Letters to the Editor: Sweden can’t explain away the fact that its lax coronavirus approach is killing people

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven addresses the nation on TV.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven addresses the nation about the coronavirus crisis, broadcast on Swedish national public television.
(Anders Wiklund / Associated Press)

To the editor: The op-ed article by Karin Olofsdotter, Sweden’s ambassador to the United States, left me incredulous.

Sweden has rejected the procedures adopted by nearly all other European countries to safeguard the lives of their citizens, to say nothing of their healthcare workers. To say, as the ambassador does, that “it is too early to draw any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of the measures taken in Sweden” is disingenuous.

About 3,000 people have died in Sweden because of COVID-19. In comparison, about 500 people have died in Denmark, and around 220 people have died in Norway. The most cruel consequence of Sweden’s negligence is the fate of Swedish healthcare workers — for what have they been sacrificed?

Clinton Winant, Solana Beach

To the editor: The key difference between Sweden and the U.S. is the high level of trust in Swedish society, as the ambassador writes in her op-ed article.

The ads here tell us that “we’re all in this together,” but we’re not. Our national persona of rugged individualism really translates as “every man for himself.” Sweden’s fairly homogeneous society and strong welfare model lend themselves to making society come together.


But Sweden’s coronavirus response is an experiment, less fraught than ours but, in terms of lives lost, no more successful.

Yes, numbers may be apples and oranges in the way they are calculated, but we use what we have. Sweden counts about 290 dead per 1 million people, compared to about 215 in the United States. Sweden’s death rate is much more stark when compared to other Scandinavian countries.

So, the Swedish way may not be good for other countries, but I greatly admire and long for the level of trust among the Swedes.

Linda Shahinian, Culver City


To the editor: Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a country where our president and his administration, political parties, the population and the medical experts worked together to find a solution?

Instead we blame, and blame leads to division, delay, confusion and lack of confidence in leadership.

Time will tell how well Sweden’s plan works, but there is no doubt it was not hampered by a lack of unity, responsibility or confidence in government.

Jim Matlock, Ventura