Should Britain have adopted the Swedish approach to Covid?
Scandinavian country avoided lockdowns and had among the fewest excess deaths in Europe but UK scientists point out key national differences
Pity Sir Patrick Vallance. First the left-wing press attacked the chief scientific adviser for not being more like his opposite number in New Zealand — locking down early, keeping cases low. Then the right-wing press attacked him for not being more like Sweden — keeping schools open, relying on voluntary behaviour change.
In both cases, the answer given by (sometimes exasperated) Sage scientists is the same. First, it wasn’t their decision — it was the politicians’. Second, and more pertinently, we did not copy those countries because we are not those countries. We are not a small island in the Pacific, and we are not a small obedient nation in the Baltic.
Is that fair?
In the summer of 2020, I interviewed Stefan Lofven, then