This is an emergency. Where is the urgency, Sweden? Well, the same accusation was being flung at the UK until this week, but let’s look a little more closely at the facts.
Slowing the curve
So, the scientific evidence is clear. During epidemics you get ‘the surge’, and the only way to avoid an uncontainable spike in cases is to limit people’s contact with each other, or ‘social distancing’.
This means, essentially, avoiding large-scale organized fun, no kissing, no bear hugs, dammit no shaking hands. It involves a nod at best, or if you’re getting avant-garde, a foot rub (through sealed footwear).
It means keeping chat to a bare minimum, and certainly making sure to avoid animated chat on subjects liable to impassion (to minimize the spread of saliva). Since coronavirus is the only subject in town, and a passionate one at that, it means zipping it.
It means heading to the supermarket at asocial hours when you are least likely to bump into people you might have to interact with either verbally or otherwise.
It involves dressing soberly, betraying no emotion, and acting as if everything is entirely normal. This, despite the fact that it’s clear there has been a run on legumes and toilet roll, like some strange inversion of a midsummer BBQ weekend.
But remember, the greatest scientific minds in our nations have been studying the facts, not the fake news. They have observed quite clearly that social distancing measures have been rigorously enforced by Swedes and Brits for generations.
Put out the fire
Clearly, drastic measures were required in Italy, where social distancing was a concept so alien as to be entirely uncommunicable. The same goes for Spain and France. Even those hot-blooded Danes (the Latins of the Nordics) had to rein it in.
Meanwhile, life has continued entirely undisturbed in Sweden. Policy only started to shift in Britain when it was realised that eradicating free movement of people was a central plank of government policy. Talk about win-win…
Yes, Swedes and Brits were separated at birth, and Swedes are just Brits with good branding