[Sweden] didn’t enforce a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but instead advised citizens on how to behave. Shops, restaurants, and gyms stayed open, but schools and universities closed to over-16s, and large-scale gatherings of more than 50 people were banned. Over-70s and those with COVID-19 symptoms were told to self-isolate.
The country harnessed its concept of folkvett, or the common sense of the people as a collective, to try to combat the disease, professor David Goldsmith, a retired physician, and Eric Orlowski of the department of anthropology at the University College London, wrote in a commentary in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The commentary was titled “Four months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden’s prized herd immunity is nowhere in sight.”
“The Swedish experience of attempting to achieve this, compared to other Nordic countries’ responses, resulted in much higher numbers of infections and deaths per capita, in addition to a prolonged outbreak. Moreover, far fewer Swedes than predicted generated antibodies to the coronavirus, suggesting the strategy failed to generate widespread protective immunity.
“These findings should prove a salutary warning, that appealing concepts and theories require supporting data when people’s lives are at stake and should not be used to fit preconceived narratives,” [said microbiologist Simon Clarke.]