The Nordic Countries and Sweden: the battle against Covid-19 continues

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Sefton, Therese (2020) The Nordic Countries and Sweden: the battle against Covid-19 continues, PRIO Blog. 28 May.

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Almost two months have passed since my last post about the management of COVID-19 in Norway and Sweden. How outsiders, including myself, see Sweden since has indeed changed a lot. Sweden was recently downgraded on the Standard Ethics Rating (SER) due to flaws in their handling of COVID-19, which allegedly put not only Swedes but also other Europeans at risk. When faced with questions and criticism about the strategy, supporters of the Swedish model have written off critics as ex-pats who don’t understand statistics and communicable diseases, or incompetent scientists. Increasingly the arguments seem more like a culture war – at least on social and traditional media. Specific characteristics such as complacency and exceptionalism, worship of the state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, and the Swedish public administration model are among the topics that have been meticulously analyzed and discussed. During the last two months, however, a picture of more deep-rooted issues has started to emerge.

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