Reply To: Covid cases just beginning


@naturalselection Pretty open in Europe means what I said. Travel is permitted and for most countries, the only restrictions are wearing a mask in a store and in public close to non-family members, keeping social distancing in public around non-family members, and no mass gatherings. Pretty simple, and pretty open.

I find your statements about Sweden quite telling. You oddly state that because their healthcare system did not crash, they have not failed in their response to covid. There is no incomplete picture as you suggest, unless you outright ignore the plain data. However, since you don’t follow European news that much, and instead of listening to me, read this excerpt from The Guardian (Erik Augustin Palm. 6/26/20):

Haverist” is a Swedish word meaning “shipwrecked person”. During the course of Sweden’s shambolic response to Covid-19, dissent – whether from epidemiologists or journalists – has often been met with this insult, which implies the critics are fighting a losing battle. It’s telling of the way Sweden has handled its failure.

Through a uniquely slack approach (seen by many as the largely debunked “herd immunity” approach, even if the government denies this), Sweden reached the highest Covid-19 deaths per capita in the world in May. It still circles around the top, with more than 5,200 deaths – five times as many as in Norway, Finland and Denmark combined. After months of a mainly one-sided debate, critical voices are mounting. Even Sweden’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, admits to fault. But this has not been enough to change his agency’s strategy, which a majority of Swedes still have confidence in – although that support has waned.

The idea of the “opinion corridor”, which has become infamous in the discussion around Sweden, helps illuminate why the country’s Covid-19 debate has been so flawed. It refers to the narrow range of opinions deemed appropriate in Swedish media. Although not entirely different to other concepts on discourse parameters, the opinion corridor is a particular product of Sweden’s attachment to consensus building. Ask any expat there and they’ll tell you how committed Swedes are to this as an end in itself. They will probably also tell you that going against the grain in Sweden can have real consequences, whether it be social or career costs.

The problems with sticking to a narrow consensus can, for example, be seen in Sweden’s narcotics debate, which is dominated by globally antiquated views. It’s a topic on which neighbouring countries Norway and Denmark demonstrate a much wider and more updated span of perspectives, also reflected in legislation.

The result is a highly cloistered discourse in which a few dozen Swedish media pundits determine what is and isn’t deemed permissible debate: and the idea that Sweden had got it completely wrong on coronavirus was considered anathema. Quickly, the weight of opinion – through analysis in opinion pages, and broadcast and social media – laid emphasis on the view that Sweden was doing the right thing by refusing to engage in a mass lockdown or deploy a test, trace and isolate model. Despite this being totally out of line with the rest of the world, I’ve never received so much ad hominem vitriol from colleagues as I did after I wrote an article for Slate critical of the Swedish model. . .

Following the improvement in numbers during late April, Norway’s Minister of Health and Care announced they had the outbreak “under control.” Daily numbers have continued to fall since then. Norway is averaging 18.7 new cases the past 10 days, and has a total death rate of 2.8%. Contrast that with neighboring Sweden which is averaging nearly 1,200 cases a day the past 10 days with a death rate over 8%. Norway has done outstandingly better than Sweden. The difference is they locked down and Sweden did not. Many more Swedes suffered injury and died than should have–all because of a flawed model and stubbornness.

I find it troubling that you outright ignore the escalating cases in some states. More positive cases = more potential infections and deaths. However, you talk instead about “massive asymptomatic rates.” You apparently believe that “vulnerable” people should be “protected,” while non-vulnerable people can go about their lives, letting the disease circulate among them. Your viewed is flawed in many ways.

Who determines who is “vulnerable”? Did you know that some people, like the children under 5 years-old that died, did not know they were vulnerable? Did you know that some healthy people have suffered organ damage and other adverse consequences from the disease? Did you know that the disease has resurfaced in some supposedly cured people? I take it that you belong to the “non-vulnerable” crowd, at least you are acting that way.

Despite so many unknowns with this disease, you have selected a model that is more risky, less responsible, less fair, and more potentially deadly. It’s views like yours as to why the situation in the US is worsening. Take a look at the graphs of the 20 countries with the highest number of infections. Only Iran’s graph looks like the US. Rising, peaking, continually decreasing, and then suddenly escalating to new record peaks a month later. And that is with the cases being fairly controlled in New York and New Jersey! Compare the US to Canada, it is very disappointing.

My agenda is not to cherry pick data to create fear, it is to protect people from harm. What is your agenda? It seems very political to me.

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