By Larry Romanoff, April 12, 2022
“The Swedish approach to the Covid outbreak has been a failure. This is what emerges from the first systematic scientific study on Sweden’s strategy in managing the pandemic carried out two years after the first infections, published in Humanities & Social Sciences Communications through Nature.com.” (1)
Many uninformed observers, including some on this website, were not very long ago fulsome (complimentary and flattering to an embarrassingly excessive degree) in their praise of Sweden as a model of effective and rational dealing with COVID-19. However, as we say, “It isn’t over until it’s over.”
Well, it’s more or less over now, and Sweden has been soundly condemned on virtually every aspect of its handling of the coronavirus. Sweden’s litany of sins in this regard is almost too long to list, but includes incompetence, reckless disregard for medical science, secrecy, lack of transparency, cover-ups, manipulation of data, destruction of evidence, euthanasia, shocking medical mistreatment, deliberate death sentences of the elderly and infirm, criminal malfeasance, and much more. These are in addition to the fact of a failed policy that appears to have been guided mostly by incompetence.
These conclusions are the result of a comprehensive study done by scientists from universities in Belgium, Sweden and Norway, billed as a “multidisciplinary group with a background in epidemiology, medicine, religious studies, history, political science and human rights”. The study was not superficial or trivial. The group attempted to collect all communications, emails, notes of internal meetings, and all information involving the Swedish decision-making processes. The study group was assisted by a separate advisory body consisting of “independent national and international experts”, and was subjected to a peer review at the end. It was not all smooth sailing; the study group was often forced to resort to Freedom of Information laws to obtain necessary data and, even then, discovered that much information was simply being withheld and, in many cases, being deleted or otherwise destroyed to prevent release.
It seems that several years earlier the Swedish government delegated pandemic management to its Public Health Agency, and then dismissed almost all the staff. If you recall, this is precisely the path taken by the US when John Bolton eviscerated the only US pandemic agency. This left Sweden with its main health authority that “lacked competence and could ignore scientific facts”. The report stated, “The Public Health Agency did not base its advice on scientific evidence but on preconceptions about influenza pandemics and herd immunity, relying primarily on a small advisory group with a narrow disciplinary focus and too limited expertise.”
The report stated further that this central body was “systematically incorrect in its risk assessments, and ignored scientific evidence”. As one indication, Anders Tegnell, the so-called epidemiologist who devised Sweden’s strategy to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, stated firmly, “What we are doing works. With us, there is no lockdown and no second wave”, this while immediately heading into the second wave. Tegnell also “labeled the advice of national scientists and international authorities as “extreme positions”, causing the [Swedish] media and political bodies to accept [Tegnell’s] own policy instead.”
Worse, the study found that the Swedish people had been kept in the dark about the fundamental facts of the virus, perhaps in large part to disguise the apparently deliberate euthanasia policy that Tegnell appears to have designed. For one thing, as the report stated, “Many elderly people were given morphine instead of oxygen . . . effectively ending their lives.” The report doesn’t mention Midazolam, but it is almost a certainty that this respiratory suppressant was also used, since it appears to have been almost universally applied in all other Western nations.
“The decision to provide palliative care to many older adults is highly questionable; very few elderly people have been hospitalized for Covid 19. Appropriate (potentially life-saving) treatment was denied without medical examination, and without informing the patient or his family or asking permission.” Many individuals were refused admittance to hospitals and thus simply died at home. The study group discovered triage instructions given to hospitals that individuals with comorbidities and advanced age should not be admitted to hospitals since they were “unlikely to recover” anyway. They were either left at home to die or sent to nursing homes where they were plied with morphine (and very likely Midazolam), and simply sentenced to death.
There were also multiple reports of inequalities and social injustices in Sweden’s response, with the elderly, people in nursing homes, immigrants, and the poor (even the very young), all particularly affected by excess mortality. Tegnell and his officials later repeatedly denied any responsibility for Sweden’s high death toll.
There was something even more sinister in Tegnell’s pandemic policy: the study group uncovered a series of internal emails documenting that one of Sweden’s [Tegnell’s] goals was that of “using children to spread the infection in society.” Tegnell and his group publicly denied the fact that children could be infectious, and assumed they would not develop serious illnesses, but concluded that they could be used to “drive the spread of infection in the population”, thus taking Sweden to its goal of “herd immunity”.
In addition to questionable health decisions, the study highlights the Swedish authorities’ lack of transparency, and even speaks of “secrecy, cover-up and manipulation of data”. The report stated that the State Epidemiologist began automatically deleting any emails requested by journalists or others. One report stated, “Although this is illegal, the practice of withholding information and deleting emails has become widespread among [Swedish] official agencies during the pandemic leading to so-called “shadow management”, as apparently the risk of legal sanctions is very low for power holders.”
The report’s conclusions are an undefended (and indefensible) condemnation of Sweden’s policy that casts disturbing shadows over its government as well. According to the report, “This pandemic has revealed several structural problems in Swedish society, at the political and judicial level, in health, in the official media and in the bureaucracy, with decentralization, lack of accountability and independence, and the rejection of accurate and complete information to the public as recurring problems at different levels.”
They stated further that “Critical questioning, even by internationally renowned scientists and experts, became risky, even dangerous, in a country where conformism was encouraged by the national media.” According to the authors of the study, there was a “problem of evasive accountability, autocratic governance, cover-up and secrecy”. The policies designed by Tegnell and his group were no only anti-social and discriminatory, but would almost certainly support criminal charges of manslaughter, at least in a civilised country.
Anders Tegnell, the author of these policies, resigned just a few days prior to the release of this report. According to the Swedish media (defiant and supportive to the end), Tegnell had resigned to go to work as a “senior expert of the World Health Organization” to coordinate Covid vaccination in poor countries. Unfortunately, the WHO had no knowledge of such an appointment, the Swedish media then backtracking to the extent of claiming that “the process had not yet been settled.”
This was the final result, as of early April, 2022:
If Sweden is a success story in dealing with a pandemic, we don’t want to know about the failures.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).