By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
Despite harsh criticism, Sweden remains without confinement, open borders, freedom of movement, children attending school, shops, bars and restaurants serving clients as long as they do not stand still, only recommendations, without impositions, prohibiting only meetings of more than 50 people.
Some seem to want a strong regrowth to emerge, leading them to decree confinement. But weeks pass, and the Swedish curve does not diverge from the European average and, by the way, its intensive care units were never close to saturation.
Juan M. Blanco asks «Why so much disappointment when verifying that the covid-19 does not explode in Sweden? … The Swedish route threatens to deny the account that many politicians and experts would like to read in history books: In 2020 some heroes saved the world from horrendous slaughter by decreeing confinement. »
The Scandinavian country constitutes what is known in experiments as a ‘control group’, capable of signaling what would have happened without shutting down economic activity. And they fear that it will eventually achieve the same, or even better, results and that what Cheryl K. Chumley wrote in The Washington Times will be confirmed: «The coronavirus is the greatest political hoax in history.»
For Swedes, at best, confinement could delay infection, but at a very high cost in economic destruction. And all to get to the same place. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, John P.A. Ioannidis a professor at Stanford, an epidemiologist and mathematician and one of the one hundred most consulted experts on the globe, assured that “quarantining… is irrational. It is as if an elephant is attacked by a cat… and trying to avoid it, it jumps off a cliff. ”
The slogan of demagogues justifying forced quarantines was that they preferred to take care of health even at the expense of the economy. But the destruction of the economy is proving so great that it will lead to many more deaths than the covid 19, which, at the moment, has a number similar to that of influenza. Not only because poverty – in Argentina by case, will soon reach 50% of the population and continues – and hunger are skyrocketing dramatically, but the health system is being destroyed.
Out of fear or because of quarantine treatments have been suspended, many other patients are being neglected. For example, in Bogotá, highly complex hospitals that had 25,000 million pesos of monthly income fell to 12,000 million. “The crash… is huge,” says César Castellanos, from the San Ignacio Hospital. Occupancy in hospitalizations is half. As in many countries. And outpatient consultations, surgeries and exams are almost entirely canceled. Even the emergencies, previously collapsed, operate today at 70 percent.
But politicians are not stupid. As their tax collection falls a lot in Buenos Aires due to the economic situation, they began to retrace their path: «We have to get infected,» said an official, dismissing the argument of avoiding the infections for which the quarantine was imposed. Soon they will say that they never wanted a quarantine, but were forced by public opinion.
In short, by respecting the human right to freedom – non-violence – and, consequently, achieving a better result, men of good will throughout the globe say: three hurras to Sweden!
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California