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18 Dec, 2020 21:30

Swedish embrace of masks on public transport triggers flurry of ‘told you so’s from lockdown cheerleaders

Swedish embrace of masks on public transport triggers flurry of ‘told you so’s from lockdown cheerleaders

Sweden, long an outlier in terms of its laissez-faire approach to the Covid-19 pandemic, has called for residents to wear masks on public transit, among other restrictions – exciting fans of mask mandates and lockdowns worldwide.

Stockholm has recommended citizens wear masks on public transportation during busy hours starting on Friday, continuing to move away from the hands-off policies it embraced for most of the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance was accompanied by several more strict regulations, including an occupancy limit on shops and gyms, a work-from-home order for non-essential employees, and a four-person limit on in-home gatherings.

While the mask recommendation was not an order, even the slightest hint of a reversal of Sweden’s ‘business as usual’ policies set social media alight with smug “I told you so”s.

Many misreported the recommendation as an order, perhaps secretly hoping it would become one.

Confusing government policy with science, some took the move as an admission on Sweden’s part that the science on masks was no longer inconclusive.

Many argued the new rules were too little, too late – and a few even took it as a green light to blame the country for deaths outside its borders.

However, several pointed out that Sweden was far from the only country experiencing a surge of cases – and some countries with mandatory masking were doing quite a bit worse.

In a somewhat illogical move, the Swedish government has threatened to shut down shops and gyms entirely if the new restrictions don’t work to slow the spread of the virus – though it’s not clear how doubling down on a ‘failed’ policy translates to success.

The crackdown follows a rare public condemnation of national health policy from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who declared earlier this week that the country had “failed” at addressing the pandemic. An official commission on Tuesday blamed the high death toll in the country’s nursing homes on “systemic shortcomings” in elder care and poor handling by the government. Nine out of ten Swedes who died with Covid-19 were over 70 years of age, and nearly half were living in care homes.

Also on rt.com Sweden says maximum of FOUR people can gather at Christmas, non-essential workers to stay home for a month as Covid cases rise

Sweden has been one of a handful of nations that refused to shut down its economy and upend society over the coronavirus pandemic, triggering an outpouring of resentment (and envy) from its neighbors. Lockdown advocates have long been eyeing the country’s infection and death numbers in the hope that they soar, thus – in their mind – validating the imposition of increasingly draconian regulations under the guise of fighting the pandemic.

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