Graduation day in Sweden, year 2020: how to effectively spread COVID-19


Björn SöderqvistGraduation day in Helsingborg.

Today, Magasinet Paragraf published this illuminating article of current Swedish life under COVID-19 while focusing on graduating students. You can read the article in google-translated English here.

Bear in mind that Sweden has, for a couple of weeks now, been top of the list of the countries where the biggest number of people have died of COVID-19, per capita.

In short, the article is written by a upper-secondary-school teacher who is convinced that youths who are about to graduate from upper secondary school won’t adhere to the advice that the Public Health Agency of Sweden have dished out.

Which are the advice?

Well, they’re listed here (in Swedish), and it’s currently these pointers:

  • Isolated classes or otherwise limited groups can meet (but not the entire school at once)
  • Regular COVID-19-related advice adhere, e.g.:
    • Persons with even one of the COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and isolate themselves from other people
    • Groups larger than fifty people must not be formed

All of the above are merely recommendations. You won’t get thrown in jail or even fined if you do some of the above. In Sweden, you are free to skip around and merrily spread a virus at dance classes or while you’re swallowing a burger.

Consider an average school class, consisting of thirty students. They’re graduating. This marks the end of a decade of school, something that (to them) feels like the end of eternity; they’re free! Do you think they feel that they should be stopped from celebrating what is the start of life?


When we’re teenagers we feel invincible. We are indestructible, eternal, often narcissistic little ingrates who don’t think twice about anything but ourselves. Well, I think kids today are probably less solipsistic and egoistic than my ilk and I were at the time, but, by and large, teenagers don’t differ much through the ages, especially now that they’re not bogged down by many traditions.

There’s a pandemic sweeping, still. Papers keep reporting about it, but it’s ‘the new normal’, as some people call it.

It’s not any new normal, dreck.

If you seriously think we should chill down in regard to all of this, let me remind you that there’s no real way for most people to know whether they’re infected and spread COVID-19.

In other words, even if you were properly tested negative for COVID-19 five minutes ago, that has no bearing on how the virus treats you.

Trust science.

If you’re healthy, hug a mate who has the virus: now you have it, too.

And you hug the next person.

And at your graduation, you say hi to your family, who are waiting in the wings, because that’s tradition in Sweden: you first greet your mates, having spent most of the morning drinking alcohol around and in school, grabbed your final grades, gone out of school for the last time, been greeted by your family and friends who have come to see you graduate, you hug your peers intensely, kiss each other, jump around, see your family, kiss and hug them, jump around, kiss and hug more friends, peers, and other people who you’ve rarely even said hi to at school but, fug that, and – yeah, Swedes often jump onto big trucks at this point.

Holger Ellgaard: Studenter från Brännkyrka gymnasium firar med att åka flak, juni 2010.

They drink more, they dance, there are fluids swapped everywhere.

Then, students go home, are met by family and friends, eat, hopefully shower, and then go to the big-ass party that awaits them at the end of the evening where all graduating classes of the school collate and debauch.

It’s tradition.

Let me quote the article I was referring to at the start of this post, and the translation is mine:

Everyone who has ever been close to what goes on at an upper secondary school knows that the average student reports sick leave as soon as their throat starts itching in the slightest. It’s common with about 20% sick leave in a class. That’s why there’s no major risk that students spread contagion in a school.

[…]

What about on graduation day? Then it’s the opposite. Nobody, absolutely nobody, will stay away from their graduating because he or she has a fever, feels some body pains, or are coughing.

Magnusson, A. (2020, June 2). Än Klappar Hjärtat Med Friska Slag. Magasinet Para§raf. Retrieved June 2, 2020, from https://web.archive.org/web/20200602111604/https://www.magasinetparagraf.se/nyheter/kronikor/197849-an-klappar-hjartat-med-friska-slag/

Andreas Magnusson ends his article by hoping the number of deaths won’t increase en masse among relatives, teachers, and other people who get in the way of students, adding that he sadly has a hard time in trying to think it could be avoided.


I think he’s right.

I also see more and more people in Stockholm—where I live—gather in larger numbers and move more and more closely to each other as the sun comes out more.

It’s kind of a numbers effect: the more who are doing it, the more people seem to think it’s OK to gather and just live.

These people are either intelligent people who are acting more than stupidly (because their poor behaviour can kill a large number of people), or they actually are stupid.

I can’t help but judge joggers/runners and bicyclists harsher than people who are out walking or sit about in the sun; the more movement, the less consideration about people’s health, it seems. It’s fucking atrocious. It’s as their brains are atrophying.

Istill think it is our responsibility—for those who aren’t forced to physically move through swathes of humans—to all act as though we’re contagious. Otherwise, people will keep infecting others.

Also remember: animals can be infected with COVID-19, so don’t go around petting them. I love cats so I don’t want to kill them (by possibly being infected with COVID-19 and spreading it to them).

In short: don’t be a solipsistic and egoistic asshole. Stay at home unless you must move around, and let’s not use ‘must’ as though you’re brainless.

Another thing: traditions are, by definition, anti-intellectual; tradition is propaganda, something to make you stop thinking and just do stuff for the sake of doing it, which truly is insane.

I’ve no qualms about doing idiotic stuff, but I draw the line where idiocy leads to death of others.

If you feel the strong desire to party and that way kill people, I’ll quote John Lydon: be a man/kill yourself.

P.s. I am available for hire for children’s parties.


Comments 0