In a debate article in Sweden’s biggest newspaper Aftonbladet on New Year’s Eve 2020, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, admits that the covid-19 pandemic has revealed the deep deficiencies in the Swedish society. Not surprising . At the end of February 2021 12,713 people in Sweden has died from the illness, that’s about 1,270 per million inhabitants compared to 121 in Finland and 121 in Norway.
The question is why the difference. A report released earlier this year by the Swedish Covid-19 Commission points to Sweden’s failing universal healthcare. Especially failing in protecting older people. Almost 90 % of the people who died in Sweden was 70 years of age or older and most of them lived in service accommodation. The report concludes that there are structural shortcomings in eldercare and that providers were unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the pandemic due to, among other things, fragmented organization and lack of medical expertise.
“The overall assessment is that the Swedish strategy, regarding elderly care, has failed,” Jimmie Åkesson, the leader of the Sweden Democrats, wrote on Twitter. “It is a tragic story about how people in Sweden in 2020 died unnecessarily.”
In the beginning of December the country’s statistics agency, said Sweden recorded the second deadliest month. The death toll in the country of 10 million was only eclipsed by the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.
However, according to Prime Minister Löfven, Sweden has not only failed in universal healthcare , the government has also failed in protecting its citizens against rampant criminality and violence.
” You should be able to trust the Swedish system, when you call the police, become sick, are old or giving birth to your child”, Löfven said in his debate article.
Food for thought for the Biden Harris administration maybe? President Joe Biden has among other things called for giving every American affordable healthcare , building on Obama Care and getting rid of private medical insurance. His running mate Kamala Harris has not explicitly talked about defunding the police although many demonstrators this summer said so. Instead she has talked about ‘reimagine’ public safety
“ We need to reimagine how we are achieving public safety in America,” she said in early June 2020 in an episode of the TV program The View. “To have cities where one-third of their entire budget is going to policing but yet there is a dire need in those same cities for mental health resources, for resources going into public schools, for resources going into job training and job creation — come on. We have to be honest about this.”
Maybe it is time for the Biden Harris administration to ponder Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s latests debate article.
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