What now for Sweden and covid-19?BMJ 2021; 375 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n3081 (Published 22 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n3081
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The lines are getting blurred: pulling down COVID-19 restrictions may be controversial for some but not for others
While I await the next BMJ article citing critics' outrage over Denmark's move to remove all restrictions (and that's all COVID-19 related responses, including wearing face masks or using the Covid vaccination certificate in order to enter bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues, as well as quarantining persons who have tested positive for the virus - ref 1), I note that Sweden has just announced that a 4th dose (2nd booster) vaccine is made available for those who live in special housing for the elderly, receive home care or home nursing or are aged 80 or over (ref 2).
I am sure that this proposal would be met with approval by correspondents who previously contributed articles to the BMJ. I therefore will not expect to see this Swedish initiative to be discussed in a negative light. Mind you the Swedish government's decision to halt "wide-scale testing for COVID-19 even among people showing symptoms of an infection" because Sweden has "reached a point where the cost and relevance of the testing is no longer justifiable” (ref 3) would be excellent fodder for some to put the country again in a negative spin.
In the meantime, I look forward to new articles about Denmark's move to be the first in the EU to remove all COVID-19 restrictions (afte rall it has been 2 weeks since they've done that) but somehow either the naysayers are not getting published, or perhaps I have overestimated the extent of the controversial move. The latter will be interesting considering Denmark daily cases are now 7372 per million compared to EU 1680, UK 942, Sweden 588 (ref 4); surely that's an outlier situation and removing restrictions at this time can be considered a travesty to some critics?
Or perhaps Denmark simply has a good PR agent.
Competing interests: No competing interests
We could not agree more with the response to this article, how the author frames the report seems partial
We follow Dr John Campbell who gives daily reports from around the world, Sweden does well by comparison, whereas Denmark is currently struggling
No one calculates the costs of Lockdown, which by any definition Sweden will NOT have to pay because they didn't overreact to the Pandemic
The true comparisons will become clearer in years to come
Competing interests: No competing interests
Another day, another badgering of Sweden's COVID-19 public health policies; maybe it is time to hear from another correspondent?
I wish to point out an interesting observation that many of the published news articles and opinion pieces in BMJ on Swedish's public health measure against the COVID-19 pandemic put the country in a negative light (ref 1-7), whereas the rapid responses and published letters do not (ref 8-10).
Sure, there is a need to provide both sides of the argument for and against the Swedish solution but I cannot but wonder if BMJ's attempts of portraying a balanced discussion have pretty much failed in my opinion. How these manuscript are structured, the nuances and phrases used in these BMJ essays suggest to me that there is some biased reporting (deliberate or not) not in favour of the Swedish COVID-19 measures.
In this latest commentary, I was intrigued by the absence of citing about how Sweden's usual comparators (Norway and Denmark) are doing; several journalists refused to compare Sweden's statistics with those of the UK, Germany, Italy or Spain, claiming their demographics are different from these countries which had instituted long periods of lockdown but actually performed worse in case numbers per million and death rate amongst positive cases. It so happened (fortuitously for these commentators) Scandinavian countries Norway and Denmark carefully selected for comparison, made the Swedish response look poor in performance.
That is until now.
Based on the latest ourworldindata statistics (ref 11), Sweden's case load (per million) has now been less than Norway and Denmark since July 2021, with the current numbers (21 Dec 2021) significantly higher (797 and 1718) than Sweden's (349).
I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Sweden is now not being compared with her Scandinavian neighbours, and therefore it may be time to consider if there needs to be another source of commissioned work commenting on the Swedish situation, if BMJ wants to feature balanced material in its lineup.
Competing interests: I have previously commented on the Swedish public health measures as rapid responses in the BMJ