South Africa must heed Covid lessons
The after-effects of Covid are still being felt today and experts can’t agree on whether the right decisions were made.
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The jury is still out as to whether South Africa, and the world for that matter, handled the Covid pandemic correctly.
Economies were destroyed, businesses broken and lives were lost. The after-effects are still being felt today and experts can’t agree on whether the right decisions were made.
One country that came under fierce criticism during the outbreak was Sweden.
The Swedes opted for more relaxed measures – in sharp contrast to other countries, including South Africa, that chose strict lockdowns in a bid to contain the coronavirus.
In Sweden, schools were not closed and people were not required to wear masks initially, basing its strategy on “recommendations and individual responsibility”.
Their former state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, told all in a new book published last week, and his comments make for interesting reading.
Tegnell said: “We were not any kind of libertarian paradise. We were just a society trying to find good ways to handle it in the most effective way for us.
“Obviously, many perceived Swedish volunteerism as a passive approach. I thought people actually could handle this themselves. We did not force anyone but saw a huge compliance with our recommendations.”
Sweden recorded 19 500 deaths associated with Covid since the start of the pandemic. There were just over 100 000 Covid-related deaths in South Africa.
While comparisons are difficult because each country used different methods to determine Covid deaths, according to the Our World in Data website, Sweden did better than its European peers with 2 365 deaths per million inhabitants, compared to 2 767 per million average for the European Union by late October.
If we learn just one thing from the pandemic, it’s we can but hope to handle the next one better. We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again.
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