In early 2020, as countries across the globe locked down one by one – the almost infectious domino effect stopped abruptly with Sweden, which never imposed any strict lockdown restrictions onto the country’s citizens. Initially, the country was severely criticised for its laid back and reckless approach to Covid-19.
The unusual strategy adopted by Sweden was seen as a cautionary tale by mid 2020, as the country grappled with a higher Covid-19 death toll than it’s Nordic neighbours. However, one year later – this ‘unusual strategy’ appears to have been the best way to approach the pandemic. Apart from the fact that, last week, data showed that the 7-day rolling average for Covid deaths was zero, Sweden will not be faced with the immeasurable cost to human liberty that nations who have been under strict lockdown measures will be confronted with eventually. One such cost is the increase in suicidality and depression among youth – as explained in the video in this article which contains Senate Testimony on child suicide and lethal lockdown consequences. The Swedish government repeatedly described the pandemic as “a marathon not a sprint”, arguing that its measures are designed to last in the long term. As South Africa emerges from yet another strict lockdown which derailed countless businesses, yet again, one cannot help but wonder how the situation may have been different had the country followed the same approach to the pandemic as Sweden.