Many details about the impact of Covid-19 on various countries were hard to predict and probably unpredictable. Why did Northern Italy become the first European viral hot spot? Is it because of the polluted air, lots of seniors, multi-generation houses, or something else?
But the differences in the policies are even stranger.
While the U.K. has played with the "let it be" and "herd immunity" approach for some time, they have dramatically changed their attitude towards the draconian, suicidal measures that are common in much of Europe (but also in some U.S. states and even in Moscow where the infection is basically non-existent).
Although the disease is almost nonexistent in Hungary (500 cases, 16 deaths), Viktor Orbán was just promoted to a dictator. It is simply sick, I say as his fan.
Jair Bolsonaro is doing the right things in Brazil, pointing out the fact that Covid-19 is just a little flu and behaving correspondingly, despite the fact that some lower-tier politicians would like to emulate the Western suicidal policies. In Europe, of all places it is Sweden that avoids the lockdowns (and perhaps Belarus).
Yes, the über-politically correct Sweden. I wouldn't have guessed this outcome even if you gave me 20 attempts to answer the question "Which European country will be the last unlocked one". But it is Sweden, the home of some of the most outrageous feminist garbage, some of the most terrifying Islamic ghettos, the cradle of the climate alarmist prophet Greta Thunberg, and similar horrible stuff. Sweden, the proudest Western European carrier of the toxic trademark "socialism" in the second half of the 20th century.
As the global data clearly show, they are not paying any significant medical price for their calm approach yet and there are early signs that they may be benefiting even when it comes to their national health. Their death rate per 1 million citizens, 14, is way below Italy (192), Spain (165), Belgium (61), Netherlands (50), France (46), Switzerland (41), U.K. (21). It is basically equal to those of Austria, Portugal, and Denmark. A bit above Ireland. All those other countries have introduced draconian measures and the benefits of these super-expensive, suicidal restrictions seem pretty clearly non-existent.
It is hard to understand another nation's national character. I think that people are generally very bad at this enterprise. Almost all people XY from all nations are just projecting another nation to the well-known political groups from the nation of XY. But that rarely works well. Czechs are the world's most irreligious nation, they are highly tolerant and non-PC yet socially conservative in various ways, economically left-wing, and it's difficult to find a truly analogous group in the U.S. You are bound to make wrong guesses about correlations of various opinions. Czechs are perhaps similar to some cherry-picked part of the Texan working class but you have to remove those who take the religion too seriously. ;-)
Now, how did it happen that the ultimate PC nation of Swedes rejected the ultimate PC cause of mankind's history, the Covid-19 hysteria? Why is it exactly Sweden that keeps their restaurants open and continues their life and business-as-usual? One may easily find out that it is not because of the media. The Swedish media try to spread the same unhinged hysteria as the media of most other countries, starting with the Anglo-Saxon ones.
But for some reasons, most of the Swedes don't buy it. While 90% of Czechs buy the media's hysteria – usually not very emotionally but I know lots of people who seem to be literally pissing into their pants these days and let me admit that it makes me laugh out loud (being a brainwashed sheep may also sometimes hurt and it's so fair!) – there are probably some reasons why most Swedes actually criticize their media for the hysteria, just like I do and just like every sensible citizen should in any country of the world.
Where does the difference of Swedes come from? Is it just a coincidence? Do you know the answer?
An article in The Guardian offers one possible answer, just like the RT. The government just decided to avoid draconian measures and the Swedes have okayed it because Swedes are used to deeply trust in their government. The government said that it's just a business-of-usual task and Swedes said Okay.
This explanation seems plausible to me. In effect, similar conditions that are considered extreme at the global level by many people tend to push citizens closer to their governments (and to each other). So people become more likely to support their leaders. If that is a part of the explanation, the mystery may be reduced to the question why the Swedish government decided to be the ultimate European "let it be" government. And it could happen by coincidence. Maybe they just realized that the lockdowns are utterly unsustainable and may only lead to a complete catastrophe if nations try to preserve them. Maybe some Swedish politicians decided that the disease spread so quickly that it would be impossible to stop the growth at a reasonable cost, and that's why it shouldn't even be tried.
At any rate, it happened and Sweden is the calmest European nation when it comes to Covid-19. Maybe their being "less social" helps to tame the spreading of the virus. Maybe their approach results from being a "tough Nordic nation" that just isn't afraid of medical challenges. This toughness may be a biological trait that is nearly detached from the discussions about socialism and the political correctness.
Of course, despite their socialist image, Sweden has always been a target of some admiration of mine – and I am sure that not only mine. They haven't been too important during much of the 2nd millennium and we in Czechia mainly remember them for looting and stealing statues and paintings from Prague in 1648, at the very end of the Thirty Years' War.
But the 20th century has increased their relative importance, I think. Even when it comes to music, I remember how shocked I was in the 1990s when I realized that all the following bands were Swedish: ABBA, Europe, Roxette, Ace of Base, and many others. It seemed like a pretty good global impact for a nation that was smaller than
the Czech nation at that time (now these two are almost equal, 10.* million). There are not too many nations that created over 30 songs that I can actually sing. ;-) Well, about four: Czechia, Slovakia, the U.S., and Sweden. The U.K. and Russia may come close.
OK, when I am picturing the dramatic year 2021 (or late 2020) when most of the bankrupt North America, Europe, and other places are invaded and conquered by someone else, it doesn't have to be China. Or, more optimally, Japan or Brazil (Bolsonaro would simply be a great boss of ours). We the Europeans may still have horses in the game. Go, Sweden, go. I give you the permission to take the remaining statues from the Charles Bridge, pals. Unless Sweden will surrender in a few days and it will join the suicidal lockdown mania, of course. ;-)