By rejecting lockdowns, Sweden avoided a great deal of economic and educational damage, while maintaining low death rate

By rejecting lockdowns, Sweden avoided a great deal of economic and educational damage, while maintaining low death rate
Delta variant: different from SARS-CoV2, perhaps, but symptoms like the common cold. CDC/LU Staff mage

Public health “experts” claimed Sweden would be devastated when it kept schools and workplaces open during the pandemic, rather than imposing lockdowns. But it wasn’t.

As Johan Norberg of the Cato Institute notes, Sweden ended up with a much lower death rate than most European countries, as well as avoiding the big learning loss of many countries, and avoiding the harsh recessions experienced by some countries (even though Sweden’s export-oriented economy is more vulnerable to pandemic-caused recessions than many other countries’ economies).

As Norberg notes, “Sweden did better than other countries when it comes to school results and economic performance. That was to be expected as Sweden was one of few countries where schools and workplaces remained open. More surprisingly, Sweden also did better than most western countries on health outcomes. Remarkably, Sweden had one of the lowest excess mortality rates during the three pandemic years 2020–22 – less than half of America’s. It seems like voluntary adaptation to the pandemic worked better than most people expected, and it suggests that it was not Sweden but the lockdown countries that engaged in an unprecedented experiment, depriving millions of their freedom without a discernible benefit to public health.”

Politics, not public health, was behind most decisions to keep schools closed in America. In the U.S., officials’ school-closing decisions were driven mainly by teachers “union influence and politics, not safety,” reported Reason Magazine. Jon Valant, a researcher at the liberal Brookings Institution, found that decisions to keep schools closed were driven by politics, not levels of “COVID-19 risk.” Leftist teachers unions repeatedly thwarted school reopenings. Some used “sick-outs” to shut down schools and force school boards to delay school openings.

By driving up obesity rates, school closings harmed students’ health. Shutting schools actually increases COVID-19 deaths, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh. Moreover, “Schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19,” said Brown University Professor Emily Oster. There is “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to community transmission,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

In the past, the CDC had pointed out that closing schools “can lead to severe learning loss,” and that school closures kill more children than COVID. Moreover, “extended closures can be harmful to children’s mental health and can increase the likelihood that children engage in unhealthy behaviors.”

LU Staff

LU Staff

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