Swedish embrace of masks on public transport triggers flurry of ‘told you so’s from lockdown cheerleaders
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.
Remember when the COVIDIOTS said that the UK should take a similar approach to Sweden? Via @euronews: Sweden tells citizens to wear masks on public transport as it struggles with #COVID19 resurgencehttps://t.co/xuc8SGPT6Z— Yorkshireman in Argyll 😷 (@YorkshireArgyll) December 18, 2020
Sweden taking baby steps regarding masks. 10 months into the pandemic they now recommend that people wear them on public transportation (but only during rush hour)...They’ll never admit that they waited too long with this bare minimum tho✨— sofia❄️☃️🌈 (@tmsofia) December 18, 2020
Many misreported the recommendation as an order, perhaps secretly hoping it would become one.
Only after NINE months and almost 8000(!!) deaths is Sweden finally making masks mandatory in public transportations— lina (@JDrewSwaggie) December 18, 2020
Sweden makes face masks mandatory on public transport, the country's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announces as he tightens COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Chirstmas period. pic.twitter.com/KFPsxdGxuW— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) December 18, 2020
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.
I’ve spent months on Twitter listening to people in Sweden say the “science on masks is inconclusive.” So, now that govt decided to recommend them on public transport in Sweden, I await being shown the “new” science...or an admission that it was all a huge mistake from the start.— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) December 18, 2020
Seen from outside of Sweden, one possible explanation springs to mind: given that their initial strategy was aiming for herd immunity, masks were slowing down the process. Now the spread is too fast, so they use masks in public transport as minimal mitigation?— Francois Heinderyckx (@FHeinderyckx) December 18, 2020
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.
Me when Sweden finally recommends face masks (sometimes) pic.twitter.com/AFHSYvReai— Dr Julie Blommaert 👩🏼🔬 (@drjulie_b) December 18, 2020
Sweden is finally going to recommend people wear masks :Dhttps://t.co/w8WMBM2j6XExcept it's only during specific times of day :(Only in public transport :((If you want :(((— Real Soviet Bear (@MDKII) December 18, 2020
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.
Suddenly there’s a surge in interest about Sweden after ignoring its success all Summer.Weirdly no mention of Teacher’s Pets - South Korea, Germany, or Japan, CA & NY..whose mask adoption is near 100%..& have New Case numbers blowing through the roof.Vaccine > Covid > Masks pic.twitter.com/zCLfwsHKQz— PlungeProtectionTeam (@gamesblazer06) December 18, 2020
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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