It is thought-provoking for us Americans to see someone from outside the US describe the harms inflicted upon our children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Tracy Beth Høeg, MD, PhD:

I added a picture frame to the photo from the article because I imagine one day, in the not-too-distant future, a photo like this will be on display in a museum of Covid-19 mistakes and absurdities. Historians, social scientists, ethicists, film-makers, lawyers, economists, great-grandparents and many others will look back on the pandemic and ask “How was it that Sweden, and to a great extent Denmark and Norway, were able to get it right with children?”

Sweden never closed primary schools and Denmark and Norway had brief, transient closures; they never masked children under 12 and free childcare was always available. Children always had a safe place to go throughout the pandemic. Disruptions to normalcy were minimized.

I suspect we will learn Scandinavia’s compassionate decisions about child policies during the pandemic had less to do with science than cultural commitment. It was clear early on that children were mildly affected by covid and were not primary drivers of the pandemic. However, when Sweden chose to keep primary schools open and in Denmark and Norway reopened schools in April 2020, it was unclear exactly how well it would go.