Sweden with a population of just over 10 million approached the covid19 pandemic unlike any other country in Europe and possibly unlike any other country in the world.

It dismissed a government ordered shutdown as to aggressive and too invasive and chose instead to adopt a “Herd Immunity” strategy from the very outset.

It would be wrong to suggest that Sweden totally ignored lockdown guidelines, they did not, because social distancing, wearing face coverings and strict hygiene procedures were advocated with the proviso that they would be voluntary.

This policy was articulated by Anders Tegnell the epidemiologist credited with the Swedish strategy, when he sad “Voluntary restriction work as well as legal ones”

While there is strong evidence that Swedes did undergo behavioural changes they were not nearly as draconian as the government lockdowns throughout Europe.

Given that covid19 is still evolving and there is still no real end in sight an interim verdict on the Swedish strategy would suggest that in the short term it has been a bit of a disaster. Sweden has recorded the largest number of cases and fatalities in Scandinavia. There are 84,294 confirmed cases with 5783 covid- related deaths. As with the US and many European countries a significant percentage of the initial high rate of deaths was attributed to a failure to prevent infections in care homes.

Taking a longer term view Sweden’s strategy may yet prove to be a success in terms of their economy and the country’s economic recovery. Moreover if there is, as many predict, a second wave Sweden will avoid any major secondary surge because of the number of people that have been infected.