Most countries have attempted to control the spread of COVID-19 by what is often called "lockdown". Sweden has chosen another strategy. On this site, I will analyse the Swedish strategy and the Swedish situation using scientific theories concerning stress that I have partially examined in COPING WITH STRESS: sudden death among orienteers, 1999.
My main goal is to analysis what has already happened to better understand what different strategies have had for results in order to, in the future, choose strategies with the highest probability of success. It is important to be positive about the future, but to build a positive future we need first a factual analysis as to what has worked and what has not worked in the past. Unfortunately political actors will often deny their failures.
At the moment I will start this analysis with the Prologue of a book we are presently writing: LIVING WITH CS: The Swedish Experiment. The preliminary prologue is here below and the preliminary introduction is in this pdf-fil
Page still under construction
It was sometime in early March. I don’t remember the date, but I had been wondering for some days what the Swedish government was going to do about the corona virus. Then I heard the recommendations and immediately turned to my wife and said:
“Anne, did you hear? This will never work here. There’ll be a lot of deaths,
especially in the elderly care facilities!”
The last part of my statement was based on consulting work that I had done in three districts (communes) with elderly care workers, helping them organize to reduce stress and create a positive atmosphere.
The main part of my contention was, however, based on much earlier experience from the early 1990’s. At the time, living near Stockholm, I was director with a staff of 55 for a home with severely mentally handicapped, many physically aggressive, individuals. I had, however, resigned my position because a friend in Göteborg had convinced me to start a doctorate program in education, even though my background was in sociology and social psychology.
Although I intended to do research on stress, I had not yet decided on what data I would use, when the story about a 26-year old orienteer’s death was spread over the newspapers. Melker was an elite orienteer and had just been out for an easy training run when he died. He was the latest of a large number of elite orienteers that had died in mysterious circumstances during the previous 14 years. During the last 24 months six orienteers, all of national team status, had died.
I was especially interested since I had a background as an orienteer having run for Canada in 4 World Championships, coached the Australian team for two WOCs and was currently personal coach for an elite orienteer, Peter, who I hoped would make the Swedish team.
No one knew the cause of the deaths, but probably partially because of the spread of jaundice among orienteers in the 1960’s which killed a number of orienteers, there was fear of a virus circulating among the top orienteers in Sweden. Then I read in January, 1992, what the Swedish Orienteering federation had decided. They cancelled all elite competitions for 6 months (until June 15) and recommended that orienteers stopped training for a while or at least cut back significantly in their training. Recommendations included that clubs were not to have any group training.
After reading the recommendations, I immediately phoned Torgny, (My supervisor for my Phd and the one who had convinced me to start the Phd program) and asked how I could get funding to gather data about how orienteers handled the stress.
My two-year study resulted partially in COPING WITH STRESS: sudden death among orienteers, 1999. My data was the reason for my comment on the Swedish approach to Covid-19.
Now, after three months the Swedish death toll hasn’t reached my predicted 6000 yet, and although no authorities have replied to my emails, I am hoping to contribute to the understanding of how people react to stressful situations.
Wanting to have some assistance in my writing my first thoughts turned to my older daughter, who is a psychologist and has been secretary in Mensa, but her hands are full now with a 3 year old son and many patients with various problems, some related to Covid-19.
The next obvious choice was Hanna, the 27-year old marathoner that I coach. Her masters in nano engineering was on solar panels and she presently works with fingerprint sensors. Besides discussing marathon training, we have had many interesting discussions on various topics including Covid-19. Since she is also an artist and can draw and paint illustrations besides contributing to the writing, I was fortunate that she gave a positive answer to my request for help with this book which now will have many illustrations