The Other Sweden

We’ve heard a lot about Sweden over the past year, but according to Dr Oliver Robinson Sweden isn’t the only ‘control’ that invalidates the lockdown experiment. We’ve been neglecting Finland. In an original piece for Lockdown Sceptics, the Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich points out that Finland has had the second lowest Covid death rate in Europe, yet, like Sweden, it avoided locking down.

So, what interventions did the Finnish Government make? From March to May 2020, schools were closed, public meetings were limited to 10 people, borders were shut and citizens returning from abroad were put into quarantine. Guidance was given to people with symptoms to stay at home, and over-70s were requested to avoid social contact unless essential (this last measure is notably similar to the Great Barrington Declaration’s proposed approach of ‘focused protection’). On June 1st, the number of people allowed to meet was increased to 50 and public indoor places were opened gradually. Since then, various selective international travel restrictions have been imposed.

According to the Blavatnik School of Government’s COVID-19 Response Tracker, Finland’s response to COVID-19 was marginally stricter than Sweden from March to early April 2020, then the same level of strictness from April to May, then less strict than Sweden, something which remains true to this day. You can check for yourself here.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Dr Paul Yowell, an Associate Law Professor at Oxford, has written a fascinating blog post in which he points out that Sweden hasn’t fared badly compared to its neighbours – an argument often made by lockdown enthusiasts – provided you count Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania among those neighbours. “Once you include the Baltic countries (lying immediately south of Finland) in the geographic comparison, Sweden is no longer an outlier in mortality comparisons,” he writes.

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