As soon as it became clear that the Swedish state had no plans to implement harsh lockdowns, global media organizations like the New York Times have implemented what can only be described as an ideological jihad against Sweden.
For many weeks, there has been an incessant drumbeat of articles with titles touting the “the failure of the country’s no-lockdown coronavirus strategy,” that “Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale,” and “How Sweden Screwed Up.”
It is common to read articles stating that Sweden has one of the world’s worst death rates for COVID-19.
This, however, remains a matter of perspective.
Sweden’s total deaths per million in population as of July 14 is 549. That’s considerably lower than the deaths per million rate in the UK, which is 662, and in Spain, which is 608. In Belgium, the death rate is 884.
Moreover, the Sweden deaths per million is many times better than the rates found in New Jersey and New York: 1,763 and 1,669.
An astute reader, however, will quickly notice that articles condemning Sweden’s “failure” rarely if ever mention these comparisons. Instead, anti-Sweden articles are careful to only mention countries with far lower deaths per million, usually Denmark and Norway. A nonspecific stock phrase is generally inserted which repeats that Sweden has: “a far higher mortality rate than its neighbours.”
Articles about countries with far more deaths per million than Sweden often make excuses for those governments. In May, for example, the BBC repeated the Belgian government’s talking points, which attempted to explain that things aren’t as bad as they seem in Belgium. In places where harsh lockdowns were implemented—such as New York or the UK— the explanation is that these countries implemented their lockdowns too late.
But no matter what the data shows, it is always assumed that lockdowns work well, and the fact that nonlockdown Sweden has a death rate similar to harsh-lockdown France can only be explained by claiming France didn’t lock down harshly enough or long enough.
Meanwhile, the evidence that lockdowns actually work remains spotty at best. The results we get from lockdown countries vary wildly, yet commentators ignore this and stick to a dogmatic refrain: lockdowns always work, and Sweden “screwed up.”
Now, global “experts,” such as those at the World Health Organization (WHO), are claiming that Sweden is among the countries most likely to have a resurgence in COVID-19.
So far, these is no evidence of this at all. Two weeks after the WHO’s prediction, both cases and deaths in Sweden continue to trend downward.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.