Sweden should not be America’s model for pandemic response, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
Some people have pointed to Sweden as a successful model for the softening of guidelines – but Gottlieb wrote that the United States should continue focusing on containing the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
“Swedish government officials initially sought to let the virus run largely unchallenged in the general population while taking steps to protect the elderly. The Swedish view was that the country could reach herd immunity without jeopardizing the economy. But holding up Sweden as an enlightened model misreads important parts of its experience,” Gottlieb wrote in the op-ed.
“Many Swedes pulled back from normal activities to shelter themselves from infection anyway, even younger and middle-aged people. The country experienced 5,821 Covid deaths in a population the size of North Carolina. And Sweden is far short of herd immunity, even as the country’s economic recovery ranks among the worst in its region,” Gottlieb wrote.
“Yet embrace of the ‘Swedish model; is based on assumptions that sidestep some of these facts. The biggest misconception is a belief that there’s a large reservoir of Americans who are already immune to Covid,” Gottlieb wrote. “Confronting a dangerous pandemic requires containing spread wherever it is reasonably possible. Sensible measures such as universal masking, testing and widespread and rapid contact tracing can help. The best way to protect the vulnerable is to try to protect everyone.”