Last month things seemed to be going well for Sweden. “Sweden was right,” tweeted the high-tech billionaire Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. On his short message, Musk hung a graphic with the Swedish corona death numbers: After extreme swings in spring, the curve was now just above the zero line.
Like Musk, many thought that the special route of the Scandinavian country to pay off this fall. Led by their state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the Swedes had largely trusted that they could manage the pandemic with just a few restrictions – common sense instead of coercion and lockdown.
The liberal strategy was watched in amazement around the world and celebrated by some. The blue and yellow Sweden flag is a popular accessory at rallies against the German corona policy. The fact that the death rate from Covid-19 had risen many times higher in the spring than in the neighboring Nordic countries and Germany did not change the expectations that the Swedish model had aroused.