Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Sweden Vindicated

 Just as we are heading into the new wave of restrictions and lockdowns, comes this article from Daily Mail:

How Sweden swerved Covid disaster 

They actually have less corona deaths than the majority of the European countries:

Sweden has suffered fewer Covid deaths than most of Europe and is still recording lower infection rates, according to figures that suggest its lockdown gamble has paid off. 

The Scandinavian nation became an international outlier last year when it defied scientific advice and refused to follow the rest of the world in shutting down society to curb the virus' spread. 

 Or rather, may be the science wasn't (isn't) settled?

Not only has Sweden's economy bounced back faster than any other country in the EU, latest data shows that it has also fared better than most in terms of lives lost during the pandemic.

Sweden has suffered almost 1,500 confirmed Covid deaths per million people, according to Oxford University-based research platform Our World in Data, which is lower than the European average (1,800).

The UK — which has endured three national lockdowns and several regional fire-breakers — has recorded 2,100 per million, for comparison, while Belgium and Italy both have rates above 2,000.

It probably also has to do with the fact that they have fewer obese people running around, as according to our data the average BMI of those hospitalised is 30 (not you aren't healthy at any size, sorry).

When looking at excess mortality during the pandemic, Sweden ranks just 21st out of 31 European countries with 5 per cent more deaths since March last year than would be expected. Britain, Italy and Spain, on the other hand, have each suffered around 10 per cent more deaths than average during Covid...

 Sweden also has a lower infection rate currently than most EU nations, with just 100 per million people testing positive daily compared to 800 in Austria, nearly 700 in Belgium and Ireland, and 500 in the UK. 

They just basically let the disease run its course, with some common sense measures:

Although Sweden chose not to lock down completely early in the pandemic, it did introduce stricter legally-binding curbs last winter as cases and deaths rose.

These included a ban on groups of eight or more people, limits on numbers in gyms and shops and an 8pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. 

We had gyms closed which probably contributed to the rise in bmi, btw. Children certainly became plumper during lockdown. As of now, you aren't even allowed to practise indoor sports unless vaxxed or in possession of a negative test, which surely won't improve the health situation any further, but who cares?

While Sweden appears to fared done better than continental Europe during the pandemic, it has performed significantly worse when compared to its closest neighbours.

 Norway and Finland, for example, have suffered about 200 Covid deaths per million people since the virus was first seeded on the continent — seven times lower than Sweden's toll. 

In Denmark the rate is around 400. All three nations have had tougher restrictions during much of the pandemic, which are likely to have played a role.

It all depends on your priorities, I guess. (Mental) health and well-being of younger people was probably at least just as important to the Swedish as extending life of (obese) boomers with comorbidities. 

Cambridge University epidemiologist Raghib Ali told MailOnline: 'Whether you think Sweden's strategy was a success story comes down to which countries you compare it to.

'If you think it should have a similar rate [of Covid deaths] to its neighbours Finland, Norway and Denmark or other countries like Germany and the Netherlands?

See above.

Dr Ali said that one takeaway from Sweden's voluntary lockdown system was that it shows the power of people's small behavioural changes.

'Although Sweden didn't have a Government-enforced lockdown, it did have a type of voluntary lockdown that was well-adhered to.

'What we've learned from Sweden - and the UK - is that people's voluntary behaviour can get countries over a peak without mandated restrictions, even though they alone cannot prevent big outbreaks.' 

The takeaway is that people are much more inclined to follow reasonable restrictions/commands than unreasonable ones. Push them too hard and the chance is they will rebel. 

Also the real crisis is obesity. People can't help getting older (we all will) and obviously the elderly are entitled to good care, but you don't have to be obese. 

I wonder if Sweden offers asylum to refugees from Western Europe?

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