Editor’s note: This is a new feature from Brian Myers, former co-host of Caffeinated Thoughts Radio. He’ll offer a caffeinated thought of the week every Friday.
For the last three months, we’ve seen a lot of criticism leveled at Sweden for its approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, The New York Times called Sweden the “World’s Cautionary Tale,” suggesting that Sweden had conducted a failed experiment that “yielded a surge of deaths” and nothing else.
What I find really odd about these sorts of criticisms is their timing. Right now, much of the world is deeply concerned about a resurgence of the virus this Fall that could continue well into next year. If such a resurgence is likely, then this deadly game is not over. So why would we declare Sweden’s approach to have failed?
Unless a vaccine is developed before it can happen, such a resurgence would mean other countries would have to retake various mitigation measures (including lockdowns). Alternatively, they could allow the virus to run its course, possibly with large numbers of illnesses and deaths. While it is assumed by some that Sweden took the second option, in reality they did implement some mitigation policies. And although they attempted to protect the elderly, they did a terrible job with nursing homes (a mistake they would later admit). They also limited mass gatherings, just not to the extent we saw in the United States. They did not lock their nation down.
Sweden’s “herd immunity” approach, if they have successfully achieved it, should mean that a resurgence would be relatively inconsequential. In any case, that will be the time to judge their results, not now.
This is Brian Myers with your Caffeinated Thought Of The Week.