Sweden, Norway Lifting COVID Restrictions Spark Reactions as Pundits Want End to Mandates

The decision by Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to lift COVID-related restrictions has gained mixed reactions on social media amid a push to end vaccine and mask mandates in the U.S.

The move to scrap out COVID-related restrictions in all three countries prompted some criticism against the measures in the U.S. as some Republicans continue to push back against mandates hoping to reach similar outcomes.

"I think America's litigious culture is extremely problematic," Twitter user Anthony LaMesa wrote.

I think America's litigious culture is extremely problematic, but Massachusetts now has a higher vaccination rate than Denmark, Norway, Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. It's probably time to ditch masks in schools. https://t.co/do96Mnr5Ux

— Anthony LaMesa (@ajlamesa) September 29, 2021

"These countries understand that learning to live with Covid means no longer obsessing over case numbers and introducing schemes that are an obscene waste of tax payer's money with no obvious public health benefit," another person tweeted.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced the Stop Vaccine Mandates Act in an effort to revoke President Joe Biden's order requiring COVID vaccinations.

"President Biden's Executive Order excessively exceeded his power. Every American should be able to make the decisions that are best for them and their families, he said in the statement attached to the bill he filed. "No American should have to choose between their conscience, their health, and their job."

Lankford also joined other Republican Senators, including Ted Cruz of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, and Roger Marshall of Kansas, to introduce the COVID-19 Vaccine Dishonorable Discharge Prevention Act last month. The bill bans the Department of Defense from issuing a dishonorable discharge to service members who choose not to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, another Republican, Senator Mike Lee of Utah, said on Thursday that he "simply do not believe the federal government should be mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans," despite its benefits.

Pundits react to Norway lifting COVID measures
As Norway, Denmark, and Sweden scrapped out its COVID-related restrictions, Republicans in the U.S. have been pushing back against mandates hoping to be free from pandemic restrictions. Above, a globe with a surgical mask is seen on the floor of the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, on October 28, 2020, in Brussels, Belgium. Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Echoing Lee's views, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin claimed that the way some governments and societies responded to the pandemic "simply makes no sense."

In an op-ed for The Washington Times Johnson said: "The advent of vaccine mandates is exacerbating social divisions and will only increase the pandemic harms."

"We are relentlessly told by the COVID-19 gods—federal agencies, mainstream media, and social media—that they alone represent science, and any other interpretation of data or opinion is labeled dangerous misinformation," he said. "This attitude contradicts what we've generally been told regarding any serious medical diagnosis: 'Always try to get a second or even third opinion.'"

Sweden status: FREE.
Norway status: FREE.
Denmark status: FREE.

Scandinavia has become a beacon of freedom to the world🇸🇪🇳🇴🇩🇰

— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) September 30, 2021

Sweden was the latest to join the list of countries removing COVID-related restrictions. On Wednesday, the country lifted its remaining pandemic restrictions, including capacity limits at gatherings and events, according to Euronews. Recommendations to work from home were also scrapped.

Meanwhile, Norway on Saturday began moving to "normal everyday life" but with increased emergency preparedness, the Norwegian government said. The country lifted all its domestic restrictions except for requiring people to self-quarantine in case they have COVID symptoms.

"We no longer need to keep a distance. We can spend time with people the way we did before," said Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister. "We are removing the restrictions on the number of people who can attend events together. Drinks no longer need to be served at tables, and admission after midnight is no longer banned."

Additionally, Denmark became one of the first European Union countries to roll back its COVID restrictions on September 10, including the requirement to show COVID vaccination proof to enter entertainment venues such as nightclubs. The Danish government cited the country's high vaccination rate and control over the pandemic as reasons behind its decision.

"But even though we are in a good place right now, we are not out of the pandemic and the government will not hesitate to act quickly if the pandemic again threatens important functions in our society," Minister of Health Magnus Heunicke said on August 27.