Despite derision from countries like England, who were more aggressive in their approach, Sweden actually did fine with its public-health mandates alone. They fared the same as France, Italy and Spain, which engaged in more totalitarian behavior, including fines for going out, after the pandemic took hold there.
Sweden's unusual approach also saw fewer patients admitted to intensive-care units than the claims made by other countries, which now makes those claims look like 'wishful thinking' against Sweden. But that may not tell the real story. They saw a higher percentage of deaths in older patients outside ICUs than other countries when ICU beds were not limited. That suggests health authorities there actuarially determined patients' chances of recovery in deciding who receives access to intensive care, rather than medically. That is a common problem in nationalized health care programs, where governments have make choices about triage rather than doctors. People were more likely to die from a severe case than be admitted to the ICU.
Sweden's per capita death rate was 35 per 100,000 as of May 15. Meanwhile, Denmark's death rate was 9.3 per 100,000, Finland's 5.2 and Norway's 4.7. All three neighboring countries enacted stricter policies. For comparison, the United States had 24 deaths per 100,000 as of May 15. Sweden fared better than countries such as the United Kingdom and Spain, which were more Draconian in their approach.
What remains unknown; if they will also be longer-term winners. The United States, and states like California, were aggressive in their approach, banning travel from China in January, but the economy remains in freefall. California is on the brink of being junk bond status while maintaining $500 billion in unfunded liabilities. A large chunk of their taxes derive from capital gains on stock sales and while the economy remains moribund those are not happening.
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