Sunday, August 30, 2020

Coronavirus - Sweden

Sweden Has Developed Herd Immunity After Refusing to Lock Down, Experts Claim. Others Point to its High Fatality Rate is an article in Barron's

Sweden's powers that be have been amply criticized for not imposing a severe lock-down by those who want severe lock-downs. The critics projected doom for Sweden. That has not been the case.

Of course, there is some evidence for either side. Sweden's experience is worse than its closest neighbors Norway, Finland, and Denmark, which had lock-downs. On the other hand, Sweden's experience is better than its European neighbors Belgium, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, and France. Where Sweden's experience stands versus all of them or all countries is hard to say because there are so many relevant variables and differences -- time, ages in population, population density, extent of international travel, extent of testing, personal behavior, quality of health care, etc.

The article claims that Sweden's fatality rate is lower than four countries, France not one of them. It then claims Sweden's fatality rate is higher than France's. This is incorrect if fatality rate means deaths/cases. The following are the numbers from here thru 8/29/2020.

                     cases       deaths        pop.(mil.)     deaths/cases    deaths/pop.  tests/pop.
Sweden:       83,958       5,821         10.1                 6.9%                576          108,299
France:       272,530     30,602         65.4               11.2%                468            94,571

France's death/cases is about 1.63 times Sweden's. France's death/population (millions) is somewhat lower. However,  the article says Sweden's fatality rate is 6.8%, so it must be referring to deaths/cases.

A Market Watch article disagrees with Barron's and is critical of Sweden and its no lock-down approach. It says, "Sweden has an overall COVID-related death rate of 57.12 per 100,000 [571 per million], which is the ninth highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University." That's accurate. However, Belgium, Spain, UK, and Italy, all with severe lock-downs, had higher deaths/pop than Sweden.

France's daily new cases is surging again. Sweden's is not. The virus might be less virulent in this new surge. Time will time if France's deaths/pop surpasses Sweden's.

Update 9/1/2020: This article was first published by The Washington [Com]Post. It is highly critical of  Trump-appointed Dr. Scott Atlas, 'herd immunity' and mentions Sweden. "Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country has among the highest infection and death rates in the world."

Ignored are countries who had severe lock-downs, yet had infection and mortality rates higher than Sweden's. 

The article includes this quote: "The administration faces some pretty serious hurdles in making this argument. One is a lot of people will die, even if you can protect people in nursing homes.” The person quoted is an economist! Yet the next paragraph says, "Atlas, who does not have a background in infectious diseases or epidemiology[.]" How ironic! The Post authors regard an economist with no medical expertise as credible, but a medical doctor as not credible!

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