There is no doubt how COVID-19 changed the world, both in a good and bad way. As of now, there are already more than two million COVID-19 cases around the world. Unfortunately, it seems that we will have to wait for months until a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available.
Thousands have already perished from the disease. Contrary to what we know, it does not choose its victims. It does not see through anyone’s gender, social status, age, and race. Whether we like it or not, we are all at risk of having the disease.
Somehow, some positive things happened as a result of the global pandemic. We have realized how important having a good healthcare system is. It also made us more conscious of our hygiene. More importantly, it has made us closer to our loved ones despite “social distancing”.
Still, we are far from over. We are yet to get our hands on the vaccine that will cure this disease. In the meantime, we should keep ourselves healthy and clean.
What Sweden does in response to COVID-19
Most countries have been practicing social/physical distancing at least a month ago. A lot of them also implemented lockdowns or quarantine periods. People are advised to stay at home and go out only when necessary.
The Netherlands and the UK adopted the herd immunity strategy. Their policy is laxer than other countries that implemented total lockdowns. Later on, the Netherlands and the UK decided for lockdowns instead.
Meanwhile, Sweden has a different strategy in controlling COVID-19. Instead of implementing a lockdown, the government relies on its citizens to follow measures to prevent the spread of the virus. And the Swedish government believes it’s working.
Despite the potential threat of the spread of the virus, restaurants and bars are still open. Children still have to go to school. Public events and crowding were prohibited. It’s up to the people to follow distancing measures and practice proper hygiene.
Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said they rely on “people taking responsibility themselves”. However, they still implemented preventive measures such as banning unnecessary travel.
People are also encouraged to work at home and stay at home if they feel sick. People who are 70 and above are encouraged to stay at home as well. Visiting nursing homes are also discouraged.
As expected, Sweden’s actions became a controversial one. Its action plan is – for a lack of a better term – one-of-a-kind. Even Denmark, its neighboring country, has a different way to tackle the disease. For now, the latter is lifting its restrictions and slowly regaining its freedom that was lost due to the virus.
Is Sweden’s strategy effective?
On the one hand, Sweden’s strategy can be a good thing. It is like the government passed on the responsibility to its citizens to make the preventive strategy successful.
In other words, it teaches Swedes to be responsible for their actions. Otherwise, they will suffer the consequences of not being careful.
However, Sweden’s strategy to contain the virus seemed to be in vain. As of April 16, Sweden has more than 11,000 total confirmed cases with more than 1,200 recorded deaths. And the deaths are increasing day by day.
The Swedish government has a high level of trust toward its citizens. It is also likely that Swedes will stay at home since a lot of them are home-based. Experts also believe that Swedes trust their government as well and they are willing to follow its orders.
However, skeptics fear that Sweden may also end up like the UK which adopted the herd immunity strategy. As of date, the UK is at 6th place in terms of total COVID-19 cases almost reaching 100,000. Had the UK not pulled out its herd immunity strategy, deaths could reach up to 250,000.
Expectation vs. reality
Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Löfven mentioned that the spread of the virus has slowed down in the country. But this doesn’t mean Sweden is not exempted from the virus’s fatal consequences.
The Prime Minister expects that they “will have more… ill people who need intensive care [and] more deaths [by the] thousands.” This, even though the country has not implemented measures to avoid the further spread of the virus.
Still, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell believes that the country is doing okay. Tegnell adds that “Swedish healthcare is handling [the] pandemic fantastically.” However, the WHO seems unconvinced. It has called out the country to take further actions to contain the virus.
The organization instructed Sweden to implement necessary measures to control COVID-19. At the same time, to ensure the country’s healthcare efficiency.
Regardless of every country’s strategy, the important thing is the cooperation of its citizens. What is the use of preventive measures if people do not follow it?
At the end of the day, it’s not about whether you live in a first-world or third-world country. It’s about everyone’s cooperation which can make this fight against the virus successful.