No, Sweden has not changed its mind about lockdown

Our fanatically pro-lockdown media keep spreading fake news about Sweden.

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Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, has admitted to making some mistakes over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. His acknowledgement that Sweden’s death toll was ‘too high’ has been seized on by our fervently pro-lockdown media as a sign that Sweden’s more relaxed strategy has failed.

‘Sweden’s controversial decision not to impose a strict lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic led to too many deaths’, reports the BBC. ‘Swedish expert admits country should have had tighter coronavirus controls’, says the Financial Times – a newspaper recently criticised for its botched and misleading graphs of Covid deaths. Tegnell’s words were framed in a similar way by reports from Sky News, the Telegraph, and many others.

But this framing was completely inaccurate. Tegnell has since told the Swedish media that his comments were ‘spun pretty hard’. On the crucial question of lockdown, he has not changed his mind, as the UK media are reporting.

In admitting his errors, Tegnell was not suggesting that Sweden should have imposed the kind of restrictions seen elsewhere in Europe. Rather, he was acknowledging that, like many countries, Sweden had failed to protect the elderly, particularly those living in care homes. As the pandemic progresses, other mistakes will come to light, too.

As Fraser Myers pointed out on spiked recently, lockdown hardliners will seize on any bad-sounding news that comes out of Sweden, even if it means fudging the facts.

At the same time, the mainstream media gave little coverage to the Norwegian chief of public health admitting that Covid could probably have been managed without a lockdown, and that the lockdown must not be repeated in the event of a second wave. They also largely ignored a similar story from Denmark, where public-health officials have accused the PM of ‘abusing’ their advice. The experts had actually recommended very few restrictions.

It is time for the UK media to report more honestly about the lack of evidence in support of lockdowns, and to stop demonising Sweden’s open and rational approach to Covid.

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