Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise
Do you realise, if you all stop wearing masks, ignore social distancing, and go out and get on with shit, this all goes away in about two weeks […] Ignore, ignore, ignore and we can be where Sweden are- who never fucking locked down at all and are absolutClaim Publisher and Date: Facebook viral post on 2020-09-21
Ignoring the pandemic and foregoing restrictions will not make the virus disappear. It is not correct to say Sweden has ignored COVID-19 and is “absolutely fine and normal” for doing so.
As reported by Reuters
The post (here), which has been shared more than a thousand times since being written last Monday, advocates for people to stop wearing masks and ignore social distancing to “be where Sweden are,” which, it adds, is in an “absolutely fine and normal” state.
The user wrote: “Do you realise, if you all stop wearing masks, ignore social distancing, and go out and get on with shit, this all goes away in about two weeks […] Ignore, ignore, ignore and we can be where Sweden are- who never fucking locked down at all and are absolutely fine and normal.”
Reuters has previously debunked the claim that the virus is a hoax (here ) that might simply disappear if people were no longer tested (here ). It is false to say that if the population ignored all social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, the virus would no longer be present.
The post also suggests Sweden ignored the pandemic – and is now “absolutely fine and normal”. This is inaccurate. While it is true that Sweden did not adopt the stringent legal lockdown measures seen across the rest of the world, it still encouraged voluntary measures that many people followed. This included urging people to work from home if possible or to stay home if unwell, limiting social gatherings, and encouraging social distancing (here, here) .
The country of 10 million has experienced the fifth-highest death rate per capita across Europe, which is multiple times higher than its Nordic neighbours, Denmark and Norway – both of which enacted stricter restrictions (here) . Nearly half of Sweden’s COVID-19 deaths are believed to be in care homes (here), which were badly hit by the virus (here ) .