In protecting the elderly, should Sweden follow Norway’s lead?

An elderly using a walker walks on a street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Stockholm, Sweden April 20, 2020. (Ali Lorestani/TT News Agency/REUTERS)
The Public Health Agency has described the situation at Sweden’s nursing homes, where a third of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred, as a major concern.

But while state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell believes Sweden should learn from Norway, an expert on elderly care issues in the Nordic region is not so sure they have got things right, either.

Of all those who have died from the coronavirus around the world, somewhere between 40 and 60 percent live in nursing homes or various forms of residential care for older people, with a couple of exceptions and that is Australia and Singapore. But in countries like Belgium, Spain, France and even Norway, the proportion is around half or more.Marta Szebehely, a professor emeritus in Social Work at Stockholm University

She is referring to figures from the London School of Economics, which show that, as of April 15th, nearly 64 percent of Norway’s 136 confirmed Covid-19 deaths had occurred in elderly care facilities. So while the overall death rate is significantly higher in Sweden, the proportion of fatalities at nursing homes is twice as high in Norway.

Listen to the report to hear more.

Related stories from around the North:

Arctic: Roundup of COVID-19 responses around the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: Canadian government providing nearly $130M to help Arctic territories during pandemic, CBC News

Finland: First Covid-19 death reported in southwestern Finnish Lapland, Yle News

Greenland: COVID-19: Arctic science expedition postpones flight campaign after trainee tests positive for virus, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Moscow disinforms about coronavirus, says press freedom organization, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: How different is Sweden’s coronavirus strategy to its Scandinavian neighbours?, Radio Sweden

United States: ‘A little frustrating’: Northwest Canada tours, Alaska cruises cancelled this year, Alaska Public Media

Nathalie Rothschild, Radio Sweden

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