Sweden and the pandemic

 

Sir, – In 2014, the Swedish Institute for Disease Control merged with the Swedish Institute of Public Health to form what is now the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

The reason behind this merger was the belief that any intervention to save lives during a pandemic must be considered against other societal needs, both short term and long term.

How will the intervention affect people’s mental health? How will it affect children’s schooling and development? How will it affect routine medical check-ups? How will it affect rates of domestic abuse? How will it affect civic liberties?

This idea, the consideration of the broader consequences of an intervention, is central to Sweden’s decision to avoid a national lockdown. Yet this decision has been described in The Irish Times as “unorthodox” and “controversial” (“Sweden’s grim Covid-19 result: More death and nearly equal economic damage”, Health + Family, July 9th).

In my view, a refusal to shy away from hard questions, or a refusal to reduce complex societal consequences to a single focus, is anything but unorthodox. – Yours, etc,

ERIK MacGIOLLA,

Gothenburg, Sweden.