Sweden’s much less restrictive approach to COVID-19

tahoebum

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I find it interesting that Sweden is still mostly open and has not taken the severe measures that the other Scandinavian and European countries have. They just went from banning groups of 50 or more down from 500. They are adjusting their strategies on the fly but so far restaurants, pre-schools, elementary schools, sports practices, and businesses are open. High schools and colleges are closed. There borders are still open. People are flocking to the ski areas for the Easter holiday and skiing is a big deal in Sweden with 25% of their population of 10 million participating. It will interesting to see over the next months if their much less restrictive approach will result in more/less deaths, sooner herd immunity, etc. There may be more than one way to respond to this and future pandemics.

 

mpeterson

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Having worked with some folks in Sweden for a while, I think they're better as a whole of thinking about society vs. individuals (this is of course, a generalization and not an 'everyone' thing) than folks in the US. The response here has been "give an inch, take a mile" whereas it seems people are actually sticking to the less restrictive conditions there. Look at the people still heading on vacation and crowding the beach, coming from places with large outbreaks.

That said, given the smaller population and the fact that it's not much of a "hub" they may be benefiting from what other places are doing. It's not a time of year when a lot of people travel there for holiday, which is another benefit. The problem we have in the US is that we have places that probably align best to Sweden, and also places that are major hubs. These places are in turn highly connected within the country.
 

WICHITAREJECT

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I am married to a Swede.....their hard heads naturally prevent the virus....just my theory.....not a medical professional
 

mpeterson

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I am married to a Swede.....their hard heads naturally prevent the virus....just my theory.....not a medical professional
My wife and I both have Swedish relatives. I had a chuckle at this one.
 

tahoebum

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Having worked with some folks in Sweden for a while, I think they're better as a whole of thinking about society vs. individuals (this is of course, a generalization and not an 'everyone' thing) than folks in the US. The response here has been "give an inch, take a mile" whereas it seems people are actually sticking to the less restrictive conditions there. Look at the people still heading on vacation and crowding the beach, coming from places with large outbreaks.

That said, given the smaller population and the fact that it's not much of a "hub" they may be benefiting from what other places are doing. It's not a time of year when a lot of people travel there for holiday, which is another benefit. The problem we have in the US is that we have places that probably align best to Sweden, and also places that are major hubs. These places are in turn highly connected within the country.
They are going into Easter break which is one of their busiest travel times of the year as people flock to the ski areas and schools are out. Population density of Sweden is about the same as Arizona or Minnesota although Sweden has twice the population of Minnesota and 50% more than Arizona. They are also more populated than neighboring Norway and twice the population. It will be interesting to see what the flattening of their Covid 19 curve looks like compared to Norway which has a very similar society but is currently very much shut down like the rest of Europe.
 

mpeterson

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They are going into Easter break which is one of their busiest travel times of the year as people flock to the ski areas and schools are out. Population density of Sweden is about the same as Arizona or Minnesota although Sweden has twice the population of Minnesota and 50% more than Arizona. They are also more populated than neighboring Norway and twice the population. It will be interesting to see what the flattening of their Covid 19 curve looks like compared to Norway which has a very similar society.
I genearlly agree - I think it comes down to compliance. And I wonder if that move from 500 -> 50 came ahead of the expectation of a lot of travel/parties for Easter.

I'll use golf as an example - I think the whole issue of golf courses being closed is absurd - you've got maximum of what, 12 people on a 350-400 yard hole. That's plenty of distancing. But like someone was saying in the New England thread, people were hanging out, partying in the parking lot. As serious as I think this is, I think some of the conditions are overly restrictive, but at the same time feel like people have proven time and time again, maybe they need to be there.

I can't say for certain it's the person (since they're not naming names in terms of who was tested, etc.), but when this first started being an issue we had someone who came into the office with a terrible cough who was clearly sick. We've got about as flexible a work-from-home policy as there can be - there were a few people on my floor at work with pneumonia getting tested the next week. And I've heard people complain about temperature checks upon entering buildings.
 

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I am hoping for the best for my crazy ancestors! Remember they have universal health care, trust of one another and discipline, none of which are present in the US. They still could pay a stiff price if this fails, but they are likely to have mortality rates somewhere between S. Korea and Germany and the US if the worst case scenario hits 0.5-1.7% and not 14% like Italy.
 

TCB2010

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I’m still in shock that many countries over there have a very minimal virus rate, like some are unaffected. How does that happen??
 

ddstanford

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I’m still in shock that many countries over there have a very minimal virus rate, like some are unaffected. How does that happen??
Some like Denmark shut down early, others may not have caught up on testing.
 

tahoebum

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I am hoping for the best for my crazy ancestors! Remember they have universal health care, trust of one another and discipline, none of which are present in the US. They still could pay a stiff price if this fails, but they are likely to have mortality rates somewhere between S. Korea and Germany and the US if the worst case scenario hits 0.5-1.7% and not 14% like Italy.
My son’s roommate spent a semester of college over there and just got home in December. He is in close contact with his Swedish friends and businesses and restaurants are operating as normal as are the ski areas. I am very curious to see how their infection and mortality rates will compare in another few months.
 

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That said, given the smaller population and the fact that it's not much of a "hub" they may be benefiting from what other places are doing. It's not a time of year when a lot of people travel there for holiday, which is another benefit. The problem we have in the US is that we have places that probably align best to Sweden, and also places that are major hubs. These places are in turn highly connected within the country.
Comparisons like this are always where I am at. You can find a country to do a comparison that fits a criteria you want it to in any debate. None of them are close to the US in most aspects, including population, space, etc.
 

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Comparisons like this are always where I am at. You can find a country to do a comparison that fits a criteria you want it to in any debate. None of them are close to the US in most aspects, including population, space, etc.
Agreed. I’m way more interested comparing their neighboring countries such as Finland and Norway that have almost identical cultures, health care, demographics, income, population density, etc. It will be interesting to compare how the much different and more restrictive actions of Norway will look 3 or 6 months from now.
 

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It’s very easy to see how things work.
look at dense cities and see how they acted early and how their citizens are respecting Distance.

then see the mass issues they are having. It’s not really debatable is it?
 

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Lots of different factors at play , population density is certainly one important aspect as is travel habits and free flow of people in and out. Just as an example , population density of NYC is 28,500 people per square mile. In Sweden it is about 62 people per square mile. Sweden, per WHO numbers, has 4x more deaths than Norway but Norway has more cases overall as of yesterday. This will all be a very interesting lesson in epidemiological differences at both a personal and national level once data matures and these differences can be teased out honestly.
 

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One of the points I read in the article about Sweden I saw today was that about half of Sweden's households are one person.
 

Badger_Golfer

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Id say that much of it is because how small of a country Sweden is. Population size, population density, etc. I just hope that it doesnt blow up in their faces.
 

tahoebum

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One of the points I read in the article about Sweden I saw today was that about half of Sweden's households are one person.
And Norway and Sweden both have an average household size of 2.2, similar demographics, and population density, but very different policies for Covid 19. Time will tell if having businesses, restaurants, and many schools operate with few or no restrictions will have a very different result.
 

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Lots of different factors at play , population density is certainly one important aspect as is travel habits and free flow of people in and out. Just as an example , population density of NYC is 28,500 people per square mile. In Sweden it is about 62 people per square mile.
Exactly. I’m not sure how the comparison to the US has any weight when density is so different.
 

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Just for some more info for those who haven't seen the short article (I assume it's the BBC one being referenced in this thread? ) it points out some differences for social interactions and general social distancing in Sweden as part of normal times:

 

tahoebum

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Exactly. I’m not sure how the comparison to the US has any weight when density is so different.
Sweden is less rural than the U.S. with a larger percentage of their population(87%) living in urban areas than the U.S.(82%) and Stockholm at 13,000 people per square mile has nearly the exact same population density and similar size to a city such as Boston.

As I said earlier I’m more interested in Sweden’s comparative outcomes with their very different approaches to Covid 19 to countries like Norway that are a similar in almost every way. Comparing an entire country like Sweden to a city like NYC is obviously foolish and less valid than comparing Stockholm to Oslo.

The vast differences in their approach to this virus is intriguing to me. Over the next 6 months the entire world will learn a lot from the different approaches, shortcomings, and mistakes that have been made in responding to this virus.
 

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Sweden is less rural than the U.S. with a larger percentage of their population(87%) living in urban areas than the U.S.(82%) and Stockholm at 13,000 people per square mile has nearly the exact same population density and similar size to a city such as Boston.

As I said earlier I’m more interested in Sweden’s comparative outcomes with their very different approaches to Covid 19 to countries like Norway that are a similar in almost every way. Comparing an entire country like Sweden to a city like NYC is obviously foolish and less valid than comparing Stockholm to Oslo.

The vast differences in their approach to this virus is intriguing to me. Over the next 6 months the entire world will learn a lot from the different approaches, shortcomings, and mistakes that have been made in responding to this virus.
While travel exists, The inter country travel is minuscule by comparison as is international.
 

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In the article - "Most Swedes trust that the government has the best interest of society at heart and they will respond to stricter rules,” . As for ski areas, the apres ski scene has been a prime breeding ground for covid-19 spreading, though, I don't recall Sweden as a prime international ski destination. Hopefully, they don't get a bunch of international skiers bringing the virus with them.
 

tahoebum

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While travel exists, The inter country travel is minuscule by comparison as is international.
The inter country and international travel differences between Sweden and Norway? Again, I’m interested in looking at vastly different Covid 19 policies in two very similar Scandinavian countries, not Sweden compared to the U.S.
 

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While travel exists, The inter country travel is minuscule by comparison as is international.
Might not be comparable to US (although Swedes per capita are one of the most frequent international travellers globally) but the intra-country tourism in Nordic countries around Easter skyrockets as everyone wants to hit the ski-slopes. Issue is that these are usually from Stockholm area where the nr of cases is already going up steadily. These are fairly large resorts and during normal Easter the population in the communities go up by approx. 50%. This now has doctors from those areas plea that government would shut-down the resorts as the healthcare capacity is not enough to even handle a normal Easter. Both Finland and Norway have shut down resorts already.

The other issue in Nordic countries (I'm from Finland myself) is that a lot of people have summer houses that are in small communities with very limited healthcare capacity. That's why Norway has restricted travel to quarantine in summer cottages.
 

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