Sweden, this virus & protecting the old

No one in Sweden, as far as I know, is in danger of losing their job for driving in their car or looking after their family. Not so in other countries. Lockdowns have done strange things to free countries. It’s doing strange things to the world from Mumbai to New York and everywhere beyond and between. But Sweden has drawn both consternation, condemnation and credit for not going into lockdown. It’s a strange thing to be live life relatively (but not completely) unchanged when most of your friends in other parts of the world are experiencing life in lockdown.

However, not everything in Sweden has gone smoothly. Over 4,000 people have died with COVID-19 this year and all but 460 of those were people over the age of 70 with 2600 over the age of 80. That’s not to minimise the sadness, each one of those was a relative to someone. But it clearly illustrates where and to whom the danger of COVID-19 lies. It is not equally dangerous or deadly to everyone but if you happen to be old and unwell and in a nursing home…


This is one reason why the so-called ‘excess deaths‘ in Sweden is not as high as in some other countries but worse than it’s neighbours. Not everything has gone according to plan. And the people behind the Swedish strategy admit as much.

So why has it gone so badly wrong for Sweden’s care homes? Well, that’s the question most people in Sweden wants an answer to but essentially they were not closed soon enough, the staff not trained enough nor given protective equipment quickly enough. I doubt they’ll come up with anything much more than that – although they need to fix, why that was the case.

As much as this virus may wake us up to the reality of death, I wonder if it will really challenge us about how we care for the elderly.

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