Over the past six months, there has been a lot of discussion about ‘herd immunity’. According to the scientists, it’s the only thing that can release us from the Covid-19 prison in which we find ourselves.
Herd immunity not only applies to the biology of the disease, though. I’ve also observed it in how governments are responding to the pandemic. UK ministers, it seems, have been keen to join the herd and copy the actions of other countries in the hope of gaining immunity from criticism. Don’t blame us, they seem to be saying, everyone else was doing this too.
The French and Italians had a 6-week lock-down? Of course, let’s do that. The Belgians had some success with a 10pm drinking curfew? No problems, we’ll do that too. The Scottish government want to cancel Christmas for students? OK, let’s give it a try.
Unlike other European countries, however, the Swedish government has followed its own path. Led by Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, there has been no national lockdown and no blanket closure of schools. The country’s policy has been characterized by a lighter-touch approach that balances disease management with broader social and economic management.
A uniquely different approach has, of course, led to a heap of criticism, particularly in Spring and early Summer when the Swedish Covid death rate was similar to the UK’s. In recent months, however, as the number of Sweden’s cases has fallen, so too has the criticism.
Responding to a suggestion that it must be easier to just go with the flow and follow the lockdown herd, Tegnell replied, “Yes, of course it is, but it [a national lockdown] is really using a hammer to kill a fly.”
Tegnell’s approach may be proved right or wrong, and learning from others and adopting best practice is, of course, a good thing. But there are seldom any easy solutions to complex problems and the blind copying of actions and initiatives, simply because others are doing it, is little more than a sign of fear and low self-esteem.
Off The Record: Girls and Boys by Blur
Street’s like a jungle
So call the police
Following the herd
Down to Greece
What’s Your Post-Covid Business Strategy?
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Coronavirus White Papers
I have written three white papers to help business leaders respond to the coronavirus pandemic and crisis.
Powering Through the Recession
How to grow profits and lead your markets through the coronavirus economic crisis
Agility For Life
The crisis has led to faster, more agile decision-making and action across businesses. Applying six key principles can help leaders embed these changes to create ‘agility for life’
Succeeding Beyond The Coronavirus Pandemic
If you want to succeed in the post-Covid world, you need to plan and act fast bow to reshape your business to the new realities and opportunities. Succeeding Beyond the Pandemic gives you a clear, 5-step process to reshape your strategy and accelerate your success.
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