Unlike the US, Sweden still appears to take academic freedom seriously. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:
We have been discussing erosion of free speech and academic freedom protections at colleges and universities around the United States. Most faculty have been conspicuously silent as their colleagues are attacked, suspended, or even fired for taking opposing views on systemic racism, police brutality, or movements like Black Lives Matter. In Sweden, the response has been quite different after Professor Jonas Ludvigsson, announced that he would stop all further research on Covid-19 after a campaign of abuse and harassment following his study on the low threat that the virus poses to children and teachers. The country is ramping up protections for academics to combat such cancelling campaigns.
Ludvigsson researches and teaches clinical epidemiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. His research is consistent with studies that have long found a low risk to students and teachers. This research was highlighted during the Trump Administration in a call for the resumption of classes but largely ignored by the media. The argument for reopening schools, particularly for young children, was portrayed as political and “not following the science.” Commercial rans that calls to returning to the classroom was tantamount to “murder.” However, the science has been overwhelmingly supportive of such reopening. Indeed, Catholic and other private schools in many states never closed without surges in the virus.
Ludvigsson looked at children from age 1 to 16 during the first wave of COVID-19 and found that only 15 children went to the ICU, for a rate of 0.77 per 100,000. Moreover, in the 1-16 age group, there was only a slight increase from the four-month period before the pandemic to the four-month period following the period.
Such studies contradict the media narrative and the position of teacher unions, including many which continue to oppose a return to the classroom despite the science. Accordingly, Ludvigsson was attacked and hounded out of further research.
Sweden left their schools open. No children died and their parents could go to work. From Arjun Walia at lewrockwell.com:
What Happened: A letter to the editor published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden” has found that “Despite Sweden’s having kept schools and preschools open, we found a low incidence of severe Covid-19 among schoolchildren and children of preschool age during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic…No child with Covid-19 died…Among the 1,951,905 million children who were 1 to 16 years of age, 15 children had Covid-19, MIS-C, or both conditions and were admitted to an ICU, which is equal to 1 child in 130,000.”
Sweden was one of the few countries that decided to keep schools open. The study points out that the number of deaths from any cause among the 1,951,905 children in Sweden (as of December 31, 2019) who were 1 to 16 years of age was 65 during the pre-Covid-19 period of November 2019 through February of 2020 was 65, and 69 during 4 months of exposure to Covid-19 between March and June of 2020. The data shows that there was no significant difference here.
Sweden went its own way and its statistics were no worse and in many cases better than countries that instituted the whole enchilada of Covid-19 restrictions. However, one big difference between Sweden now and most other nations: it appears the Swedes have achieved herd immunity. From Sebastian Rushworth M.D. at sebastianrushworth.com:
At the beginning of August I wrote an article about my experiences working as an emergency physician in Stockholm, Sweden during the covid pandemic. For those who are unaware, Sweden never went in to full lockdown. Instead, the country imposed a partial lockdown that was almost entirely voluntary. People with office jobs were recommended to work from home, and people in general were recommended to avoid public transport unless necessary. Those who were over 70 years old, or who had serious underlying conditions, were recommended to limit social contacts.
The only forcible restriction imposed by the government from the start was a requirement that people not gather in groups of more than 50 at a time. After it became clear that covid was above all dangerous to people in nursing homes, an additional restriction was placed on nursing home visits. At no time has there been any requirement on people to wear face masks in public. Restaurants, cafés, hairdressers, and shops have stayed open throughout the pandemic. Pre-schools and schools for children up to the age of 16 have stayed open, while schools for children ages 16-19 switched to distance learning.
My personal experience is that people followed the voluntary restrictions pretty well at the beginning, but that they have become increasingly lax as time has gone on. As a personal example, my mother and my parents-in-law stayed locked up in their homes for the first six weeks or so of the pandemic. After that they couldn’t bear to be away from their grandchildren any longer.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has demonstrated a lot of courage, independence, and good old common sense during the coronavirus outbreak. From Amelia Janaskie at aier.org:
Most people know South Dakota for the distinguished faces carved onto the side of the Black Hills mountain. Mount Rushmore reminds us of four American leaders who instilled values of freedom and hope in this country.
These values are under attack in our tumultuous coronavirus days. Lockdowns have assaulted core values that we believed were sacrosanct: property rights, in the right to run a business; freedom of association and movement, in the right to travel, gather, work, consume, have fun, and so on. In short, the right to pursue happiness.
Under the leadership of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, however, the Great Plains state has effected a fortress of liberty and hope protected from the grasps of overbearing politicians. And interestingly enough, South Dakota policies echo many of the same values and approaches as Sweden, and both have uncoincidentally experienced positive outcomes.
Recently, Governor Noem has been subjected to media lashings over an incredulous report regarding the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, alleging that it is connected to 266,000 Covid cases. Despite pushback, Noem continues to protect the individual freedoms of South Dakotans against the speculative study, calling it “fiction” owing to faulty assumptions, data, and questionable academic modeling approaches.
There’s the wrong way to do coronavirus, and there’s the Swedish way. From Steve Watson at summitnews.com:
“Sweden has gone from being the country with the most infections in Europe to the safest one.”
NAINA HELEN JAMA / Contributor / Getty Images
As the rest of Europe and the world remains under the grip of draconian rules and the threat of new lockdowns, Sweden, which allowed its citizens to remain free throughout the entire pandemic, has pretty much declared victory over the coronavirus.
The country now has one of the lowest infection rates on the planet, and it’s difficult not to admire how it has handled the past year, with no strict lockdown or compulsory face mask rules. All businesses, schools and public places remained open in Sweden for the duration.
“Sweden has gone from being the country with the most infections in Europe to the safest one,” Sweden’s senior epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell commented to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
“What we see now is that the sustainable policy might be slower in getting results, but it will get results eventually,” Tegnell clarified.
“And then we also hope that the result will be more stable,” he added.
The government of Sweden has the time and resources to go after authors it doesn’t like, but not violent criminals. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- The confiscation of books and the upcoming case against author and comedian Aron Flam has ignited a debate in Sweden about the value of freedom of speech. As Flam has pointed out, a Swedish writer who happens to be Jewish having his books, critical of Swedish-Nazi collaboration during the war, seized by the Swedish state is a bit ironic.
- Uppsala, once a picturesque and peaceful university town, is now the town in Sweden with the most shootings per capita. “The gangs have been allowed to grow” Manne Gerell, a criminologist at Malmö University told SVT Nyheter in December 2019, adding that the police had “woken up” a little too late.
- Perhaps it is time for Sweden’s government to spend fewer resources on prosecuting the speech crimes of pensioners and comedians, and more on fighting violent crime.
|Perhaps it is time for Sweden’s government to spend fewer resources on prosecuting the speech crimes of pensioners and comedians, and more on fighting violent crime. (Image source: iStock)
In June, four armed Swedish police officers seized and confiscated the entire stock of the book Det här är en svensk tiger (“This is a Swedish Tiger“), written by Swedish author and standup comedian, Aron Flam. The book tells the story of how Sweden’s claim of neutrality during World War II covered up a reality of Swedish collaboration with the Nazi war effort and the profits that the Social Democratic government made from the war.
Unique factors have contributed to Sweden’s Covid-19 death rate, and a stringent lockdown wouldn’t have made a difference. From Joakim Book, Christian Bjørnskov, and Daniel B. Klein at aier.org:
This year has been stupefying – only God knows what comes next! What has been so odd in the corona conversation is the persistent lack of nuance. Many have treated the responses to the pandemic with a one-dimensional argument that won’t pass even a rudimentary sniff test. The story goes something like this: The moral imperative of the day is to close down society because that will reduce social interaction, transmission, and deaths.
And suddenly that most darling of countries, Sweden, is deviant and miscreant. Its lighter-touch approach is discussed as “the World’s Cautionary Tale,” a “A Very Swedish Sort of Failure,” and “The Grim Truth about the Swedish ‘Model’.”
Allowing restaurants and schools and hairdressers to remain open in the midst of a contagious pandemic has attracted fierce international opposition. For keeping its society more open than most everyone else, Sweden has paid a hefty price, we are told: almost 6,000 dead in a population of just above 10 million. Had Sweden invoked the strict lockdowns of its Nordic neighbors, so many unnecessary deaths could have been prevented. The usually vaunted Scandinavian country sacrificed its elderly with nothing but kindergartens and some open-air cafés to show for it. An article in Business Insider is titled “Skeptical Experts in Sweden Say Its Decision to Have No Lockdown Is a Terrible Mistake that No Other Nation Should Copy.”
But is the story true?
In a new paper, we consider 15 other factors that help to explain Sweden’s excessive death rate compared to its Nordic neighbors. Sweden was in a very different position than its neighboring countries at the onset of the pandemic – uniquely positioned, if you wish, to suffer a worse outcome from a coronavirus-like pandemic.
Sweden made one mistake in its coranavirus response—it didn’t protect its nursing home population—but its anti-lockdown and no mandatory mask policies have been big winners. Its death rate, particularly after you back out nursing home deaths, has been in the normal range, but they’ve achieved herd immunity and they didn’t destroy their economy. From Jordan Schachtel at jordanschachtel.substack.com:
Their long term strategy is working.
Here in the United States, we have become inundated with tales of COVID-19 doom and gloom. In America, the mainstream narrative is rife with hopelessness. We are told that there is simply no way to stop this virus without repetitive lockdowns, healthy quarantine, even of asymptomatic individuals, and universal mask mandates. And even with all of those extreme policy measures put in place, the politicians and public health officials tell us that we will have to wait for a vaccine for the country to even think about our “new normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s one country that they don’t seem to want to talk about – Sweden. And for good reason. Sweden debunks the hysteria. Sweden shows how unnecessary all of the interventions to “fight” the virus are. Sweden shows us that a rational, evidence-based approach to the pandemic is now thriving.
In Sweden, there’s no masks, no lockdown, no vaccine, and most importantly, no problem.
Life has largely returned to normal in Sweden, and it all happened without the economy-destroying non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) demanded by the “public health expert” class, who guaranteed that chaos would come to every country that disobeyed their commands to hit the self-destruct button for their nations.
And let’s not forget that Sweden’s economy is in better shape than the rest of Europe’s. From Ian Birrell at dailymail.com:
- Swedish health experts say struggle against pandemic is ‘marathon not a sprint’
- The country has one of the highest death rates from coronavirus in the world
- Anders Tegnell’s refusal to impose lockdown is held up by critics as a warning
- But is it possible the Scandinavian nation made the right call in the long-term?
As she sat dangling her legs over the water while waiting for the ferry back to Stockholm, Carolinne Liden looked a picture of contentment after a day out on a sunny Swedish island.
But the pandemic has been tough for this young mother. She works in film production, so all her contracts were cancelled and she had to take a job in an equine shop to make ends meet.
Her partner Tobias Moe, a freelance photographer, also saw his income fall.
Yet when I asked this affable couple about Anders Tegnell, the state epidemiologist steering their country’s strategy for tackling this crisis, their reply was instant. ‘He’s a hero,’ said Carolinne, 35.
Supportive views: Film production worker Carolinne Liden and her photographer partner Tobias Moe
‘It is such a huge responsibility to take these decisions that affect the whole country and I like the way he sticks to his guns even if he gets a lot of criticism.’
Such adulation for a scientist – echoed in less adulatory terms by other day-trippers I met on the islands of Fjaderholmarna last week – might seem strange to outsiders. Sweden has one of the highest global death rates from coronavirus.
You never hear about Sweden anymore, at least not from the people who tried to demonize it early on in the coronavirus outbreak. From Mike Whitney at unz.com:
While the Covid-19 epidemic continues to drag on in the United States, it’s largely over in Sweden where fatalities have dropped to no more than 2 deaths per day for the last week. Sweden has been harshly criticized in the media for not imposing draconian lockdowns like the United States and the other European countries. Instead, Sweden implemented a policy that was both conventional and sensible. They recommended that people maintain a safe distance between each other and they banned gatherings of 50 people or more. They also asked their elderly citizens to isolate themselves and to avoid interacting with other people as much as possible. Other than that, Swedes were encouraged to work, exercise and get on with their lives as they would normally even though the world was still in the throes of a global pandemic.
The secret of Sweden’s success is that its experts settled on a strategy that was realistic, sustainable and science-based. The intention was never to “fight” the virus which is among the most contagious infections in the last century, but to protect the old and vulnerable while allowing the young, low-risk people to circulate, contract the virus, and develop the antibodies they’d need to fight similar pathogens in the future. It’s clear now that that was the best approach. And while Sweden could still experience sporadic outbreaks that might kill another 2 to 300 people, any recurrence of the infection in the Fall or Winter will not be a dreaded “Second Wave”, but a much weaker flu-like event that will not overwhelm the public health system or kill thousands of people.