Sweden’s approach to the virus continues to get caught in the middle of a debate over what qualifies as a “herd immunity” strategy. Some people think that means “anything short of a lockdown.” Others think it means pure laissez faire, with everyone encouraged to go about their business as the virus cuts a swath through the population until it runs its course.
The Swedish government has insisted all along that it wasn’t pursuing herd immunity. What it’s done instead is take a middle-ground approach, which increasingly resembles the U.S. approach. It closed high schools and universities in favor of distance learning. It left elementary schools and businesses open, but encouraged people to take sensible precautions against infection. It advised the old and vulnerable to isolate themselves.
So when the head epidemiologist calls herd immunity a “futile and immoral” approach, he means it in the second sense of the definition. He’s obviously not a “lockdowns or bust” proponent, but he’s not a Trumpy “you’re a pussy if you’re worried about this” guy either. Sweden still isn’t formally locking down, but they’ve shifted towards stronger recommendations that people distance themselves as cases begin to rise.