Seen from the skin, all Scandinavians appear to resemble one another: very progressive, accustomed to affluence and a excessive way of life, and so they pay extraordinarily excessive taxes on beer. However all that is, in fact, nonsense. In actuality, there are variations between particular person Scandinavian nations that run as deep as a Norwegian fjord.
It begins with the truth that Scandinavians do not see eye to eye amongst themselves. When you discuss to a Dane, you’ll hear, with out being requested, that the Swedes are boastful. The Swedes in flip think about the Danes to be eccentrics. Each are united by a typical envy of the newly wealthy Norwegians due to their big oil and gasoline deposits.
Mannequin of the accountable citizen
What makes issues much more difficult is that there’s a grain of fact within the stereotypes and prejudices. For instance, the Swedes developed their very own, distinctive mannequin of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t politicians who determined what to do in regards to the insidious illness. They left that to the scientists.
They, in flip, principally gave recommendation through the media on how residents ought to behave: washing their fingers, holding their distance and staying at dwelling. But it surely was as much as the Swedes to comply with the suggestions which weren’t obligatory.
There have been no lockdowns or steep fines for violations, as in different nations, since that simply did not match the Swedish mannequin of leaving it to residents to take duty for themselves. However, the technique had fatal consequences, because it turned out later.
At first, Sweden’s scientists reassured the inhabitants that it was unlikely that the pandemic would unfold within the sparsely populated nation. Eating places, colleges and retailers remained open. However the virus did not stop at Sweden’s borders. It unfold, because it had all around the world, particularly in nursing houses the place older residents had been susceptible. The an infection and loss of life charges had been many occasions increased than in neighboring Nordic nations.
However, what was stunning was that this failure didn’t undermine the authority of Sweden’s consultants. As an alternative, they questioned and nonetheless proceed to doubt the recommendation of the World Well being Group (WHO) that wearing a maskthat covers the nostril and mouth protects in opposition to the coronavirus.
Finish of COVID-19 restrictions
Now the Swedes, like the Danes and the Norwegians, are lifting virtually all coronavirus restrictions. The consultants justify it by pointing to the excessive vaccination charge, particularly among the many older inhabitants. In current months, anybody who wished to be vaccinated might achieve this simply. Those that nonetheless held did not get the shot had been thought-about liable for their very own destiny.
All Scandinavian nations have a extremely developed, digitalized well being care system. As well as, there are sufficient free beds within the intensive care models.
Regardless of the comparatively excessive variety of deaths, most Swedes are fairly pleased with their nationwide technique in opposition to COVID-19 and proceed to belief the state. They level out that the pandemic has precipitated a lot much less injury to Sweden’s financial system than elsewhere and that colleges and kindergartens remained open all through.
Even when a trainer contracted the virus in current months, the technique was that so long as the signs had been delicate, the particular person might proceed educating.
That’s unthinkable in different EU nations, the place academics who get COVID-19 have to remain at dwelling as a result of in any other case they’d unfold the virus additional.
Then again, the beneficiant Swedish welfare state solely features if kindergartens and colleges stay open. The excessive taxation charge signifies that mother and father haven’t any alternative however to work to be able to maintain their households. Housing within the capital, Stockholm is scarce and costly. It is essential that kids are cared for throughout the day in order that each mother and father can work.
A much less vital press
In contrast to German, French or British journalists, who sharply criticize their governments after they make errors, the Swedish press is extra cautious. As an alternative, it prefers constructive journalism that doesn’t ask exhausting questions of the snug welfare state. That makes it harder for Swedes to come back to phrases with their own mistakes in preventing the pandemic.
On the finish of the day, one factor is unquestionably true: The Swedes are certainly totally different.
This text has been translated from German.