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No country for face masks: Nordics brush off mouth covers

Stockholm (AFP) - As most of the world either orders or recommends the use of face masks, with even US president Donald Trump seen wearing one, Nordic nations are the remaining holdouts.

In supermarkets, on buses, and along the streets of capitals -- such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki and Reykjavik -- face masks are a rare sight, worn only by a small minority, many of who are tourists.

According to a recent survey by YouGov, only five to 10 percent of respondents in the Nordic countries said they used a mask in public settings, a figure that has remained stable since the start of the crisis in March.

At the same time, the corresponding figures have risen to between 70 and 80 percent for most of the other 20 countries polled, including India and the United States.

"I have the impression that if the government doesn't say clearly 'we advise you to wear a mask', nobody will," 21-year-old French student Camille Fornaroli told AFP, adding she was shocked to see how rare masks were in Stockholm.

- Following recommendations -

Birgitta Wedel, a 63-year-old pensioner, told AFP she would have preferred if Sweden's authorities recommended masks, at least on public transport.

But she added that she would keep going without one unless there was a shift in official policy.

"If they don't... I will not wear it because nobody else does," Wedel said.

Marten Sporrong, a 50-year-old businessman, also said he would follow government recommendations: "If they tell us we don't need masks, we won't wear them".

Sweden has received global attention for its softer approach to curbing the spread of the virus which, coupled with a relatively higher death toll, has led to the region's largest country being shunned by its neighbours.

But when it comes to masks, the Nordic nations look staunchly united.

"Except for Sweden, there are very few cases in those countries," KK Cheng, an epidemiologist at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research told AFP.

"So I don't blame them for not doing it, as long as they have reasonable social distancing and contact tracing is done properly," Cheng added.

Asked Tuesday what might change his mind on recommending the use of face masks, Sweden's chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said he was still waiting for "some form of proof that they are effective".

- 'Stubborn' -

For Cheng, such logic is questionable.

"I think it's wrong, it's irresponsible and it's stubborn," the epidemiologist said.

"If he's wrong, it costs life. If I'm wrong, what harm does it do?"

After the World Health Organization (WHO) changed its guidance, Danish health officials began cautiously recommending using masks in early July -- such as when going to the hospital for a test or when you are coming back from a risk area.

"Face covers don't make sense in the current situation, where we have a consistently very low level of infection," Soren Brostrom, director of the Danish Health Authority, told broadcaster DR on Tuesday.

"But could it make sense in the long-term, when we bump into each other on public transport and other situations? That is of course something that we will evaluate," Brostrom added.

Similarly, in Norway and Finland, although there is "no opposition in principle," masks are deemed an unnecessary precaution while the spread is low.

"It may be something that will have to be considered in the near future if the contamination increases," Are Stuwitz Berg, a doctor with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, told AFP.

Mika Salminen, director of Health Security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, told broadcaster YLE the issue would likely resurface "when people begin to return from holidays to a greater extent, and of course if the epidemic situation changes radically."

On Thursday however, one Nordic country broke slightly from the mold.

Iceland -- which like its neighbours have so far sworn off masks -- announced that it would start requiring their use on public transport, domestic flights, ferries and in hairdressing salons.

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by Anonymousreply 4907/31/2020

I wish I lived there.

Masks fucking suck.

by Anonymousreply 107/31/2020

""Face covers don't make sense in the current situation, where we have a consistently very low level of infection."

Maybe they can weather the storm; if so, good for them.

But, what in the fuck is this statement? They only make sense when infection levels are high? They're supposed to prevent high infection levels, not be a cure once they're already high.

by Anonymousreply 207/31/2020

I read Nordic bush and got excited for a moment.

by Anonymousreply 307/31/2020

Masks are for orientals.

by Anonymousreply 407/31/2020

They'll be in for a rude awakening in the North, especially in Sweden. Winter starts earlier there and they'll be all cramped up inside.

Right now, the Swiss and the Swedish are the people I dislike the most in Europe.

by Anonymousreply 507/31/2020

Swedes are arrogant and unlikeable. K ok they run their country well but so do Holland and Denmark. Get over it.

by Anonymousreply 607/31/2020

[quote]right now, the Swiss and the Swedish are the people I dislike the most in Europe.

R5, warum?

by Anonymousreply 707/31/2020

Why are you people so hostile to the Nordic countries, just because they don't want to fucking wear those stupid masks?

They're no worse off than any other European country with Covid, so why are you idiots making such a big fucking deal about it.

They can do whatever the hell they want to do.

by Anonymousreply 807/31/2020

Don't the Nordic countries also have the highest suicide rates? Just saying.

by Anonymousreply 907/31/2020

"Why are you people so hostile to the Nordic countries?"

The cuisine.

by Anonymousreply 1007/31/2020

Great. über-white people not wearing masks. Just what the freedom assholes in the US need for models. Thanks again, Sweden.

by Anonymousreply 1107/31/2020

[quote] "Why are you people so hostile to the Nordic countries?"

[quote] The cuisine.

No. That's the BRITISH, dear.

Their food sucks.

by Anonymousreply 1207/31/2020

Nordic countries have always been known for being smarter, and more progressive.

They're clearly also more rational than the rest of the world.

by Anonymousreply 1307/31/2020

They're not at increased risk of infection. They get enough Vitamin D from fish, they're white and in northern climate, they have a lower percentage of obese junk-food eaters and thus have less adipose tissue with ACE2 receptors for the virus to latch onto. They also don't have huge populations, and don't have the individual-over-society fuck-you-I-got-mine cultural attitude the US has.

Those are five positive attributes. The less a nation is like the US, the better (lower, like confirmed cases per million) COVID-19 position rank it has.

by Anonymousreply 1407/31/2020

Only the ugly, non-sexy brown poors in their shitty tower blocks in the outer reaches of Copenhagen, Malmo and Gothenburg are viral.

The rich, pretty blonde Scandis are happily and healthily residing at their summer houses on the islands and shores. Where the wind just blows all that stuff away. They don't need masks.

by Anonymousreply 1507/31/2020

You sound really jealous, R15.

by Anonymousreply 1607/31/2020

Swiss people - I am probably talking exclusively about the German speaking part - all have sticks rammed up their arses. They are uptight and unpleasant and the 'language' they speak is the most horrible thing you will hear in your life. They are also hostile towards Germans and think small. Very insular and arrogant.

And Swedish people because Bergman movies fucking suck. People who end up in hell are probably forced to watch those dreary Bergman movies Clockwork Orange style.

by Anonymousreply 1707/31/2020

They're all so attractive that it would be a shame to hide it. Every time I've returned from Sweden, Noway and Denmark, I've been exhausted by the constant erection I had to maintain whilst there.

by Anonymousreply 1807/31/2020

R17 thank you for clarifying. But can you hold an entire nation hostage because of one filmmaker? 😉😉

by Anonymousreply 1907/31/2020

[quote] They're all so attractive that it would be a shame to hide it.

That's what makes them so smart.

by Anonymousreply 2007/31/2020

R8, we're allowed to criticize people, so fuck off, Freeper

by Anonymousreply 2107/31/2020

R21 is just seething with jealousy because Nordic countries are still living a normal life.

by Anonymousreply 2207/31/2020

[quote] "Why are you people so hostile to the Nordic countries?"

You must be new here, haven't you noticed the way we treat everyone, including ourselves?

by Anonymousreply 2307/31/2020

[quote]Masks fucking suck.

Ventilators are worse, whiner.

And the Swedish herd mentality of 'we don't do things unless the government tells us to' is a little bit creepy, but whatever.

by Anonymousreply 2407/31/2020

How can I emigrate to Sweden?

They are clearly smarter people.

I'm tired of DUMP and tired of stupid Americans. Fucking losers.

by Anonymousreply 2507/31/2020

R11 sounds like the bigoted version of whiny Vinton on “Mama’s Family.”

by Anonymousreply 2607/31/2020

This is true. We don't wear face masks here in Norway. FHI is saying it has almost no effect so there's no point. We have a low infection rate and few deaths so it hasn't been necessary. We have managed fine without.

by Anonymousreply 2707/31/2020

if we had the other attributes, then we might be better off.

sounds like they might actually be doing "track/trace/quarantine" and thus don't have to assume that every other person one encounters has it.

if we had managed it earlier with other measures, we might have the "freedom" to go maskless too. but we allowed it to pretty much run loose and spread for a few months, and even now don't seem to be able to do the lower-tech methods that would get it in check.

so now, our "low tech" method is the mask by default.

by Anonymousreply 2807/31/2020

I live in Stockholm and basically no one wears a face mask. We're already good at social distancing since it's considered rude to enter someone's personal space. That's about it, it's pretty much business as usual. I don't know anyone who's contracted the virus.

by Anonymousreply 2907/31/2020
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by Anonymousreply 3007/31/2020

Scandinavia wins.

by Anonymousreply 3107/31/2020

I live in Finland and haven’t used mask once. The case rate here is 0.1 when in US it’s around 22. I would say I see a person wearing a mask maybe once or twice a day. Very rare. But this is a country with very few people, less than NYC. I totally understand people in big US cities wear masks.

by Anonymousreply 3207/31/2020

r29, just because you don't know anyone with the virus doesn't mean it's not out there. Your infection rates are pretty high compared to other places in Europe

You don't sound bright. I don't know anyone who died in a car crash,but I wouldn't deny that thousands of people die in car crashes every year

by Anonymousreply 3307/31/2020

Sweden is betting that strict coronavirus rules like those imposed in virtually every other European country can work only in the short term. Treating citizens as children lacking the judgment to make wise decisions is not a sustainable approach. Addressing a prolonged crisis, or one that comes in repeated waves, will require citizens to be active and responsible participants in their security — not mere recipients of government instructions.

“The long-term sustainability of strict rules isn’t that big,” Anders Tegnell, the epidemiologist in charge of the Swedish coronavirus response, recently told a Danish interviewer. “You can only impose such restrictions for a limited time. So, you need to find a different way, and our model may prove more sustainable.”

He may very well be right. Swedes are demonstrating that collective responsibility is possible: Even though the government has only issued behavioral guidelines and individuals don’t face fines for noncompliance, 93 percent of the population say they are following social distancing recommendations.

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by Anonymousreply 3407/31/2020

R32 I need to continue, people have traveled to south of Europe for holidays and it might bring more cases. Our government is ready to tight the regulations if and when it happens. This March schools were closed in a day. One day government told schools will be closed after a day, so teachers had a day to build e-learning and it happened and everything worked fine for two months until schools were opened again. Finns follow regulations and rules very well and that’s why cases haven’t been nearly as high as elsewhere. Naturally one case is too much.

by Anonymousreply 3507/31/2020

[quote] Sweden is betting that strict coronavirus rules like those imposed in virtually every other European country can work only in the short term. Treating citizens as children lacking the judgment to make wise decisions is not a sustainable approach. Addressing a prolonged crisis, or one that comes in repeated waves, will require citizens to be active and responsible participants in their security — not mere recipients of government instructions.

THANK YOU, R34!

Judgmental assholes like R33 are so quick to scold and shame, just like most Karens in the US.

They have no clue what PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY means.

And the more you coddle your population by creating a nanny state, the worse they will act.

Scandinavia treats its people like intelligent adults, which is why they are so successful.

by Anonymousreply 3607/31/2020

R33 Maybe that was poorly worded on my end, my point was that everyday life hasn't changed much for me or the people around me. There are daily updates about the virus but people are going about their lives as usual.

[quote]Ekström noted that the reproduction number of the epidemic – or R number, which measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to – has now fallen in Sweden to around 0.6, meaning transmission is declining. The number of people with antibodies against the new coronavirus, meanwhile, is increasing. Data published by Sweden’s public health agency in June showed that about 10 per cent of people in Stockholm – the nation's worst affected area – had developed antibodies to COVID-19, more than anywhere else in the country.

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by Anonymousreply 3707/31/2020

R36, what world are you living in if you think irresponsible people don't exist?

by Anonymousreply 3807/31/2020

[quote] They have no clue what PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY means.

It means covering your germy facial orifices with a mask.

And what's up with all the lauding of Sweden, which ranks even higher than the US in number of Covid deaths per 100,00 people.

by Anonymousreply 3907/31/2020

[quote]They have no clue what PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY means.

Neither does a significant portion of the American public. If they did, we wouldn't have to mandate masks and social distancing, people would take upon themselves the responsibility to protect other people and themselves.

[quote]the more you coddle your population by creating a nanny state, the worse they will act.

That's how two-year-olds behave -- and two-year-olds can never be relied upon to do the right thing. The soaring infection rates in America prove that.

by Anonymousreply 4007/31/2020

I mean, they basically are Confederate Deplorables according to many dumb Americans.

Science deniers!!!

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by Anonymousreply 4107/31/2020

The freepers who whine about the nanny state are so funny. These are the same people who wanted to ban gay marriage

by Anonymousreply 4207/31/2020

[quote]These are the same people who wanted to ban gay marriage

And tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies.

by Anonymousreply 4307/31/2020

In Norway or Denmark, they probably think they're too badass to wear masks. If it's Sweden, they're probably too depressed and secretly longing for death.

by Anonymousreply 4407/31/2020

Denmark is now also recommending masks on public transport, but only recommending. The number of daily cases has risen a little recently.

by Anonymousreply 4507/31/2020

taking the one single data point to extrapolate is specious in the extreme.

we don't have their society, their safety nets, their level of education. we don't live in the same housing in the same kind of developmental pattern, nor eat the same kinds of foods. we don't engage in their same social or work habits.

most of all, we don't have their health care system.

we probably did not take similar public health measures.

but yeah, we can emulate them on this and it will turn out just fine.

by Anonymousreply 4607/31/2020

I hope the fat, kaftan wearing "personal responsibility" queen isn't wearing a mask and never does. It's beyond funny the right wingnutz are now trumpeting Sweden as an example to follow! They don't want MAericans wearing masks--then give us the free health care, the subsidized housing and powerful unions they enjoy in Sweden-assholes! The OP's article shares a front page titled "Denmark registers highest number of new corona virus cases in two months." At the moment Sweden has 568 deaths/million while the US has 473, Denmark 106, Norway 47; Finland 59. Although it's obviously safer in most of these countries not to wear masks, Denmark's infection rate after reopening of the border with Sweden should be interesting to monitor.

by Anonymousreply 4707/31/2020

R44 A dangerous game, indeed.

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by Anonymousreply 4807/31/2020

[Quote] No. That's the BRITISH, dear. Their food sucks.

The British suck. And very well.

by Anonymousreply 4907/31/2020
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