Skip to main content

Unlike most of the rest of the world, Sweden did not mandate coronavirus lockdowns.  Instead, most measures were voluntary, but it did cutoff access to nursing homes after a surge in deaths.

It has been an experiment worth monitoring. And for weeks, many in the US have been clamoring for the US to be "more like Sweden". 

But what do the results really show and what is Sweden saying now?

Surprise, Surprise

Please note the head of Sweden's no-lockdown coronavirus plan said the country's Heavy Death Toll 'Came as a Surprise'

We never really calculated with a high death toll initially, I must say,” said epidemiologist Anders Tegnell.

 “We calculated on more people being sick, but the death toll really came as a surprise to us.”

The deniers will point out that about half of Sweden's deaths came from nursing homes as if those deaths don't matter. 

Covid-19 Deaths Per Million Log Scale 

Covid May 8 Deaths Per Million

Many will criticize the lead chart because it is in linear format. So there is the same chart in log format.

When it comes to per-capita counts, both charts show the same thing: The US is remarkably like Sweden.

This can be portrayed two ways.

  1. See, the lockdowns didn't help.
  2. Based on population density, Sweden is a total disaster. 

You should not compare a tiny Nordic country to the US but there it is anyway, for those clamoring to be more like Sweden.

Tests Per 1,000 People

Scroll to Continue


Covid May 8 test per 1,000 People2

When it comes to tests, unfortunately the US is far more like Sweden than denmark or Italy.

Covid May 8 Deaths how Rapidly are they Changing?

Covid May 8 Deaths how Rapidly are they Changing

Here the US is far worse than Sweden, but Sweden's alleged success may be poised to break down.

Case Fatality Rate

Covid May 8 Cse Fatality Rate

On a fatality rate basis, we better hope the US does not become more like Sweden.

Clearly Sweden is not the success story widely claimed. 

Unfortunately, people will look at these charts, continue to make inane flu comparisons and continue to tout Sweden's success.

The one area of attack left open is whether or not the US approach was economically justified. 

Was it Worth It?

I will not address that question because I will not change anyone's mind.

Importantly, it's impossible to know what would have happened if the US had not undergone these lockdowns. 

But we do know that deaths are way underreported and the US is only as good as it is because of the lockdowns. 

Was it worth it? The debate is on.