Oct 20, 2020

Sweden - Land of the mask-free and no lockdowns, or is it ?

Sweden often lands in the news as an example of lockdowns, and masks are not how to deal with Covid19. I wanted to see if some data show a bit better insight into what goes on other than looking at infections, death numbers from Worldometers

 Since the early days of the pandemic, Google has been releasing Community Mobility Reports.

As global communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increasing emphasis on public health strategies, like social distancing measures, to slow the rate of transmission. In Google Maps, we use aggregated, anonymized data showing how busy certain types of places are—helping identify when a local business tends to be the most crowded. We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.

           - Karen DeSalvo and Jen Fitzpatrick 



I looked at options to see the trend over time in lockdown countries and some great folks had made this already by storing the data into data studio. Without going deeper into the totals and the assumptions made by the group storing this my key highlights were the trends.

Stockhom and Sweden. 

Copule of highlights of the approach Sweden took here: 

- No full lockdowns

- Small events closed down before summer 

- All big events canceled or with a small audience

- Some travel restrictions and many recommendations from the government to avoid gatherings, work from home where possible, vistiations to elderly homes limitations, risk groups warnings. 

While there were some hard blocks and lockings majority of the measures have been on pragmatism and trust the citizens to follow the warnings. 


Stockhom trends

Sweden trends

New York state,  Califronia state and USA. 

Few highlights from USA on the measures observed : 

- Full lockdowns for parts of time.
- Events on/off closed down to varings size. 
- Schools on/off closed down.
- Mask usage and recommendations for reduced travel.

New York trends

California 

USA overall


Berlin and Germany

Few highlights from Germany  on the measures observed : 

- Full lockdowns for parts of time.
- Events on/off closed down to varings size. 
- Schools on/off closed down.
- Mask usage and recommendations for reduced travel.

Quite similar to the US from a restriction standpoint. 
Berlin

Germany overall


My take on the data is that all locations above have similar behavior changes. Lot more peapole go out to national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens. This can be seen by the increase of shopping for sporting eqvipemnt and bikes. Here is just one example of many Bike boom: UK sales up 60% in April as Covid-19 changes lifestyles

Lot more employees work remotely more across the board, more then just tech companies even though there has been a large share of those as well. Microsoft being on of the latest companies to make it a permanate change. 

All of this has led to lot less traveling which is not suprussing. What is supurssing though is that different measures led to similar behaviour. For me leaving as an expat in Sweden it has been fascinating to see amount of trust the peapole have in government institutions and how many of them have respected the guidelines. 

The Economist had a recent article  "The real lessons from Sweden’s approach to covid-19", I personally think its more a Lagom approach then pragamtisam but ether way the trends seam to be during in the negative directions the last weeks, I sure hope things turn out for the better! 

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