Has Sweden been successful in its Covid approach and what are the parameters for success?

The following is a guest post by Tony Brown. Tony was a Political Advisor to the former Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy and its predecessor, Europe of Freedom and Democracy. 

Following a post of mine on Facebook about Swedish success with its independent 'minimalist' Covid containment policy, I was asked, 'Could you please define the parameters for success?'

I believe that central to the confusion about Covid is that very few - any (?) - governments have set down their answer to this question. I suggested five:

  1. Minimum reduction in the size of the economy.
  2. Fastest possible return to previous levels and subsequent growth.
  3. Lowest possible rates of death and hospitalisation from Covid.
  4. Highest possible (average) age of those who - unfortunately - do die, and somewhat differently and less data driven. 
  5. Minimum of restrictions and loss of liberty. 
I added that I had, quite deliberately, made no reference to the incidence/number of cases. Not only is this not important, but the reverse may be true: high numbers of asymptomatic cases may be a positive as it indicates the growth of herd immunity.
 
What strikes me is that - applying these criteria - so much of the efforts to combat Covid are quite simply misplaced.  
 
To be fair, the media is not helping with its emotive stories, but most governments have simply failed to think it through. How helpful is testing? Committing vast resources to identifying cases - most of which are asymptomatic - exacerbated by daily news reporting of the numbers fuels the sense of panic and is used to justify new and continued restrictions which further damage the economy.
 
One of the reasons I so much prefer Carl Heneghan and Oxford over Imperial (and the hypocrite Ferguson if he is still around) is that Oxford seem to get this. So how might the UK government progress from here?
  • Announce these as the criteria.
  • Make them the dominant statistics issued.
  • Sack Imperial and Whitty.
  • Appoint Heneghan and Oxford as replacement advisors.
  • Reconstitute or replace Sage. 
The result should be significant policy shifts with resources better, i.e. more usefully allocated to achieve the targets which matter.  The country could then reopen, enjoy Christmas and contemplate a less economically devastating future.
 
And, we would know that our loss of liberties and the many restrictions imposed upon us are a considered, rational, necessary minimum, not the emotive seat-of-the-pants media-driven, panicked reaction which they currently seem to be to many - including Heneghan and Oxford, the Telegraph, the Spectator, and such excellent MPs as Steve Baker, Desmond Swayne and Sir Graham Brady, all of whom have been scarce beacons of rational light amidst the irrational panicked darkness that seems to be so much of current UK Government Covid policy. 
 
At least Corporal Jones of Dad's Army eventually got a happy outcome. I fear the same will not be true of the UK Government if it continues as it has hitherto! 
 
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.

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