Norway and Sweden are neighbors, and while the two have a common and shared history, their approaches to life are often very different. The Norwegians, on average, tend to take a more “conservative” approach while the Swedes tend to have a more “liberal” approach. A comical example of this was the airing of the infamous 1977 Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, which was banned in Norway as being blasphemous but Sweden showed and even advertised to Norwegians that all they needed to do was to take a drive over the border to see the film that was banned in their neighbor’s land.
COVID-19 has also exposed this difference as while Norway took to putting down social control measures to stop the virus, Sweden did not, and while Norway’s death rate continues to decline, National Review magazine notes that Sweden’s death rate has exploded.
There have now been ten times as many COVID-19 deaths in Sweden than Norway on a per capita basis.
According to the Worldometers website, 435 out of every one million Swedes have died from the virus, while the virus has killed 44 out of every million Norwegians.
Norway imposed a lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus early on March 12, but the country reopened schools early in May. “Our goal is that by June 15 we will have reopened most of the things that were closed,” Norway’s prime minister said at a press conference earlier this month.
Its neighbor Sweden, by contrast, took a more lax approach: The government banned events with more than 50 people and shut down universities and secondary schools but imposed few other restrictions.
Swedish government officials said lockdowns could do little to save lives over the long term and that their more lax approach would let their society reach herd immunity more quickly and lessen the economic pain the country would endure. “About 30 percent of people in Stockholm have reached a level of immunity,” Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, the Swedish ambassador to the United States, told NPR on April 26. (source)
What else was one to expect? Temporary measures to stop the spread of disease are never fun, but the matter is they work.
Just ask Norway, or Sweden.