Do Swedes ever say O min gud

Corona measures - why Swedes have tied their hands in the pandemic

In the pandemic, Sweden relied on appeals instead of bans, wanted to protect risk groups and let the virus circulate moderately. It did not work. The second wave is here. Now the government is cracking down on it. But she doesn't have many options. From Anke Fink

Since the coronavirus hit Europe, Sweden has been considered the black sheep in the European family. Dealing with the pandemic was soon described as a Swedish special approach: No lockdown, no restrictions, but an appeal to Swedish citizens to voluntarily keep their distance and work at home.

A second wave is not expected

For a long time the Swedes thought: We're doing it right. We listen to the experts and show the rest of the world how to do it. This is because the Swedish government traditionally works with independent authorities that fulfill their legal mandate regardless of politics. This is especially true in health policy.

The public health authority is run by scientists. At its head is also the now famous state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. Its strategy of a kind of voluntary self-regulation was already heavily criticized in the first wave because thousands of people died, especially in nursing homes. Nevertheless, Tegnell had long support from large parts of the population. It was said that this strategy could avoid a second wave. In autumn, at least in the Stockholm region, a kind of herd immunity would be achieved, which would then also protect the risk groups.

to person

  • The Berlin rbb | 24 author Anke Fink has lived in Stockholm with her family since last year.

60 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants - most of them older than 70 years

By the end of September, it actually looked like the Swedish model could work. The number of deaths and infections had fallen sharply in the summer months. But it came back with a vengeance. On Thursday last week, the milestone of more than 7,000 deaths from Covid-19 was exceeded. According to the Swedish Public Health Authority, almost 40 percent of them died in the Stockholm area. Nine out of ten dead were older than 70 years, many of them lived in nursing homes. The Swedish rate of 60 deaths per 100,000 population is far higher than the other four Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland.

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The constitution knows no state of emergency except war

Only now, when confidence in the strategy of the Public Health Authority and Anders Tegnell is crumbling, are the reasons why the Swedish central government has no longer decided on restrictions in the fight against the virus emerge in the public debate. The answer: You obviously couldn't help it. Sweden has no civil emergency. For this reason, the political leadership can neither interfere with the personal freedom of the individual, nor restrict the autonomy of the regions that are responsible for the conditions in nursing homes and keeping schools open. The government cannot impose a ban on contact because there is no legal basis for doing so.

Emergency law was a toothless tiger

When the first wave reached Sweden in the spring of 2020, an emergency law was formulated that should allow the social democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löven to close public facilities nationwide and stop local transport. For this, the red-green minority coalition received the support of the majority in parliament - but only with major concessions to the opposition. Joakim Nergelius, professor of constitutional law at Örebro University, told Stockholm magazine The Local that it was very awkward to apply the law at all because of the changes the Swedish opposition forced to make. [thelocal.se] Potential restrictions on meetings, schools, shops or local transport should have been submitted to Parliament by the government and approved by all MPs.

"That was a very strange construction," said Nergelius. "What would happen if Parliament said 'No'?" The law was a compromise forced by the opposition and was completely useless. Since the bill was only valid for three months and the number of infections fell in the summer, no use was made of it.

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Government must not decide on a lockdown

If the Swedish central government wanted to impose a partial lockdown like in Germany, it would need a new authorization basis with more rights. That is why the government is now working on a more comprehensive pandemic law.

Not all lawyers understand the dilemma. Mark Klamberg, professor of international law at Stockholm University, argues that every other country in the European Union has circumvented similar constitutional barriers in the pandemic. In his view, the April law could have been extended and expanded to enable the government to act.

Meetings restricted by regulatory law

At the end of November the Swedish government intervened more strongly than ever before and banned meetings of more than eight people across the country. In doing so, she made use of regulatory law. In the opinion of many experts, this is the only way to enact contact restrictions without a constitutional amendment or amendment to the constitution.

Otherwise, local recommendations remain, which can vary from region to region, but which most Swedes adhere to. In the large cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, for example, the population is encouraged to reduce contacts to a necessary minimum and to avoid crowds. Primary schools and kindergartens remain open. Secondary schools from grade 10 are closed until January 6th, teaching is digital. Universities and colleges can offer lectures and seminars, but it is recommended to do so online. Restaurants, bars and cafes are open. A maximum of eight guests can sit at one table. The serving of alcohol is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 11 a.m.

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Masks are available from the candy vending machine

Only when it comes to masks does the Swedish government remain cautious. Although the World Health Organization and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences recommend wearing mouth and nose protection, there is no appeal to do so. Parts of the scientific staff in the powerful health authority still doubt its effectiveness. However, many Swedes ignore this. More and more people - especially older people - are wearing them on public transport and in shops. There are now masks in the candy vending machines at the underground stations.

Nonetheless, a visit to Stockholm for many Europeans would be like a picture from a bygone era. Without a mask, people from the capital shop their Christmas presents, even if they are no longer as crowded as they used to be. They do their laps on the large outdoor skating rinks, take hot drinks with them, chat with friends (no more than eight) and enjoy the Christmas music that splashes from the boxes everywhere. It's hard to say whether you're thinking about aerosols or chains of infection. At least they don't look like that.

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55 comments

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  1. 55.

    On Euromomo I can't see any excess mortality for Sweden until week 49.

  2. 54.

    There are pretty big differences in intensive care in different countries. I suspect that this means that either less seriously ill patients are also treated in intensive care units in Germany or patients who we expect in Sweden to have too little chance of survival are treated in German intensive care units. There may be more ethical discussions and more futility discussions before a patient is admitted to the intensive care unit in Sweden.

  3. 53.

    I know, but it is the policy proposal.

  4. 52.

    Why are there only so many fans of Sweden who have so many deaths compared to similar countries. If you don't want to be ordered around all the time, as we do with us, then you can choose Finland, as measures are often voluntary but are generally adhered to. Numbers from December 10th, 2020:
    NORWAY 6.79
    ICELAND 7.92
    FINLAND 7.85
    ESTONIA 10.52
    LATVIA 15.21
    DENMARK 15.59
    LITHUANIA 25.24 (for comparison: Germany: 24.67)
    SWEDEN 71.65
    Dead for every 100,000 inhabitants.
    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_by_country_and_territory from December 10th, 2020, table 2 last column.

  5. 51.

    @issoo: I did not write that the retail trade should close.

  6. 50.

    Above all, Sweden shows that most of the measures are pretty useless.

    @Peter a
    Why should the retail trade close again when everyone there is wearing a mask?

  7. 49.

    Even if the Swedes made mistakes, they definitely got one thing right. You didn't completely crash the economy.
    And what we can do best, we are doing wonderfully again right now ... Pointing the finger at other people and pretending that we have done everything right.
    This is really big cinema.

  8. 48.

    The minds of the Swedes have not yet been killed by fear! I would like to emigrate to Sweden now! I can't stand this panic in Germany anymore !!

  9. 47.

    If the benchmark is the Covid-19 death toll, Sweden is unsuccessful when compared to similar countries.

  10. 46.

    @ No24: "Those responsible in Sweden got it: masks filter fine dust, but no viruses in the nanometer range, unless they are airtight NBC protective masks with filters."
    You don't inhale viruses, but much larger aerosol droplets. Aerosol droplets spread over several meters, similar to cigarette smoke. Masks filter away the much larger aerosol droplets containing hundreds of thousands of virus particles. By catching aerosol droplets, masks become damp. By filtering away the aerosols, the transmission is prevented / reduced. You need a fair amount of viruses to get infected at all. It is therefore sufficient to filter away or ventilate at least some of the aerosols.

    The second effect of the masks is to prevent the transfer of droplets from direct face to face contact below 2 meters.

  11. 45.

    It is exactly as Mr. Meier wrote in his commentary. Sweden has the third lowest mortality in the last 10 years. But facts don't interest the media. Scare tactics are the order of the day!

  12. 44.

    The coverage is misleading. Sweden has one of the lowest excess mortality rates in the last 10 years.

    The country is in a significantly better position than Germany in the second wave.

    see https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Der-schwedische-Corona-Weg-Erfalt-oder-Misseruis-4984494.html

    The journalists in Germany seem to suffer from a confirmation bias.

  13. 43.

    You really don't need to panic because of one death for every 1,400 people.
    The Swedes have just decided to value the economy, prosperity, mental and social health higher than the benefits of keeping the very old, largely demented, long-term care cases in the palliative stage alive for a few days longer.
    We could take an example!

  14. 42.

    Of course, nobody wants to die lightly. But the point is a weighing of risk. Every motorcyclist is cold that his chances of being killed in an accident are significantly higher than in a car.
    And whether the Swedes would have carried it, no one in or out of Sweden and wearing a permanent mask to go with it ... one will not find out.

  15. 41.

    According to state statistics, the number of infections in S increased by 7935 from Wednesday to Thursday. Measured by the number of inhabitants, compared to D there would be about 79,000 infections in D. However, in D there are only about 23,000 daily. Sweden is not doing well at the moment.

  16. 40.

    I am sorry for your selective perception, Herr Hauptmann von Köpenick. But there are actually enough scholars who criticize the government's current strategy, and rightly so. Perhaps you will find out how Lord Mayor Palmer has been successfully addressing the problem in his city since May, incidentally against the advice of the RKI.

  17. 39.

    I am convinced that ignorance, overconfidence, selfishness and a lack of knowledge lead to the measures to protect people, the causes of the further increase in the number of infected people. A few comments confirm my view.

  18. 38.

    "... (because ITS saves 9 v 10)."

    Where did you get these numbers from?
    Please make such claims with references to the source!

  19. 37.

    Those in charge in Sweden got it: masks filter fine dust, but no viruses in the nanometer range, unless they are airtight NBC protective masks with filters.

  20. 36.

    "In Sweden, however, there is a very different way of dealing with life and death. Whether you like it or not ... this is accepted in the Swedish population." I also saw such a report. I don't think so. Nobody wants to die lightly, not even the old Swedes. If the Swedes had the choice that only 7 people would die of Covid-19, as in Taiwan, they would certainly prefer this. In addition, there is the much greater freedom without Covid-19 and the good economic development without Covid-19. It's all a question of epidemiology.