Sweden is proof that lockdowns don’t work. Worse, they did enormous damage.
An expert on the spread of Covid-19 proclaimed last week that the pandemic in Sweden was essentially over — the virus there was “running out of steam,” he said, as researchers suggest Swedes could be building immunity.
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There was reason for optimism when Kim Sneppen, from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, made his comments. Sweden’s infection and death rates had been low for weeks, despite a second wave rolling over Europe. It seemed to mark a turnaround for the country, which experienced one of the highest death tolls in the world per capita during the spring.
Tucker Carlson played clips from "the world we lost," but a world going on RIGHT NOW in Sweden:
"The Swedes, unlike our health authorities, followed the science, and it worked."
So much common sense in this segment. pic.twitter.com/Pfl8qmVX93
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) October 6, 2020
Even the New York Times has conceded on the truth: Vilified Early Over Lax Virus Strategy, Sweden Seems to Have Scourge Controlled
Sweden’s coronavirus success: How nation went OWN WAY to ‘lead fight against Covid-19’
A CORONAVIRUS vaccine may work but will need years to take effect if it does. Even in this best case scenario, Covid-19 will probably never be truly eradicated.
By Lucy Johnston in Stockholm, The Express, Oct 4, 2020:
With these beliefs, it may seem odd to find Anders Tegnell, the architect of Sweden’s lockdownfree approach to dealing with the pandemic, so optimistic. Or to see Stockholm in full swing, with open bars, live music and smiling, unmasked faces. That’s because state epidemiologist Mr Tegnell believes that so long as people are sensible, normal life can continue.
Health officials say they want to treat the Swedish people as “subjects, not objects” and use clear and sensible advice rather than threats to steer them through.
In fact, Mr Tegnell says, if any country was “following the science” – the phrase favoured by Boris Johnson – sense advice to alert its population.
Long-term lockdowns and facemasks are not the answer, he believes. “I can understand some countries situations were so bad they needed to do something drastic and it was tempting to lockdown,” he says.
“We were lucky we did not have to do this. But I think when we discuss what have been the best measures and what have been reasonable measures and what have been measures with more side-effects and measures with positive effects it is far too early to say.”
Unlike many countries, including the UK, Swedish schools remained open through the spring.
Anders Tegnell talks to Lucy Johnston (Image: Jonathan Nackstrand)
“We knew there would be side-effects of closing schools – keeping them open is extremely important for children’s health,” he says. Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the Department of Microbiology at Sweden’s public health agency, says voluntary compliance had been key, combined with “continual reports” from local authorities and solid communication.
“We thought it would be easier to be inclusive and treat people as subjects and not objects and felt this would work for a longer time,” she says. It was, she believes, important to gauge the impact on any measures on society as a whole and not just on Covid deaths.
“Any measures that we suggested strive to be based in science,” she says. “We decided it was important to have a one societal complete health care approach, not just an approach that looked at the consequences of the pandemic as such.
“We also had to think about, for example, children not going to school and the side-effects of a more severe lockdown.
“We had modellers estimating death numbers but we decided it was important to take in all aspects and bring in different discussions and research to make our assessments. It is hard to know where we will end up in a year or two on death rates and all-cause mortality. But we needed to think about the consequences of our actions and the side effects.”
Sweden never closed, they don't force anyone to wear a mask, last night on @TuckerCarlson he had footage of people sitting right next to each other while riding on a commuter train,..
Segment had a caption which read
" THE WORLD THAT WE LOST "
SHUTDOWNS DO NOT WORK ✔
— Chicago1Ray 🇺🇸 (@Chicago1Ray) October 6, 2020
Sweden has destroyed the case for lockdown
Predictions of mass death never came to pass. It’s now clear we can manage the virus without extreme measures.
If you speak of the Swedish, no-lockdown approach to Covid-19 without disparagement, a horde of midwits will descend on you to say that, actually, Sweden has had a large number of Covid-related deaths compared to its immediate neighbours. Though you can explain that Sweden has had a lower death rate (per million people) than the UK, they will insist you only compare Sweden to the rest of Scandinavia.
But you don’t need to compare Sweden to any country to make the crucial observation that lockdowns are not necessary. Lockdowns were introduced because it was believed that they were the only way to prevent cases spiralling out of control, leading to most of the population being infected, health services being overwhelmed and 0.5 to one per cent of the population potentially dying of the disease.
This was not an unreasonable prediction when it was first made. The coronavirus is highly infectious and is several times more lethal than the flu. Case numbers were growing exponentially in March, as were deaths, and Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College model predicted over 250,000 deaths in Britain without lockdown, even with some social-distancing measures.
But when academics adapted Ferguson’s model to Sweden, it predicted 96,000 deaths by the end of June. Ferguson himself said on 25 April that Sweden’s daily deaths would ‘increase day by day. It is clearly a decision for the Swedish government whether it wishes to tolerate that.’
In fact, the daily number of deaths had already peaked by then – barely a week after they peaked in Britain – and the cumulative total currently stands at less than 6,000. When a prediction is so far off, it should command attention.
Let’s remember how the Swedish approach was reported at the time. A Guardian headline said on 30 March: ‘“They are leading us to catastrophe”: Sweden’s coronavirus stoicism begins to jar.’ The Sun on 1 April said Sweden’s ‘refusal to enter coronavirus lockdown leaving schools and pubs open “will lead to catastrophe”, doctors warn’. And Time magazine warned on 9 April that: ‘Sweden’s relaxed approach to the coronavirus could already be backfiring.’ The report also quoted a head doctor at a major hospital in Sweden saying ‘the current approach will “probably end in a historical massacre”’.
Various post-hoc justifications have been put forward for why things didn’t turn out as expected. Since none of them was mentioned by the doomsters back in March, you have to wonder whether this eagerness to show that there is something special and unique about Sweden reflects a genuine yearning for the truth or a pathological desire to promote lockdown at all costs.
The most stupid of these excuses is that Sweden has a low population density (59 people per square mile). Forgive me for insulting your intelligence but it seems some people need to hear this: Swedish people are not evenly spread out across the country. Scotland also has a low population density (65 people per square mile) because most of the country is wilderness. This has not stopped Glasgow becoming a Covid-19 hotspot.
The country with the highest per capita death rate from Covid is Peru, which has a population density only slightly higher than Sweden at 65 people per square mile. Brazil and Chile have also had more deaths per capita than Sweden, despite having low population densities of 65 and 60 people per square mile respectively. Like Sweden, these countries have vast areas in which nobody lives. There is no reason to think that this should help combat the coronavirus.
It is not as if everyone in Sweden lives in little villages, either: 88 per cent of Swedes live in urban areas. This compares with 84 per cent in the UK, 78 per cent in Peru and 81 per cent in Spain. Sweden is one of the most urbanised countries in Europe.
The second post-hoc explanation is that Swedes did actually lock down, but voluntarily. Unless you have a very loose definition of lockdown, this is simply untrue. This is a typical report from the Guardian in late March:
‘Outdoors, couples stroll arm in arm in the spring sunshine; Malmö’s café terraces do a brisk trade. On the beach and surrounding parkland at Sibbarp there were picnics and barbecues this weekend; the adjoining skate park and playground were rammed. No one was wearing a mask.’
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