The cause of the fandom was the country’s approach to mitigating the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on its population: Unlike most nations, including its Scandinavian counterparts, Sweden did not shut down its economy or schools. Instead, the country’s leaders asked its people to take responsibility for social distancing themselves and banned only gatherings larger than 50 people, allowing schools and businesses, including bars and restaurants, to stay open. (Officials advised people to work from home when possible and avoid nonessential travel, and on March 31, the country issued a ban on visits to elder care homes.)
Sweden’s Covid-19 daily death rate has consistently been among Western Europe’s highest. And while daily numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases are trending downward in many parts of Europe, in Sweden, they have plateaued, and are trending upward.
Be careful of assumptions
Sweden’s approach relied on several assumptions, some more overt than others. One was that the country’s entire population would and could, without punishment or incentive, maintain the social distancing needed to protect themselves and each other from disease transmission. Another assumption was that infection with the coronavirus eventually leads to protection — both from repeat infection and onward transmission to others — and that its high transmissibility meant many people would quickly become infected and thus protected. And a third was that the country’s relatively low population density would be protective for everyone.
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