Sweden during the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

Johan Norberg:

Sweden was different during the pandemic, stubbornly staying open as other countries shut down borders, schools, restaurants, and workplaces. This choice created a massive interest in Sweden, and never before have the foreign media reported so much about the country. Many outsiders saw it as a reckless experiment with people’s lives. In April 2020 President Donald Trump declared that “Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown.”1 In the New York Times, Sweden’s laissez faire approach was described as “the world’s cautionary tale” and in the same pages Sweden was described as a “pariah state.”2

There remains a popular perception in the rest of the world that Sweden’s strategy resulted in a human disaster, and many people think that Swedish decisionmakers came to regret the strategy and, in the end, adopted lockdown policies similar to those in other countries. This paper dispels those unwarranted assumptions, describes Sweden’s actual pandemic policy, explains why the country followed that course, and presents what we know about the results so far.

Related: Waiting for a deep dive into the costs and benefits of taxpayer supported Dane County Madison Public Health mandates.

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