How Sweden proved the world wrong about lockdown

Fredrik Andersson and Lars Jonung

The evidence is clear: authoritarian restrictions did not save more lives.

In 2020, countries across the world followed in the footsteps of China and locked down hard against Covid-19. Liberties were drastically curtailed. As was economic activity, forcing governments to borrow tens if not hundreds of billions of pounds each to keep businesses and furloughed workers afloat. 

In Europe, one notable exception to this was Sweden. The Swedish government, despite facing heavy criticism, decided against imposing tight restrictions on social activity. The evidence now overwhelmingly suggests that Sweden made the right choice. 

Did lockdown restrictions do more harm than good? Did they even work at all? We tried to answer these questions in a recent paper for the journal, Economic Affairs. We looked at how different OECD countries in Europe, including the UK, fared during the pandemic – both in terms of the economy and excess deaths. We took a particular interest in Sweden.

Although we could not explore every possible impact of the various lockdown measures, our conclusions were straightforward: countries that imposed more lockdown measures did not experience lower excess death rates. In fact, Sweden had one of the lowest excess death rates towards the end of the pandemic, with fewer people dying compared with a normal pre-pandemic year.


Related: Taxpayer funded Dane County Madison Public Health mandates.

Waiting for an analysis of the long term costs of taxpayer supported Dane County Madison Public Health “mandates”