It is infuriating to see an article like this without a single chart, graph, or anything referencing actual statistical analysis.
We have an entire class of elites who despite graduating from elite schools are statistically and often mathematically illiterate who are funneled directly into the top tier media companies. Like most quantitatively illiterate humans, they think in terms of stories, anecdotes, and emotions.
Journalism like this is why people on hiking trails wear masks, and healthy 20-something people are acting like they are at equivalent risk as nursing home residents.
It's embarrassing that the entire western world has allowed media institutions filled with liberal arts grads to shape our entire response to the virus.
I think it's because journalism has become all about the journalist and their narrative and social signaling.
Even when data is used, it's not for the purpose of dispassionate analysis. Using data is just a way to identify yourself in the "expert" "science-based" camp.
how utterly ludicrous is this shit?!?
Contrary to popular belief policy decisions are not made on cases alone, but percentage of positive tests, hospital capacities, fatalities, test & trace capacities etc. taken together.
Policy decisions are based on bullshit and fraudulent predictions. The current lockdown was started on December 15 based on a bullshit prediction, then the curfew was started based on another bullshit prediction that was even falsified before it was shown, and then everything was extended based on bullshit, first the statement ‘we need to go on longer so we can see if it works’ and then ‘we are sure it works’ and then ‘well we will never know if it works, but it’s scary to stop’.
It’s bullshit through and through. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Hopefully those policy decisions are taking more into account but when communicating the decisions I've found that only the scary numbers are used as justification.
Sweden seems to be a COVID Rorschach test. Whatever you believe the correct response is/was you can point to Sweden to support your point. You can see it in this thread. They didn't lock down and they were fine! They didn't lock down and they had a bunch of needless deaths!
I’m not a fan of Sweden’s strategy either, but the above has made me be a bit wary of opinions of the same in international media.
This is of course because the EU completely fucked up the contracts by being slow, inept, and not understanding how manufacturing is booked.
A good example of this can be seen with India, where the current party in power is regularly unfairly attacked by US media with one-sided stories told from a progressive political perspective. As an example, John Oliver ran a very cringe-worthy segment about Narendra Modi (the Prime Minister of India), without any introspection about how it looks for a British white man to mock the democratically elected leader of a country freed from British colonization only recently (in 1947). This carried on to the farmers protests in India, where US celebrities like NBA basketball players started posting their support for violent protests on Twitter and Instagram without understanding the laws in question, how they address numerous complex problems, how Indian politics works, and other relevant details. Even Greta Thunberg got involved, tweeting a "toolkit" (https://nypost.com/2021/02/04/greta-thunberg-faces-probe-in-...) that amounted to undermining the government of India, and setting off investigations of sedition. Everyone seems to cry wolf about foreign influence on their own political system but are willing to do the same to others, seemingly.
Apart from the peculiar case of Sweden in coronavirus politics, we are now also seeing other European leaders recognize the influence of US media and the threat it poses to their political systems, societies, and culture. Macron and other French leaders spoke about this publicly when Twitter banned Trump (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/09/world/europe/france-threa...), warning against an "intellectual matrix from American universities". Angela Merkel railed against the immense influence of American tech companies, and the threat it poses to free societies (https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2021/01/11/problemat...).
It's funny how the US left frequently argues they're advocating in favor of X group, but if any member of X group diverges in opinion from upper-class urban whites and the broader liberal elite social class, they're quickly ignored or condemned.
This is even more apparent now when, in context of BLM stuff particularly, minority people are said to be embodying "whiteness" if they diverge from the BLM narrative.
Often it has been claimed that while the flu takes victims every year, COVID cannot be compared to the flu because its victim count is higher. Yet modern populations have also become larger, and so the proportions are not so different than with common seasonal ailments of times past, when society did not feel a pressure to impose lockdowns as opposed to other public-health measures.
We now know we can actually do a much better job of controlling the spread of viruses, if we choose to. We could aim for higher vaccination rates, especially in younger people and those working in close proximity to others. We could increase ventilation standards. We could change attitudes (and compensation) around people coming to work sick.
It doesn't mean pandemic-style protocols, but small adjustments have a compounding effect. Even societal attitude shifts like considering it as disgusting for an unmasked person to cough in public as it is to spit in the floor can change things. Influenza has an R0 of 1.3 . Every bit closer to 1.0 that gets would save thousands of lives.
But I think I see your point nonetheless.
Florida is also a large state with a large senior population, so it can't be easily dismissed.
Death numbers ticking up slightly, but absent a major increase in deaths, it will be hard to say that Florida made a bad decision.
Note that I'm only looking at death numbers, not case numbers. I know it's a trailing indicator, but is a much better indicator of the actual results.
Finland did much better without strict lockdowns. Just limit group events limit restaurants open hours, shut down schools for the worst times etc. Sweden could have saved thousand of people with just slightly more restrictions.
Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 as of 6 April 2021. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality
Czech Rep. 254.64
Certainly, with Sweden faring much better than other countries that employed far more restrictive measures suggests that the virus doesn't care about such measures. Economies, livelihoods, rights, and those waiting for treatments for other things were all harmed unnecessarily.
At best this has all been a giant, failed experiment. At worst it's the predictable result of panic and listening to self-appointed "authorities" who happen to be able to reach large audiences instantly, instead of lesser-known actual experts without such privilege, and who therefore take longer to be heard.
Doing what is ordinarily done in pandemics - isolating only those at risk until cures are found, would obviously have saved more lives and resulted in almost no disruption nor any trillions in wasted money.
 - 32 studies: https://www.aier.org/article/lockdowns-do-not-control-the-co...
In Finland the idea was don't mingle and meet people. Old people should avoid contact, but going outside is OK. When gyms were closed, all parks were full of people running and exercising. They just kept the distance. Even without a mask it's very hard to get viral dose that causes infection if you keep enough distance when outside.
Indeed, the main criticism of the government(s) here is usually that lockdowns weren't introduced soon enough and lifted too early.
Cases going down after a lockdown (which happens when cases go up) doesn't imply the lockdown actually caused the cases to go back down. It's a classic mistake in medicine - "patient got better after treatment, therefore the treatment is effective" and the reason we have double blind trials.
And what explains the deaths?
It will definitely be interesting to see, once this is all done, which approaches worked the best and why there were such huge variations between different countries.
> Preliminary data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively.
> Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden. However, Sweden did much worse than its Nordic neighbours, with Denmark registering just 1.5% excess mortality and Finland 1.0%. Norway had no excess mortality at all in 2020.
Can someone fill in the numbers for the US and Canada?
 shows the Excess Mortality across Countries in 2020, very convenient to compare.
South Korea, interestingly: -2.9%
Also -  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210310/dq210...
"Lies, damn lies, statistics"...
TLDR; It's possible to cherry pick. And it doesn't lead us anywhere (neither for nor against your hypothesis).
>TLDR; It's possible to cherry pick.
I didn't cherry pick. I selected the best reference group. Other Nordic countries are very similar to Sweden.
Then I added some other countries to show that Sweden is roughly average in genera.
What is sustainable is being a sparsely populated nation in a dry climate, heat, summer, sun, most importantly - healthy non-obese people and not everyone being 90 years old with a list of chronic illnesses. Most nations aren't like that.
So sorry to burst your Jesus insecurity, but nobody is saving anyone by #stayathome. And this will be evident in a year or two when you draw the line and find out that nations with severe lockdowns ended up being not that better than those without any lockdowns.
This is the most highly contagious virus and it won't magically disappear. Mutations already kick in and there is little insight how current vaccines will fare in the long run. Lockdowns and mass vaccination every cold season? Good luck with that. I don't even visit the dentist that often.
I was just in FL for 10 days. It was hit or miss outside. Some people wore masks, others did not. Pretty much 100% of the businesses still require masks to be in the store. Restaurants were the same, masks on until you get seated, then you can take them off.
Have any studies shown the effectivenes of masks outdoors? I know a lot have found the virus spreads poorly outdoors, so this difference probably isn't a big factor in the spread.
In Sweden on the other hand, mask use is neither mandatory, nor has the messaging been about that mask use is about protecting others primarily, nor seem Swedes to care a lot about protecting others. This whole mask issue has revealed a rather ugly, selfish side of Swedish mentality to me. In addition to the stubbornness and widely internalized national exceptionalism.
Those in Canada are currently being knocked off their high horses by a massive 3rd wave worse than anything before it. Some of this is likely due to the rapid removal of restrictions back in February when cases were on a downward trend.
Well likely know who handled it best in 4-5 years. And even then the answer will likely be “it’s all trade offs, depends what’s important to you”.
Sweden did this:
- we now have to do XYZ, this is the new normal. The things we ask you to do are designed to be sustainable in the long term (the fact they didn’t close schools is a perfect example. Closing schools is absolutely not sustainable long term)
Cz did this:
- cases are up, close everything
- when cases are down, open up everything. Chest beating ensued as you wrote. We won, why should we help Italians who didn’t manage as well as we did etc..
- when cases are up close everything
- repeat with confusing variations on what is allowed or banned this time
This eroded the (already weak) trust between people and the government IMO and nobody gives a shit about following even the regulations that make sense. Listening to my family describing what is going on in CZ gives a very Kafkaesque feeling.
I'd argue that the countries that did face SARS have handled SARS-Cov-2 better than the ones that didn't.
They then thought their approach would avoid a second wave. They were wrong about that as well.
They're now pinning their hats on being 'not the worst off'.
A lot of people are dead. Others are angry.
Total deaths pM Sweden: 1,399
Similar country size, but BE has had full lockdown, curfew, police fining.
Belgium considered anyone that died with something that might be COVID-19, that death is in their stats. Meanwhile, other countries are saying anyone who has not been positively tested as having died with COVID-19 in their system did not die from the pandemic. But tests are fallible, and many people die of the after effects of COVID-19, after the virus has ravaged them but been dealt with.
The true measure is going to be the death rate compared to the previous ten years. And even that has to be considered by numerous conflating variables.
Total deaths pM Norway: 123
Total deaths pM Finland: 148
Total deaths pM Germany: 915
I'm not sure why you consider Belgium cherry-picking but not Norway, Germany, and Finland.
You could make an argument for Finland and Norway as more culturally similar (even if personally I find this logic suspect for explaining Covid outcomes), but I don't see how, between Germany and Belgium, one is obviously better than the other for comparison. It appears you chose a country that fits your narrative, and them, theirs.
> You could make an argument for Finland and Norway as more culturally similar
Exactly that. Germany I simply chose because that's where I'm from originally. The data couldn't be more clear that's why I thought it wouldn't be necessary to list many more countries with a stricter Covid19 policy and a considerably lower death rate.
> The data couldn't be more clear
I don't mean to be rude, so please take this as an honest, albeit blunt, response. No one who is honestly analyzing this situation is making such a strong statement. Be them epidemiologists, statisticians, or independent analysts. The only ones saying this are politicians whose job depend on proving that their strategy works.
I would really encourage you to have a bit more humility at the complexity of this problem and the variables (and messy data) involved and the fact that we're still actively learning more every day about the effectiveness of different policy strategies.
Total deaths pM Denmark: 414.88
Similar cultures, but Denmark and Norway implemented more strict lockdown measures.
Two can play this game
Belgium seems pretty small and crowded when compared to Sweden.
Healthcare access out of densely populated areas involves delays, transportation, sometimes airlifts or is just simply sub-par. Also densely populated areas tend to have younger population which is overall less likely to die. All of which shifts a significant part of the death rate towards sparsely populated areas.
Death rate by population density is basically a shapeless scatterplot . Even superdense micronations (Monaco, Singapore, Liechtenstein, etc) don't seem to have significantly high rates, with the notable exception of San Marino, which is still "just" at the level of Czechia.
Actually that's why I mention Singapore, Monaco or Liechtenstein, all of their surface is inhabited, or their population concentrated around a single city, but their death rates aren't dissimilar from those of their surrounding countries.
> Tegnell, who is sixty-four and tall, with round glasses, has often said that lockdowns are not supported by science and that the evidence for mask-wearing is “weak.” His stance is a startling departure from the scientific consensus, but he maintains that if other countries were led by experts rather than politicians, more nations would have policies like Sweden’s. The world has been left gawking. American liberals were shocked that the country of Greta Thunberg could seem so scientifically backward. Right-wing activists in Minnesota held up signs during anti-lockdown protests reading “Be Like Sweden.” Within the country, Tegnell has become an icon of Swedish exceptionalism, believed to be excessively reasonable, levelheaded, and rational.
Absent evidence that a new respiratory virus that spreads through droplets is in some way different from all those past ones in a way that would make already known ways of dealing with them not applicable, you shouldn't really need to stop and do randomized trials on those past methods applied to the new virus before you put them into effect.
The entire pandemic has been politicized, science be damned when it doesn't conform to a political narrative.
Roughly 10% of those infected require hospitalization, and you can't just put anywhere close to 10%, or even 1%, of the population in the hospital at any given time. Those resources simply don't exist. It also affects IFR of anything else that requires a hospital.
If I get severely sick with COVID-19 (or literally anything else) where I live at the moment, I won't get a normal healthcare access. I'll need to get airlifted elsewhere. We're at 120% ICU occupation rate. Most of the deaths here are happening during transfers to other areas.
It's seriously concerning that we have to repeat this after a year.