Trump: Sweden paying ‘heavily’ for not locking down nation

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President Trump defended his decision to support social distancing measures and states that have implemented stay-at-home orders on Thursday, pointing to coronavirus deaths in Sweden, which has largely allowed businesses to remain open during the pandemic.

In a tweet Thursday morning, the president noted that Sweden was facing a higher death rate from the coronavirus than neighboring Norway or Finland, which have both implemented lockdown procedures to stop the virus from spreading.

“Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!” Trump tweeted. 

Sweden has a much higher total population than its neighbors, including Finland, Denmark and Norway, but has also faced a much higher rate of people dying from the coronavirus than those countries. A CNN analysis found that Sweden’s death rate sat at 22 per 100,000 people, three times higher than Denmark’s and more than four times higher than Norway’s or Finland’s.

Trump’s tweet comes as some scattered protests around the U.S. have called for state governors to relax restrictions on businesses that have resulted in surging unemployment. Some state governors have announced plans to begin doing so on some sectors of state economies in the weeks and months ahead.

The president has largely sought to defend his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks amid criticism from some that he did not take the virus seriously throughout January and February.

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