Speed Reads

unique situation

Economists say Sweden's coronavirus approach probably wouldn't work elsewhere

Sweden has mostly defied critics in its coronavirus response. Schools, gyms, bars, and shops have remained open, and despite early concerns the lack of a full lockdown doesn't seem to have exacerbated the pandemic in the country beyond what was expected. Bloomberg notes the fatality rate as a share of the population is lower than most large, wealthy European countries, and Sweden's top epidemiologist Anders Tegnell — who is behind the more relaxed guidelines — said they're beginning to see a stabilized infection rate.

Tegnell set up the framework because he doesn't believe full-scale shutdowns make sense considering the virus isn't going to disappear anytime soon. He opted for a more "sustainable" approach that keeps economic life flowing while encouraging people to follow guidelines meant to slow the spread. Sweden's economy, therefore, is likely to contract a lot less than others. But economists at Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg reports, don't think it's wise for folks itching to end lockdowns elsewhere to point to Sweden as an example; the Scandinavian country may be particularly well-suited for its method.

"Its population density is about half that of Italy, and Sweden has a high proportion of single-occupancy households, and a relatively low proportion of multi-generational households," the economists said in a note. Read more at Bloomberg.