Thinking Citizen Blog — Is Sweden doing the right thing?

John Muresianu
3 min readApr 30, 2020


Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic — Is Sweden doing the right thing? (focusing on herd immunity)

Swedish parks were full last week. The young and least vulnerable are going about their lives roughly as normal, while the most vulnerable are sequestered. The idea is to build up herd immunity among the general population before the most vulnerable end their isolation. The chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency predicts that herd immunity could be reached in Stockholm within a few weeks. Meanwhile, Sweden’s death toll per pop from COVID-19 is 7X that of Norway and Finland and 3X that of Denmark. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. “I think there’s a perception out that Sweden has not put in control measures and just has allowed the disease to spread. Nothing can be further from the truth.” (Dr. Mike Ryan, top emergencies expert, WHO)

2. “What it has done differently is it has very much relied on its relationship with its citizenry and the ability and willingness of its citizens to implement self-distancing and self-regulate,” Ryan said. “In that sense, they have implemented public policy through that partnership with the population.” (Ryan)

3. “I think if we are to reach a new normal, Sweden represents a model if we wish to get back to a society in which we don’t have lockdowns,” (Ryan)


1. Sweden: 22 per 100,000; Norway and Finland 4. Denmark 7.

2 Neighboring countries have closed schools and restaurants. Sweden has not.

3. Sweden’s population density (25 per square kilometer) is much lower than Denmark’s (138 per square km) but higher than Norway (15) and Finland (18).

NB: Denmark and Norway are beginning to ease restrictions.


1. “Are we going to adapt to the coronavirus — by design — the way Sweden is attempting to do — or are we going to go the same direction as Sweden — by messy default — or are we just going to say “the hell with lockdowns” and go 50 different ways?” (TF)

2. “After all, herd immunity is our goal — either from vaccination or from enough people building natural immunity. Those are the only ways to achieve it.” (TF)

3. “The upside of Sweden’s strategy — if it works — is that your economy does not take such a deep hit from lockdowns. It is unlike the strategy of suppression pursued in cities across America right now — as well as around the globe — where, when the lockdown is over, your population largely has not developed immunity and so most everyone remains vulnerable to the virus, and to a second wave in the fall.” (TF)

NB: “Here’s the stone-cold truth: There are only different hellish ways to adapt to a pandemic and save both lives and livelihoods. I raise Sweden not because I think it has found the magic balance — it is way too soon to tell — but because I think we should be debating all the different ways and costs of acquiring immunity. (TF)

Opinion | Is Sweden Doing It Right?

Opinion | Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives? In Most Places, the Data Say No

Opinion | Sweden Is a Viral Punching Bag

Opinion | The Bearer of Good Coronavirus News


Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history….

Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed.

Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away. This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.