While most of Europe and other parts of the world are in quarantine one way or the other, the Swedish government has decided to give its citizens a longer leash and “frihet under ansvar” as we say in Sweden, directly translated; freedom with responsibility. It means that the government believes that the Swedish people are rational thinking adults capable of following guidelines issued by the public health agency.
So far, this approach seems to have been successful. Sweden has managed to uphold its health care system and there have been enough intensive care units. Employers estimates of more than half the workforce on sick leave around Easter did not come true and the actual numbers have been much lower. It seems that the infection rate in Sweden has reached a plateau with R0 under 1. This is all very promising and we seem to have the situation under control.
We are now entering a new phase in this pandemic, the resilience phase. Now is the time when we have to continue to follow the recommendations from the public health agency. The question is, will we be able to do so?
Since the pandemic did not spread as much as feared in Sweden, there’s a risk that people are lured into a sense of false security that this wasn’t so bad after all and maybe the authorities exaggerated the situation somewhat. Maybe that means that the recommendations are not that strict after all and maybe they should be seen more like guidelines that doesn’t necessarily apply to me.
The authorities have noticed an increase in travel across the country. The rationale is probably something like if I have no symptoms of infection and I want to go on a recreational trip, surely I can do that?
For a couple of weeks, there are no visitors allowed at elderly homes. However, it turns out that relatives have been encouraged to take their old ones out on walks and then return them to the home, thereby bypassing this rule.
With spring on its way, the outdoor restaurants are starting to open, and especially in the cities, there are large numbers of people gathering in these places. People seem to forget that even outside social distancing is important.
We are now at a tipping point. What you do matters! You might think your actions don’t matter, but they do. If we are to make it through this we all have to chip in. Every single one of us. We are doing this for the common good of the community, we have to be willing to make sacrifices even though it means canceling that yearly trip with your friends.
This is not a time for me, myself and I. This is a time for us.