Sweden exported viruses to the other Nordics

It is well-known that Sweden is an export nation. They sell jet fighters, many deadly weapons and weapon guidance systems, forestry products, steels, chemicals, advanced and complex technical plant and equipment, cars, fashionable clothes, medical and healthcare equipment, flat boxes containing furniture, mobile networks, etc.

Now they hit upon a new product called Covid-19, was apparently exported successfully to the other Nordic countries according to a new study from researchers at Uppsala University, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Sydney in Australia, published in the European Infection Control Agency’s journal Eurosurveillance.

The Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, are politically and socially related countries that employed different COVID-19 control strategies. Responses differed markedly during the first 6 months of the pandemic, before becoming similar to the others.

Sweden initially took a less restrictive approach, compared with legislation and regulations in the other Nordic countries. Sweden did not enforce general population movement restrictions, schools for children younger than 16 years remained open, mandatory quarantine was not imposed for infected households and businesses continued to operate with adaptation to distancing limitations. The Financial Times reported regularly that Sweden’s response to the pandemic as if it was highly successful – certainly many other countries were impressed by Sweden’s light touch!

For many Swedes, their state epidemiologist has embodied a rational approach as other countries have appeared to sacrifice science to emotion. “I wish I were coming with you to see him,” one of Sweden’s leading chief executives confided to me just before I went to see Tegnell. “The way he has stood for what he believes in while the rest of the world does something else is admirable…” FT 11.09.2020.

Earlier in July the FT also ran a headline “Swedish companies reap benefits of country’s Covid-19 approach” FT 27.7.2020.

In contrast, Norway, Finland and Denmark imposed more invasive population movement restrictions that included enforced home office for workers in the public sector, schooling at home, targeted closure of businesses in the private sector, closing of restaurants, museums, sports centres, etc., as well as closed international borders for non-residents. Iceland did not initiate population movement restrictions like Norway, Denmark and Finland, but rather focused on large-scale testing and contact tracing to limit virus.

In relation to population size, Sweden has had a higher number of COVID19-related cases and deaths than the other Nordic countries, with a cumulative incidence of around 9,758 cases and 137 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with around 4,465 cases and 43 deaths in Denmark, 2,169 cases and 14 deaths in Norway, 1,608 cases and 17 deaths in Finland, and 1,790 cases and eight deaths in Iceland, by 2 May 2021.

The above study used a comparative analysis of genome sequence data employed by the Nordic countries to see how the virus was transmitted in transmission chain dynamics between these countries.  It shows that the Swedish Corona strategy not only affected the spread of Covid-19 within the country, but also contributed to the spread of the infection from Sweden to other countries.

In another report from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ expert group it is stated that Sweden did not implement “rapid establishment of testing, not least by people traveling in from areas of known infection, as well as infection tracing of contacts to infected individuals, is particularly important.”

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