Universities have closed but schools have stayed open for those under the age of 16, on the basis that older students can better manage remote learning, and judged on the too-high cost of taking at least a quarter of the country’s workforce out of action to care for their perfectly healthy children. Not least the damage it would do to their kids’ education; most parents right now will tell you that home-schooling is hideously impractical.
This is where Sweden has its priorities in check. Fairly early on, it became clear that this virus is unusually kind on young, healthy people, especially children, with only a handful of exceptions. Of course it makes sense for the elderly at high risk, many of whom are retired and don’t contribute to the economy anyway, to stay behind closed doors.
But to lock away everyone else? Looking at the numbers (the death rate for over 80s is about 14 per cent, for under 50s its 0.4 per cent, for under 40s it’s 0.2 per cent, and so on until it reaches zero for under 9s), I myself would gladly risk re-entering society and contracting coronavirus. So long as Im not mixing with high-risk individuals – this obviously being crucial – shouldn’t it be as much my choice as whether I wear a seatbelt or smoke cigarettes?