My thoughts go out to all my readers today. All of us are affected by COVID-19 in varying ways. This virus has affected not just those who are infected but economies, family relationships, and mental health. The worst part is not knowing how long it will last and how bad it will get.
Over the past few days I have tried to check one or two reliable sources only once or twice a day, to watch only the daily COVID-19 press conference in Sweden, and to avoid all other coverage of COVID-19, because it has started to make me anxious. But it is hard, because the coronavirus is everywhere.
However, at 8pm every night my neighbours stand on their balconies and clap for ten minutes to show support for all the healthcare staff working tirelessly to handle this crisis. It somehow gives me hope and peace for ten minutes.
Sweden’s approach to this crisis has been to let things carry on more or less as normal, with some restrictions. There is a ban on visits to elderly care facilities. No gatherings of more than 50 persons are allowed. The Riksdag/Parliament has dropped from 349 to 55 members. Secondary, upper secondary and tertiary education is all done at a distance. Other than that, the government is relying on Swedes to take responsibility and apply social distancing and social isolation where necessary. This allows the economy to keep turning, albeit more slowly, as long as possible.
This week I have taught exclusively from Skype, which has led to cabin fever because I am usually moving from place to place all day. I have never had a job that bound me to my desk. Until now. Both of us are working from home via Skype which means we are together 24 hours a day, and that we have no separation between work and private time. We try to get out for a walk at least once a day, which helps. Luckily we live near two beautiful parks.
Sweden’s relaxed response to the crisis – allowing its citizens to move freely under responsibility – has received criticism from some surrounding countries, while others view us as an experiment. Only time will tell.
If you are interested here are some articles about Sweden’s policies in these times.
BBC – How to self-isolate – what we can learn from Sweden.
Guardian As the rest of Europe lives under lockdown, Sweden keeps calm and carries on
Daily Mail (provocative of course) Is softly softly Sweden heading for catastrophe?
Daily Mail (the comments are surprisingly positive in this one) STILL Sweden bucks the trend: Public continue to mill about in groups as life goes on despite warnings their government’s coronavirus approach is recipe for disaster.
And, in case you need a little cheer