian social democracy has been maligned like few other countries on earth. The reason is, of course, that Sweden did not follow the rest of the world into lockdown. And because even their proponents recognise that lockdowns come at an extraordinarily high price — eviscerating our freedoms, laying waste to our economies and even damaging our health — the only European country which attempted to tread a more liberal path became the target of an extreme and hysterical smear campaign.
Throughout the spring and early summer, the negative headlines were relentless. The New York Times repeatedly branded Sweden a ‘pariah state’, while its no-lockdown policy apparently made it ‘the world’s cautionary tale’.
The liberal Guardian used to regularly hail Sweden as a ‘model for global prosperity’ — though one which ‘right-wingers’ were ‘desperate’ to see fail. But during the pandemic, the same paper denounced Sweden as a ‘model for the right’ and branded its Covid policy a ‘deadly folly’.
According to this view, Sweden’s policy was not only misguided but also sinister. The refusal to shut down society was akin to playing ‘Russian roulette’ with people’s lives. Public support in Sweden for the less restrictive policy revealed ‘the dark side of nationalism’, which could pose a danger to ‘vulnerable minorities’, according to the Washington Post.
The world looked on in fascination and terror as Swedes were still allowed to go to bars and restaurants, schools remained open for everyone under 16 and gatherings were still permitted for up to 50 people. For Anders Tegnell, the man in charge of Sweden’s Covid policy, full-on lockdown was ‘using a hammer to kill a fly’.
The media consensus was that Sweden was conducting a dangerous ‘experiment’ in ‘Swedo-science’, which had ‘well and truly failed’. But in reality, it was the rest of the world that was playing a cruel experiment, which disrupted people’s lives for little gain.
As we enter the autumn, the UK, France, Spain and other European countries are currently panicking over rising Covid case numbers, and the contrast with Sweden’s situation is becoming harder to ignore. The Times tells us that ‘Sweden’s low positive test rate “vindicates [its] coronavirus strategy”’. The Sun points out that ‘lockdown-free Sweden’ has recorded its ‘lowest number of Covid cases since March’, as ‘other countries’ are hit by a ‘second wave’. And the Guardian acknowledges that Sweden was spared the ‘European surge as coronavirus infections stay low’.
Source: Fraser Myers | spiked