Coronavirus crisis: The sensational case of Sweden that, without lockdown imposed by the government, is better than us

(To David Rossi)

Sweden, despite massive Chinese investments in its territory and heavy economic relations, unlike many European countries, has never wanted to kiss the feet of the People's Republic. In November 2019, the Chinese ambassador, not a journalist or politician, threatened Sweden during an interview in Stockholm stating that "we treat our friends with good wine, but we reserve shots for our enemies" because of the decision to award the Tucholsky prize to dissident Gui Minhai. After even the Beijing government has filed sanctions, Stockholm has withdrawn its ambassador to the Middle Kingdom, Anna Lindstedt, and indicted her on charges of having maintained unauthorized relations with a foreign power for facilitating contacts with representatives Beijing without government consent.

In short, from parts of Stockholm, using the disparaging but effective expressions of the Chinese government, they are gods feather weights who didn't get scared by a heavyweight. Not at all'.

The small Scandinavian giant obviously has dignity to sell: as you read this article, remember it well. And remember also that the measures taken by Italy after March 7 were "dictated" by Beijing, which has repeatedly sent experts to Rome.

Keep in mind also that since I write for editorials for print and online newspapers (and it is now 29 years since the "first time") I don't care about the judgments of what I call, with sincere contempt, "terrapiattisti", that is those who are capable of express themselves only by grunting slogans and they are unable to bear a barely sketched contradictory. So, this time I will go hard, at the risk of invectives from the said "terrapiattisti" and perhaps at the risk of even taking a corner. Yes why I intend to argue that Sweden has so far not achieved worse results from countries with a similar socio-cultural situation that have applied the locking-down invented by the Chinese for Hubei and applied in Italy, a close friend of the People's Republic, to the sound of fines and public force.

Introduction: what is Sweden doing?

Unlike many other countries, it has not implemented any formal blockade, but has limited itself to implementing most of the measures on a voluntary basis. This because the Swedish constitution establishes that it is a competent body, the public health agency, and not the government to indicate all the actions aimed at the conservation of public health, in this case the fight against COVID-19, making the state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell a central figure in the crisis. The government can follow agency recommendations, as it has done with legislation limiting freedom of assembly, by prohibiting visits to hospices and nursing homes (those that have caused massacres here) and physically closing secondary schools and universities.

Primary schools remained open, in part to prevent health workers from staying home to take care of their children. With us, the government wants to reopen economic activities but does not explain what will become of the little ones ...

The Public Health Agency and the government have made recommendations in favor of working from home, avoiding unnecessary travel within the country, engaging in social distancing and, for people over 70, staying at home, as far as possible. Those with even minimal symptoms that could be COVID-19 are advised to stay within the home with their cohabitants. The period of time in which one can stay at home on retribution without a doctor's voucher has gone from 7 to 21 days. Many other actions in favor of smart working and public health were undertaken with the usual Nordic seriousness1.

However, the situation has become critical, as in almost all the countries affected by COVID-19: The growing number of cases in large areas such as Stockholm and Uppsala has led to the cancellation or postponement of up to 90% of the planned interventions, including cancer surgery. Sanitary materials and equipment soon proved insufficient. In short, the same story seen in other countries: a nightmare for the Swedes as for the Italians and the Spaniards.

But this is precisely the point: "how"! Although the Chinese regime media have practiced the massive spread of fake news on the failure of the "Swedish model", the data say just the opposite: in Sweden, despite the lethality of the pandemic double compared to the neighboring Denmark, there was no massacre feared by many parties. Indeed, according to surveys conducted, three out of four Swedes have confidence in the public health agency with almost half of the people interviewed who said they have "very high trust" in the same agency. 85% said they trust the Swedish health system.

Having said that, let's move on to the central point of this article. Let's compare Sweden (10 million inhabitants) with four countries that are similar in terms of population, culture and above all demographic dimensions: Denmark (5 million inhabitants) Switzerland (8,5 million), Belgium (11 million) and the Netherlands (17 million). We are aware that Sweden has a very low population density, but we also know that more than half of the Swedes live in the three southern provinces and that there the population density is just under 200 per square kilometer: the center-north and above all the north of Sweden have a scarce human presence. Well, the four countries in question (Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark) recorded the thousandth case of coronavirus positivity, respectively, on the 16th, 15th, 13th, again 15th and 18th March, the hundredth death rate positive for COVID on 24, 20, 23, again March 23 and April 2 and the thousandth victim on April 31, March 10, April 14 and April 30. Denmark is still under a thousand dead. In short, the spread of the pandemic in four of these five countries was faster and more devastating than Sweden (28 days between the hundredth case and the dead number one thousand, against 17 in Switzerland, 16 in Belgium and even XNUMX in the Netherlands) .

Only Denmark did better than Sweden: it is necessary, however, to specify that in the parts of Copenhagen, after a period of consistent increase in admissions, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 has slowly decreased even since the end of March, with the number of cases requiring intensive care and fan well below available resources. Evidently, the Danish outbreak was much smaller and more containable.

But we leave the word to Anders Tegnell himself, heard from the prestigious magazine Nature2. In reading it, in a nutshell, we leave aside nonsense how to resign ourselves to losing loved ones and other amenities heard for example by Boris Johnson, but let's listen to him with intellectual honesty.

First of all, what are the scientific bases of the choice made? Like other countries, Sweden has aimed to flatten the curve of the spread of the epidemic, to avoid the collapse of the health system. However, it should be borne in mind that “this is not a disease that can be stopped or eradicated, at least until a functioning vaccine is produced. We need to find long-term solutions that keep the distribution of infections at a decent level. "

Sweden has therefore decided to separate people without resorting to special laws (v. article), given that their establishment does not give legal holds to the blockade of entire cities: “quarantine can be contemplated for individuals or small areas, such as a school or hotel. But (legally) we cannot block a geographical area ... " and after all the closure of entire urban areas, the confinement in the home of millions of citizens and the closure of the country's borders have not "A historical scientific basis .... We have looked at a number of EU countries to see if they have published analyzes of the effects of these measures before they started and we have seen hardly any of them. Closing the borders ... is ridiculous, because COVID-19 is in every European country now. " At the same time, with Sweden close to the peak of the infection, closing all schools would have had no effect: "Furthermore, it is essential for psychiatric and physical health that the younger generations remain active. "

Everything perfect in Sweden, then? Absolutely not.

They too underestimated the devastating effects of coronavirus in hospices and nursing homes. This is where most of the infected died. However, despite the exceptional pressure, "the health system ... has always been ahead of the curve ... We know that COVID-19 is extremely dangerous for very old people ... Most of the problems we have right now are not due to the disease, but because of the measures that in some environments have not been applied correctly: deaths among older people are a big problem and we are fighting hard ". In short, in addition to being brave, they were also honest.

What to say? With us, every three days more people continue to die than in Sweden in the last month, we take as official gold data on the infected people that probably cover less than one twentieth of the actual cases, we accept that the right to education is in last place among the priorities3, we tolerate that a runner who walks well protected or a mother carrying around a child - both with masks - are treated worse than a drug dealer4, let's not pious about the tragedy of the economy which has suffered a devastating blow5, we allow fundamental rights such as worship and business to be annihilated ... all this while the regions and the government are repeating the responsibility for tens of thousands of deaths in the RSA.

Of course, they keep us prisoners at home for our health, health first of all, we do it for the grandparents and gradually shooting slogans ... Too bad that, as said by the important biologist Enrico Bucci6, “If we only looked at the sanitary aspect, we would have to be locked up in crystal houses with food and water. But the suffering that we would procure with prolonged self-isolation would be excessive, like that of prisoners ".

PS Terra-flat readers are asked not to write to me that "Swedes are different from Italians". Apart from that it would also be true that "the Lombards are different from the Calabrese" or "the Pisans are different from the Florentines" or "those of Testaccio are different from the Pariolini" ... If you haven't noticed, the lockdown has been applied without paying too much attention to this "difference", which therefore counts for very little. Resign.

1 Among other things, the Stockholm international fair, Stockholmsmässan, was converted into a field hospital with the help of the extraordinary Swedish defense forces.

3 How can this be guaranteed without giving all students Internet and computers?

4 But where were all these policemen and carabinieri when prostitution was exploited for all to see and robberies were an everyday thing?

5 Will we sing on the balconies when workers and entrepreneurs commit suicide?