Donald Trump Questions Claims of Swedish Coronavirus Success Without Lockdowns

The Swedish flag is pictured on April 4, 2020 in Stockholm during the the new coronavirus COVID-19 pamdemic. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

President Donald Trump challenged reports on Thursday the Swedish response to the coronavirus represents a successful model.

“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The Swedish government rejected widespread lockdowns to flatten the curve, keeping businesses and restaurants open while urging residents to maintain social distancing and increase public hygiene. The government banned gatherings of more than 50 people but allowed parks, public transport, hairdressers, nail salons, gyms, and other businesses to stay open.

Conservative commentators have cited Sweden as a successful model for fighting the virus, taking precautions to reduce the spread of the virus without drastically disrupting its economy.

But President Trump cited statistics showing that that 2,462 people died in Sweden, much higher than neighboring countries like Norway with 207 deaths, Finland with 206 deaths or Denmark with 443 deaths.

He also questioned the W.H.O. for praising the Swedish model to respond to the virus.

Coronavirus deaths per capita offer a better idea of how Sweden compares with surrounding countries.

Rated as to the number of fatalities per 100,000 population, Sweden has a 24.18 rating of deaths per 100,000 residents according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine while neighboring countries like Finland have 3.73, Norway has 3.90, and Denmark has 7.64.

The United States has a 18.63 rating of deaths per 100,000.

Defenders of the Swedish model argue the county is closer to achieving herd immunity, allowing them to move back to normal more quickly. Dr. Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency said Stockholm could still reach “herd immunity” within weeks.

Trump defended the United States reaction to the virus, noting the number of deaths were kept lower as a result of state lockdowns, especially in areas where the virus spread quickly.

“The United States made the correct decision!” Trump wrote.

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