Sweden’s coronavirus gamble is playing out in a fascinating way

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There is no proof or even evidence that social distancing works. It’s a theory at this point. It might be a very bad idea once it all plays out. Our control group is Sweden.

The world is quarantining healthy people instead of sick people to protect the healthy from the ravages of coronavirus. Sweden has taken a different tack and says we should rely on herd immunity as we have in the past.

In the end, Sweden could have fewer deaths than they would have in any flu season. We just don’t know. What we do know today is Sweden’s numbers of cases and deaths from the virus were going up, and they never soared. In fact, today, they only had 17 new deaths, but weekend reporting is sometimes delayed. On Thursday, there were 77 new deaths, down from 106.

PROBLEMS WITH LOCKDOWNS

The problem with lockdowns is that “you tire the system out,” Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, told the Guardian. “You can’t keep a lockdown going for months — it’s impossible.” He told Britain’s Daily Mail: “We can’t kill all our services. And unemployed people are a great threat to public health. It’s a factor you need to think about.”

Sweden has not destroyed its economy to protect the population from the new coronavirus. Instead, they advised people with illnesses and the elderly to self-quarantine.

The results should give us some direction for future pandemics. We sure can’t shut down every time the CDC and other doctors want to decide policy.

Sweden’s ICU situation suggests a leveling off or decline:

THE WESTERN WORLD IS SOCIALLY ISOLATED EXCEPT FOR SWEDEN

Sweden takes very few precautions and their death rates from the virus are in line with the rest of the EU so far.

As of the end of February, the death rate for any illness was: the USA is 3.3 per million, Spain is 89 per million, Italy is 124 per million, The Netherlands is 25 per million, and Great Britain is 7.2 per million.

As of April 10

The death rate from coronavirus as of today in terms of the total population of each country is: Spain is 352 per million or (46.4 mn), Italy is 312 per million (60.4mn), The Netherlands is 152 per million (17.4mn), Great Britain is 155 per million (63.7mn), Sweden is 87.8 per million (despite no serious precautions), USA is 57.4 per million (out of 327 million).

The death rate as of today for coronavirus alone of those who are confirmed to have the disease or had it is: Italy 12.8%, Spain 10%, France 10.5%, The Netherlands 10.8%, Great Britain 12%, Sweden is 9.2%, and the USA is 3.7%.

Sweden has lost 87.8 per million from coronavirus. The USA with roughly 327 million people lost 57.5 per million but we also ruined our economy – perhaps temporarily.

Since they did minimal quarantining, Sweden would be expected to have more coronavirus deaths per million than the rest of the EU. So far, that is not the case.

OTHER FACTORS

The caveat here is we don’t know how many have it or had it, and it might be too early to tell. Also, reporting and testing vary greatly.

Norway, however, has 6,360 cases, with 114 deaths while Sweden has 9,685 with 887 deaths (today it’s over 10,000 cases, mostly from populated areas). Norway has half the population of Sweden and is more remote. Denmark, which has 5 million-plus people, similar to Norway (Sweden has a population of 10 million-plus), has 6,014 cases with 260 deaths. It could be just a matter of time for any of these nations. We will have to wait and see.

In any case, how do you reasonably compare tiny, remote countries with largely-populated nations like the USA?

In the end, after all the theorizing, reality will tell the final story. It will be balanced with how much destruction took place with regard to the economy and the mental health of the people. Sweden could well be the winners here.


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