Two Astigians, resident in Sweden, tell how the country has chosen the least restrictive way in the fight against Covid-19
“Nobody here uses the mask and whoever wears it, like us, is seen as an idiot.” This would already be enough to understand the strategy in the fight against Sweden’s Covid-19, one of the most cited and admired countries when it comes to welfare and family policies. Simone Moiso and Alberto Barban from Asti who, since 2016, have lived in Veinge, a town in the south-west of the country belonging to the Municipality of Laholm and not far from Halmstad.
Yet in recent days Sweden has become the leading country in terms of mortality rate, compared to the number of inhabitants: statistics reported by the Reuters agency indicate that it recorded 6.25 deaths per day per million people due to Coronavirus compared to 3 in Italy and 4.6 in France. To date, Monday, May 25, in Sweden there have been 33,459 cases of people positive to the virus of which 4,971 ended up in hospital and 3,998 deaths.
“Here the government has not imposed anything and the Health Agency has taken” full powers “by giving advice, but without any lockdown as happened in almost all other countries – says Simone Moiso, speech therapist and who today works in the field of education – The problem is that the Swedes like this lack of restrictions because they are used to seeing the government as a mother who gives them all kinds of help and therefore they trust without discussion. We, however, out of respect for the dead in Italy and for our own safety we have isolated ourselves as much as possible, we wear masks and we try to keep social distances through strange ones, almost to be pitied “.
The asymptomatic, these strangers
Apart from the few large cities of Sweden, primarily Stockholm, where the number of infections is more incisive, the rest of the country is experiencing the Coronavirus emergency as if it were a slightly more serious influence than the others: “The asymptomatic – continues Moiso – here it is as if they did not exist and in fact they leave you home from work if you have any symptoms and only for a couple of days. There is no concept of quarantine because of the virus. ”
“On the other hand, the difference between Sweden and Italy – Simone and Alberto continue – is given by the purpose with which social restrictions were established, or not: in Italy it was rightly decided to put people’s health before the economy, here not. But the bars, restaurants and clubs in general, which have remained open, are complaining a lot so we cannot say with certainty that the choice has rewarded. Even with regards to tampons, few make it clear that there is not all this need to track the progress of the epidemic. ”
About 10 million inhabitants live in Sweden and most of them consider the country a happy island, very different from the other Baltic States and not very similar to the rest of Europe. More than a principle of superiority, it is a storytelling supported by a people who, as Simone points out, “remember to descend from the God Odin, believe to be part of another world and in this case to be immune to the virus: it will be his being been a Viking people. ”
A counter-current strategy that didn’t work
“The problem is that the basic strategy adopted here, that of letting it circulate freely to achieve a certain immunity of flock, has not worked and even the nursing homes have been infected with the virus here.” Yet despite statistics and nearly 4,000 deaths, it seems that Sweden has no intention of retracting the management choices made up to this point.
“Let’s say that what happens outside of Sweden does not interest those who live here very much – continue the two people from Asti – Furthermore, also as regards deaths, there is a national and a regional bulletin, but without too many detailed indications. Fortunately, after weeks, even in small shops they started to enforce social distancing, or try to do so, and to install plexiglass barriers. We go shopping once a week, then disinfect it, but we have friends who go to the bar, without a mask, and take selfies to be published on social networks. Most people consider this disease as part of the cycle of life, they don’t reason why it is happening. ”
More than many words, it is an example of what Alberto says happened in early March, when the epidemic was already abundantly underway. “A doctor, who had been to France, accused symptoms attributable to Covid, but went to work anyway, visiting around twenty patients. A decision, seen from Italy, that would be considered pure madness “.
Simone plans to return to Italy in June, when he can travel again with more certainty, but once again his fear is not so much to return, but to reach the airport: “I confess that the train trip from home to Copenhagen airport scares me more than the rest”.
“Ultimately – conclude the two from Asti in Sweden – Italy and the Italians come out of this story much better than the Swedes and today more than ever we feel proud of our country”.