photo: living free & “normal” in Sweden
“…A year later the evidence is overwhelming that Sweden got the pandemic mostly right. Sweden’s overall mortality rate in 2020 was lower than most of Europe and its economy suffered far less. Meanwhile, today Sweden is freer and healthier than virtually any other country in Europe. …As much of the world remains gripped in fear and nations devise new restrictions to curtail basic freedoms, Sweden remains a vital and shining reminder that there is a better way”
Daily COVID Deaths in Sweden Hit Zero, as Other Nations Brace for More Lockdowns
Sweden isn’t in the news much these days. There’s a reason for that.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
More than 100,000 people flooded streets in France over the weekend and multiple COVID vaccination centers were vandalized as opposition grew to the government’s most recent pandemic strategy. In President Emmanuel Macron’s latest incarnation of lockdowns, government officials have decreed that unvaccinated individuals will no longer be allowed to enter cafes, restaurants, theaters, public transportation and more.
Needless to say, people were not happy.
France’s approach is unique, but it’s just one of many countries around the world imposing new restrictions as fears grow over a new variant of COVID-19. Australia’s recent restrictions have placed half the country under strict lockdown—even though a record 82,000 tests had identified just 111 new coronavirus cases—while restaurants in Portugal are struggling to survive amid newly imposed restrictions.
One country not making much news is Sweden.
Sweden, of course, was maligned in 2020 for foregoing a strict lockdown. The Guardian called its approach “a catastrophe” in the making, while CBS News said Sweden had become “an example of how not to handle COVID-19.”
Despite these criticisms, Sweden’s laissez-faire approach to the pandemic continues today. In contrast to its European neighbors, Sweden is welcoming tourists. Businesses and schools are open with almost no restrictions. And as far as masks are concerned, not only is there no mandate in place, Swedish health officials are not even recommending them.
What are the results of Sweden’s much-derided laissez-faire policy? Data show the 7-day rolling average for COVID deaths yesterday was zero (see below). As in nada. And it’s been at zero for about a week now.
While many nations are gearing up for more lockdowns, daily deaths in Sweden are still at 0.
This isn’t what they said would happen.
As much of the world remains gripped in fear and nations devise new restrictions to curtail basic freedoms, Sweden remains a vital and shining reminder that there is a better way.
John Miltmore—Foundation For Economic Education
Source – peckford42.wordpress.com
Mask-free Sweden nears zero daily Covid deaths as chief epidemiologist warns against ‘far-reaching conclusions’ about Delta strain
As the CDC urges Americans to mask up against the Delta variant, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist has argued that more data is needed about the strain’s infectiousness. His mask-free nation is hovering at zero Covid deaths per day.
Anders Tegnell said on Friday that there was “a lot we do not know” about Delta and cautioned against drawing “far-reaching conclusions” about the coronavirus strain. He noted that the variant had been circulating in Sweden “for quite some time” with little effect, particularly in high-risk settings such as nursing homes.
His comments were made in response to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting the Delta strain is more transmissible and could potentially cause more severe illness. The New York Times and other media outlets ran stories reporting that the CDC now believes the Delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox – but this comparison didn’t seem to impress Tegnell.
“It is difficult to say how contagious Delta is, [as] when it comes to chickenpox, we have been able to follow the disease for several years. The infectivity [of Delta] seems to be very uneven – in some cases, one person infects a hundred people, then we have other occasions when an infected person does not infect anyone at all,” he told Sweden’s Aftonbladet.
In separate remarks, he pointed to the fact that one-third of the country’s municipalities reported zero new Covid cases over the past week. At the same time, there was an uptick in cases among young people in Stockholm and other large cities.
And while US health authorities are pressing Americans in “high transmission” areas to mask up, Sweden dropped its last remaining mask recommendation – related to public transport – on July 1. While Sweden’s public health agency has supported measures such as social distancing and remote working, it has no recommendations for the use of face coverings in public spaces.
Reviled by the media for refusing to impose harsh lockdowns, Sweden’s less draconian approach to the health crisis appears to be paying off: The Scandinavian nation has recorded a total of eight Covid-linked deaths so far this month, an average of 0.25 deaths per day. While it’s possible this number will increase due to reporting lags, deaths have undoubtedly plummeted over the past several months. On June 4, Sweden reported 13 deaths – more than the entire month of July.
Daily hospitalizations have also hovered near zero in July: On most days this month, the country saw between 0-2 Covid-cases requiring hospital treatment. At the same time, daily cases have fallen sharply since April.
Despite the promising developments, Tegnell warned against getting too comfortable. He stressed on Friday that Sweden was still in a pandemic and urged his countrymen, especially those in younger age groups, to get vaccinated.
Why Americans Should Adopt The Sweden Model On COVID-19
The data suggest that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from covid-19. At best, lockdowns have deferred death for a short time, but they cannot possibly be continued for the long term. It seems likely that one will not have to even compare economic deprivation with loss of life, as the final death toll following authoritarian lockdowns will most likely exceed the deaths from letting people choose how to manage their own risk. After taking the unprecedented economic depression into account, history will likely judge these lockdowns to be the greatest policy error of this generation. Covid-19 is not going to be defeated; we will have to learn how to coexist with it. The only way we can learn how best to cope with covid-19 is to let individuals manage their own risk, observe the outcomes, and learn from mistakes. The world owes a great debt to Sweden for setting an example that the rest of us can follow.
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