eupinions echo 14 Aug, 2020

Fewer Swedes Still Expecting to Become Infected

After initial criticism of Sweden's alternative approach towards the corona crisis, sentiments have noticeably cooled down.

eupinions echo Fewer Swedes Still Expecting to Become Infected

Every week, surveys from all across the EU tell us what Europeans are thinking, feeling and talking about. In our segment, eupinions echo, we collect these voices and play them back to you. Each week, we highlight one survey of particular interest in a short blogpost and share daily new survey results via our website and our twitter channel.


Sweden gained a degree of notoriety earlier in the year for its government's controversial approach towards the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other European countries, Sweden, for the most part, did not resort to any drastic lockdown measures to combat the spread of the virus early on. Instead the country largely relied on voluntary social distancing guidelines in addition to banning large-scale events with more than 50 attendees.

While the government's actions were initially met with general trust by the Swedes, this trust slowly but surely eroded as COVID death numbers began to increase. Today, more than 5,500 people have died off the Virus in the small country of only 10 million inhabitants and while in April 63% of the people were still confident in the government's ability to handle the pandemic, this number is now down to just 45% according to a recent Novus survey.

However, even though Sweden, for a time, led Europe in its per capita mortality rate, the country has since achieved somewhat of a turn-around. Latest figures show a drastically reduced spread of the virus with daily reported deaths in the single digits for much of July and August and according to the University of Oxford's government response tracker, countries like France, Austria, Croatia, Norway or Finland now all actually have fewer corona restrictions in place than Sweden. At the same time,  the threat perception of the virus seems to have gone down for many Swedes, as a new survey by Kantar Sifo and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency now suggests. Only 29% of Swedes currently still belief they are at risk of becoming infected with the virus, down from 50% at the end of March.

Still, 80% of respondents, nonetheless, stated that they would follow the recommendations of government agencies to the same extend as before and almost 7 in 10 (66%) of Swedes said that they would most likely get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine became available.

In the end, it remains to be seen how successful Sweden's path through this crisis will ultimately turnout. It will certainly be interesting to keep a close eye on how Swedes perceive this pandemic and their government's response to it.



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About the surveys: Novus conducts up to 2,000 interviews each week in an ongoing study to reflect the perception of COVID related issues in Sweden. For the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency's survey, Kantar Sifo has analysed data from over 13,000 online panel respondents since March 21st this year.