Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow.
Unlike its Nordic neighbors, Sweden decided early on in the pandemic to forgo lockdown in the hope of achieving broad immunity to the coronavirus. While social distancing was promoted, the government allowed bars, restaurants, salons, gyms and schools to stay open. Initially, Sweden saw death rates from Covid-19 that were similar to other European nations that had closed down their economies. But now, the Scandinavian nation’s daily death toll per 1 million people is 8.71 compared to the United States’ 4.59, according to online publication ‘Our World in Data’. Sweden's mortality rate is the highest in Europe.
"I'd say it hasn't worked out so well," said Dr. George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. "I think the mortality in Norway is something like ten-fold lower. That's the real comparator." (Norway's daily death rate is less than .01 per 1 million people.)
"If you let this go or don’t try very hard or go about it in somewhat of a more restrained way rather than we have here, this is the price you pay," Rutherford said. "Maybe it didn’t hurt businesses, but you have twice the mortality rate of the United States. All those people who died were part of families and they were citizens and part of the fabric of Swedish society. And now they’re gone because of a policy that hasn’t worked out quite the way they thought it would."
Scientists estimate herd immunity for the coronavirus is reached when 70-90% of the population becomes immune to a virus, either by becoming infected or getting a protective vaccine.
Despite its relaxed response, Sweden is nowhere near to hitting that goal. Tests on 1,118 Stockholm residents carried out by Sweden's Public Health Agency over one week in late April showed that only 7.3% had developed the antibodies needed to stave off the disease. “I think herd immunity is a long way off, if we ever reach it,” Bjorn Olsen, a professor of infectious medicine at Uppsala University, told Reuters after the release of the antibody findings.
Rutherford said we can keep doing non-pharmaceutical interventions like contact tracing, mask wearing and isolation quarantines, but also develop drugs that work better treating people who already have the infection so they don't require critical care in a hospital.
Why did Sweden decide against having a lockdown in the country?
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