Throughout the pandemic all the European countries imposed strict lockdowns to reduce the impact of the virus, however, Sweden chose an unorthodox approach that drew international attention as the country didn’t even impose a lockdown. The strategy did seem to work on the economic side of the country but coronavirus in Sweden claimed at least 4500 lives for the period from January to June taking the total to 51,405 which is the highest tally in the country during the first half of the year for 150 years.
It’s the highest death toll in Sweden for the first half of the year since 1869 when nearly 55,431 deaths occurred largely due to famine. The population of the country at the time was only 4.1 million as compared to today’s 10.3 million. Due to coronavirus in Sweden, the deaths are 10 percent higher as compared to the average in the last five years, according to the country’s statistics office.
Anders Tegnell Sweden’s top infectious disease expert and who was the architect of the country’s unique approach argued yesterday that face masks could be very dangerous. He said that the face coverings make people more careless in crowded places as they think that they are safe by only a piece of cotton.
Recently, in an interview, Dr. Tegnell said that it is very dangerous to believe that face masks can change the game during covid19. Face masks can complement other things when other things of safety are in place and to start with having face masks and think that now the buses and shopping malls can be crowded is a mistake, Tegnell said.
Dr. Tegnell said that the findings produced through face masks are astonishingly weak, even though a lot of people wear it around the globe. He’s surprised that there are not more or better studies showing what does mask does. He further said that countries such as Belgium and Spain made masks mandatory for the public but the number of cases has still risen. He believes that the belief that masks can solve the problems, in any case, is very dangerous.
The number of deaths in April was nearly 40 percent higher due to a surge in coronavirus in Sweden. Although the country has struggled in limiting its death toll as compared to its Nordic neighbors, the country’s deaths related to coronavirus are much lesser than Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Norway with a population of nearly 5.4 million which is almost half of Sweden’s population has only 260 coronavirus related deaths as compared to Sweden’s 5800.
The majority of the schools remained open and also businesses were allowed to operate to some extent which resulted in better economic performance than most. However, despite a tougher lockdown, Finland outperformed Sweden in the 2nd quarter as Sweden’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shrank 8.6% against a 5% contraction in Finland from the previous quarter. These figures seem much better when compared to the UK’s GDP which shrank by 20.4 percent in the 2nd quarter.