Is Sweden's Unconventional COVID-19 Strategy Paying Off?

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Damir Mujezinovic

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, governments across the world raced to impose lockdowns and mask mandates in order to stop the spread of the disease.

Several effective vaccines were released in late 2020, which made it seem like the end of the pandemic was in sight. However, the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant has caused grave concerns, with experts warning that mitigation measures and vaccine booster shots may be necessary.

But one country adamantly refused to follow the COVID-19 strategy the rest of the world adopted: Sweden

Sweden's Approach

A viral Unmasked substack post analyzed whether Sweden's approach to coronavirus is paying off.

Unmasked noted that experts and the mainstream media slammed the Swedish government when it decided against imposing lockdowns and mandates, and instead determined that herd immunity was the best way to fight COVID-19.

In fact, most experts called Sweden a "dangerous outlier" in 2020, predicting that it would have the highest death toll of any nation and that its system would crumble under the weight of the pandemic.

But are their predictions holding up?


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Were Experts Wrong?

The post noted that Sweden now ranks 40th in the world in terms of deaths per capita, which suggests that experts' predictions were completely off.

According to Unmasked, Sweden's approach "was consistent and sustainable because it didn't rely on indefinite mask mandates and business closures as methods to 'control' COVID."

"As other countries saw their cumulative mortality rates skyrocket, Sweden dropped precipitously in the rankings due to their consistent, sustainable methods."

Israel, on the other hand, imposed tough restrictions and vaccinated its population in record time, but is still struggling to contain COVID-19.


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Unmasked asserted that journalists are refusing to report on what's going on in Sweden "because it’s no longer useful for the media to promote their agenda."

"It’s a microcosm of the disastrous, indefinite mess we’re living through -- experts incorrectly, hysterically screeched that masks and business closures and capacity limits were absolutely necessary to keep COVID 'under control,' and the media immediately assumed their role as promoters of incompetent groupthink and professional scolds of any who disagreed," the substack post claimed, concluding that it paid off for Sweden to go "against the herd."

Cautionary Tale Or Success Story?

Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff -- who helped developed the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) -- endorsed the substack post, sharing it via Twitter.

Sweden's chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said in a recent interview that shunning lockdowns and mandates is paying off, as reported by Business Insider.

However, he noted that "high vaccination level is the one way we can get out of this pandemic" because just letting the virus spread through the population doesn't work.

Sweden has had a higher death rate than other Nordic countries, but lower than many European nations that relied on lockdowns.