These numbers paint a clear picture: Sweden’s attempt to protect its most vulnerable hasn’t been very successful. In terms of its disease burden and death rate, the country is paying a far higher price than its neighbors. Those statistics are likely to be contributing to the suppression of domestic economic activity, as people are less likely to fully engage in an economy while being fed a steady stream of news about the pandemic’s impact on Swedish health.
And while Sweden’s economy may not suffer as bad as that of some other European countries, its heavy integration into the world economy has greatly reduced its ability to avoid the global damage the pandemic has caused.
Put differently, many public health experts and economists warned that we didn’t really face a binary choice between public health and the economy. Whatever other lessons will ultimately be drawn from the Swedish experience, it has strongly demonstrated that the experts were right.