Has Sweden found the best response to the coronavirus? Its death rate suggests it hasn’t.

“using the Our World in Data website’s coronavirus statistics, helps put Sweden’s situation in perspective. It compares countries’ rates of coronavirus deaths per 1 million people.
As the chart shows, Sweden is actually faring worse than other Scandinavian nations and even worse than the United States, which has the highest number of confirmed total cases in the world.”

“Following the advice of the country’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, the Swedish government chose not to impose strict lockdowns, curfews, or major border closings because the government felt it would hurt the economy and would only push the crisis further down the road.”

“while experts say the vast majority of Swedes followed the government’s social distancing guidelines and voluntarily stayed home, those who continued to drink at bars and shop at stores likely spread the disease around.”

“Sweden’s public health officials now admit: That “more than 26 percent of the 2 million inhabitants of Stockholm will have been infected by May 1.””

“Where Sweden does compare favorably to the US is the country’s death rate when compared to New York City’s (not the whole US). About 12,000 reported deaths as of April 28 in a city of 8 million is surely worse than 2,300 deaths in a country of 10 million.

But there are three main reasons why the Big Apple would be worse off than the entire country of Sweden, experts say.

The first is population density: New York City has more than 38,000 people per square kilometer, while Sweden has just 25 people — meaning it’s harder to socially distance in New York.

Second, some hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed while Sweden still has about 250 hospital beds unoccupied. There are indications, though, that the hospital surge in New York City is declining.

Finally, there is significantly more international travel to New York City than there is to Sweden, which means there were more opportunities for people from countries suffering from severe outbreaks to spread the virus to the city than to the European country.

But when zooming out, it’s clear that Sweden as a whole is worse off than the US as a whole. That could, of course, change down the line, but any current arguments that Sweden got its outbreak response right are premature at best and dangerous at worst.”

Sweden’s lonely boxing match with Beijing

“Sino-Swedish relations took a sharp dip in 2015, when Gui Minhai, a Swedish bookseller known for publishing books critical of Chinese leaders, disappeared from his home in Thailand only to later show up in Chinese custody accused of causing a traffic accident.

Stockholm pushed for Gui’s release, but made little progress in securing his return to Sweden.

After years of simmering diplomatic tension over the case, relations worsened again in late 2019, when a Swedish NGO awarded Gui a prize and a Swedish minister attended the award ceremony in Stockholm.

The incident triggered a forceful response from Beijing: The Chinese ambassador to Sweden accused the government of “interfering in China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty” and trade missions to Stockholm were canceled.

In an interview with Swedish state television, he also compared Swedish media coverage of the Gui case to a lightweight boxer who keeps challenging a heavyweight to a fight and won’t back off. “What choice do you expect the heavyweight boxer to have?”

His comments sent a chill through Sweden’s political, diplomatic and business communities and were condemned by the foreign minister as “unacceptable.””