It’s a good time right now to give an update on Sweden. I have seen a bunch of articles shared, and even a claim that Sweden isn’t much different in terms of restrictions compared to some states in the US. I don’t think that’s true at all, I think it’s very different. Where in the US are the schools, gyms, cafes, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, playgrounds, parks, and regular “non essential” shops open? You tell me, because I would be very interested in hearing about those places. Some say that Sweden will change strategy any day now. I wonder from where people get that impression? I listen to every single press conference, and there is nothing there that would hint towards Sweden changing its strategy.
Some people had requested that I do a comparison chart with other European countries, so that’s what I did. I downloaded data sets for Italy, Spain, France, UK, Belgium, Norway, and Denmark, and I plotted those countries against Sweden. The numbers are normalized in terms of deaths per 100,000 people in order to account for the population sizes of these different countries. The X-axis represents the number of days since the first case was confirmed in the country. So you can see that some countries are more ahead in the curve because of this, due to the fact that not everyone knew they had the virus present at the same time. Just to give some perspective on this, Italy locked down their country on 3/9/2020. That’s day 39 after the first confirmed case. If you look at the chart you can see where that is, and you can judge for yourself whether or not the lock down had any effect. Spain did the same at 3/14/2020, which is day 43 for them since the first confirmed case in the country.
I think these charts are helpful to use against the lock downers, because I see zero correlation between locking down everything and a lower rate of deaths. On the other hand, looking at the comparison between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, Sweden is worse off. They are ahead in the curve, but something dramatic must happen for Norway and Denmark to catch up. But as I’ve said before, Stockholm, which has half of all recorded cases in Sweden, already has achieved a degree of herd immunity. Between 1/4 and 1/3 of the population in Stockholm have been infected, estimates say based on a few serology tests. Does Norway and Denmark have the same partial immunity or are they just prolonging the agony? I don’t know, obviously, but I can speculate.
Sweden currently is operating at 70% of their ICU capacity, so they can still fill space with more sick people. The field hospital, which is empty still, might be used instead as a rehab center for those who sustained organ damage and survived. The Swedish military is able to transport patients with helicopter from one region to another in case one region fills up all the ICU spaces. This sickness is obviously not uniformly distributed across the country, but it’s affecting more densely populated regions more.
Credits: Jeff Woodward