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Swedish Health Experts: Don't Do What We Did

'Soft' approach to pandemic has been a failure, they say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 4:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sweden's "soft" approach to the coronavirus pandemic has drawn attention from the rest of the world—but a group of more than two dozen Swedish doctors and scientists say the country should serve as an example of what not to do. By "not locking down, introducing mostly voluntary restrictions and spurning the use of masks," Swedish health authorities were attempting a "herd immunity" strategy that has led to needless "grief, death, and suffering," they write at USA Today. Swedish authorities haven't publicly said that their goal is herd immunity—making immunity widespread by allowing a large proportion of the population to catch the virus and recover—but moves including the mandatory schooling of young children and downplaying the importance of testing has made their intention clear, the experts say.

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The Swedish death rate is "unnerving"—higher than that of the US and more than four times higher than that of the other four Nordic countries combined, the experts write, but less than 10% of the population has coronavirus antibodies, "nowhere near herd immunity," and "there are no indications that the Swedish economy has fared better than in many other countries." The only way Sweden should serve as a model to the rest of the world is as a "control group" to "answer the question of how efficient the voluntary distancing and loose measures in Sweden are compared to lockdowns, aggressive testing, tracing, and the use of masks," they write. They say new medical treatments should improve the COVID-19 prognosis and there will hopefully be a vaccine. "Stick it out until then," they write. "And don't do it the Swedish way." Click for the full piece. (Read more Sweden stories.)

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