Flat-Packing The Curve


As the coronavirus pandemic swept around the world in early 2020, one nation stood alone – Sweden.

The book “Flat-Packing The Curve” tells the story of how, while other countries scrambled to close their borders and lock their societies down, the pragmatic Swedes instead politely asked their citizens to do the right thing – to wash their hands, work from home and protect the elderly and the vulnerable.

The rest of the world looked on, first in horror and then in grudging wonder, as the Swedes seemed to calmly navigate a path through the Covid-19 outbreak using a mitigation strategy that ultimately caused many to question their initial response.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing – thousands of elderly people died at a rate far higher than in neighbouring Norway, Denmark and Finland, and dissent was quickly quashed.

Based on interviews with academics, public health officials and ordinary people that reveal the strategy and its effects on everyday life in Sweden, “Flat-Packing The Curve” explains not just the country’s strategy, but how unique aspects of the nation’s culture made it possible.

So was Sweden’s mitigation strategy a reckless gamble, or a stroke of Scandinavian genius? Did it pay off, and if so at what cost?

And what can other nations learn from Sweden’s experience of flat-packing the curve?