Sweden Has Escaped a Second Coronavirus Wave So Far. The Question Is Why
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STOCKHOLM — A train pulls into the Odenplan subway station in central Stockholm, where morning commuters without masks get off or board before settling in to read their smartphones.
Whether on trains or trams, in supermarkets or shopping malls — places where face masks are commonly worn in much of the world — Swedes go about their lives without them.
When most of Europe locked down their populations early in the COVID-19 pandemic by closing schools, restaurants, gyms and even borders, Swedes kept enjoying many freedoms. The government’s relatively low-key approach to imposing restrictions captured the world’s attention, but it also coincided with a per capita death rate that was much higher other Nordic countries’.
Now, as coronavirus infection numbers surge again in much of Europe, Sweden — a country of 10 million people — has some of the lowest numbers of new cases and only 14 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.