Sweden’s Anti-Lockdown

Sweden's Anti-Lockdown

Shevany Moharir, Editorial Board

Starting on May 1, over half of the United States began to reopen after over a month of being on lockdown. Over the next few weeks, more U.S. states and many countries are planning on relaxing lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in what is hopefully the slow of the Coronavirus Pandemic. One country, however, will not be opening its stores and public spaces because they were never closed in the first place. While a majority of countries affected by the COVID-19 have been shut-down for the past several weeks, Sweden has taken a non-traditional approach to fight this disease – the “anti-lockdown.”

Rather than shutting down businesses and nonessential services, the Swedish government has kept everything open, including restaurants, bars, and parks, arguing that these are not the main places where the virus is being spread. Their philosophy is if enough young and healthy individuals who have the antibodies to fight the virus develop herd immunity to COVID-19, they will be able to rid the country of the virus altogether and protect the more vulnerable population.

The country still recommends staying home from work, if possible, avoiding travel, and self-isolating when sick. While this strategy has worked in some capacity by effectively “flattening the curve” and lowering the overall number of cases, scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as Sweden’s scientists and medical experts are still critical of the country’s choice not have an enforced lockdown, citing the fact that Sweden has still fallen victim to a relatively large number of Coronavirus-related deaths, nearly double the percent of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, despite being a smaller country. As of May 7, the death has reached just under 3,000.

Some of Sweden’s citizens have also criticized the way the country has handled the ongoing situation, with concerns over the elderly and immunocompromised being at a disadvantage. While high schools and universities have switched over to online classes, children under 16 are still going to school, which many parents fear poses a risk to not only the kids but their families, as well, whose children could be carriers of the disease.

For now, only time will tell whether or not an anti-lockdown can truly work to defend an entire country from a global pandemic, or if it is a threat to its citizens.