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A Country Doctor Reads: Why Sweden isn’t Restricting Personal Freedom During the Covid-19 Pandemic – Svenska Dagbladet

I read in the news media that my native Sweden is not restricting personal freedoms the way other countries are. I just recently happened to subscribe to Svenska Dagbladet, one of the big Stockholm newspapers. Here is what they quote historian Lars Trägårdh saying about why:

“First, there is a deeper trust in public institutions in Sweden than in other countries. It is not blind injunctions that make us obedient citizens but faith in expert authorities who in turn trust their citizens. It is a matter of mutual trust.

Therefore, Swedish authorities believe that it is enough to make recommendations such as staying inside if you feel ill and avoid large crowds. “Use your brains“…. Classic Swedish freedom and responsibility in other words. May also be called common knowledge, common sense or sense of duty.

Secondly, the Swedish exception can be explained by the ban on ministerial rule. This is a deeply rooted rule that goes back to the 17th century when the foundation was laid for the Swedish state apparatus. This means that Sweden is governed by expert authorities and not the government. Politicians who want to show muscles in tough times should keep their paws away from apolitical institutions whose decisions are based on skill and expertise.

This is very deeply rooted in Sweden. Elsewhere in the world where they don’t have this strict rule, many politicians now take the opportunity to prove themselves as strong leaders and impose harsh prohibitions especially if it is an election year. “

A Country Doctor Reads: How South Korea Flattened the Curve – The New York Times

If Covid-19 were a vicious STD spread via toilet seats, you wouldn’t tell everyone to stay away from public places including their worksites for months while the economy contracts and evaporates until there were no more cases. You would just do CLEANING, WIDESPREAD TESTING and TRACE CONTACTS. That’s what South Korea did, AND IT WORKED —— @ACDocWrites on Twitter

As I watch the Covid-19 doomsday scenarios play out in the media, it becomes very clear that our strategy of shutting down life as we know it to stop this communicable disease makes relatively little sense if it is not done alongside aggressive standard epidemiologic practices.

To put it more bluntly: Mere isolation is just plain Medieval.

We know how to do this: We test asymptomatic people for HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhea, syphilis, tuberculosis and many other communicable diseases and in most cases we also deploy public health staff to trace contacts that need testing and followup.

So, why were we in this country so paralyzed, why did we resort to economy-halting measures that will likely wipe out retirement savings, cause widespread layoffs and permanent unemployment, bankruptcies and evictions and general despair like that of the Great Depression?

Now, I’m just a Country Doctor, and I’m not particularly interested in the science of epidemiology, but reading in The New York Times about what South Korea did I am baffled: Why did we not try harder to get more people tested early on?

Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.



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