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Sweden’s inconvenient Covid victory Were millions of people denied freedom for nothing?

Was it worth it? (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Was it worth it? (JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)


April 12, 2022   6 mins

When, the summer before last, the results of the first Covid wave began to be tallied in the media, there were different ways of measuring the devastation. One way of looking at the pandemic was to focus on how many people died — more than half a million around the world by the end of June. Another was to try assessing the complicated impacts of the various measures taken to combat the virus. When a lot of the functions in society were frozen, people struggled — especially the most vulnerable.

For those who preferred the first perspective, there was plenty of data to lean on. Meticulous records of the death toll were being kept in most countries, especially the wealthy ones, and presented in stylish graphs on various sites: the Johns Hopkins University website, Worldometer, Our World in Data.

It was a lot harder to measure the consequences of the lockdowns. They appeared here and there as scattered anecdotes and figures. Perhaps the most striking data point came from the US: by the end of the academic year, a total of 55.1 million students had been affected by school closures.

But still, the death toll was more interesting. In early summer, The New York Times had published a front page completely devoid of pictures. Instead, it contained a long list of people who had died: a thousand names, followed by their age, location, and a very brief description. “Alan Lund, 81, Washington, conductor with ‘the most amazing ear'”; “Harvey Bayard, 88, New York, grew up directly across the street from the old Yankee Stadium”. And so on.

It was The New York Times’s national editor who had noticed that the US death toll was about to pass 100,000, and so wanted to create something memorable — something you could look back on in 100 years to understand what society was going through. The front page was reminiscent of what a newspaper might look like during a bloody war. It brought to mind the way American TV stations had reported the names of fallen soldiers at the end of every day during the Vietnam War.

The idea spread quickly across the world. A few weeks later, in Sweden, the front page of Dagens Nyheter was covered with 49 colour photographs below the words: “One Day, 118 Lives.” Those 118 people had passed away on 15 April. It was the highest daily death toll recorded throughout the Spring. Since then, it had steadily been falling.

When the epidemiologist Johan Giesecke read the paper, it left him a little puzzled. On any normal day, 275 people die in Sweden, he thought. He’d spent a large part of his life studying just that: where, when, and how people die. The way the world currently thought about death was, to him, completely alien. When he’d taken part in an online conference in Johannesburg, one participant had pointed out that, in that year alone, more than 2 million people had died of hunger in the world. During the same period, Covid-19 had claimed between 200,000 and 300,000 lives.

Giesecke felt as though the world was going through a self-inflicted global disaster. If things had simply been left to run their course, it would have been over by now. Instead, millions of children were being deprived of their education. In some countries, they weren’t even allowed to go to playgrounds. From Spain came stories of parents sneaking down into parking garages with their children to let them run around.

Tens of thousands of surgeries had been postponed by healthcare services. Screenings for everything from cervical to prostate cancer were put on ice. This wasn’t just happening in other countries. Sweden had seen its fair share of peculiar decisions, too. The Swedish police hadn’t tested drivers for insobriety for months, out of fear of the virus. This year, it didn’t seem quite as serious if someone were to get killed by a drunk driver.

It was becoming obvious that the media, the politicians, and the public had a hard time assessing the risks of the new virus. To most people, the figures didn’t mean anything. But they saw the healthcare services getting overwhelmed in several countries. They heard the testimonies from nurses and doctors.

Here and there in the world — in Germany, the UK, Ecuador — people had been taking to the streets to protest the rules, laws, and decrees curtailing their lives. From other countries came reports that people were starting to flout the restrictions. But the force of the resistance remained weaker than Giesecke had expected. There had been no French revolution, no global backlash.

One explanation for the citizens’ passivity might have been the coverage of the deadliness of the virus in the media; it seemed they had been fed a non-contextualised picture of how serious the Covid-19 pandemic really was. During the Spring and Summer, the global consultancy firm Kekst CNC had asked people in five big democracies — the UK, Germany, France, the US, and Japan — about all kinds of things relating to the virus and society. The sixth country in the survey was Sweden. Sweden was a lot smaller than the other countries, but was included due to the unique path it was taking through the pandemic.

The questions were about everything, ranging from people’s opinions on actions taken by the authorities, to the state of the job market, and on whether they thought their governments were providing sufficient support to trade and industry. The twelfth and final topic in the survey contained two questions: “How many people in your country have had the coronavirus? How many people in your country have died?” At the same time as increasingly reliable figures were trickling in with regard to the actual deadliness of Covid-19, there was now a study of the number that people believed had died.

In the US, the average guess in mid-July was that 9% of the population had died. If that had been true, it would have corresponded to almost 30 million Americans deaths. The death toll was thus overestimated by 22,500% — or 225 times over. In the UK as well as in France and Sweden, the death toll was exaggerated a hundredfold. The Swedish guess of 6% would have corresponded to 600,000 deaths in the country. By then, the official death toll was more than 5,000 and inching closer to 6,000.

Reporting the average guess was perhaps a little misrepresentative, as some people replied with very high numbers. In the UK, the most common answer was that around 1% of the population had died — in other words, a lot less than the 7% average. But it was still a figure that overestimated the number of deaths more than tenfold. At this point, 44,000 Brits had been registered dead — or around 0.07% of the population.

The breakdown of the numbers further showed that more than a third of the Brits responded with a figure of over 5% of the population. This would have been like the whole population of Wales dropping dead. It would have meant many times more Brits dying of Covid-19 than during the entire Second World War — civilian and military casualties included.

The war rhetoric brandished by the leaders of the world had had an impact. Their citizens really did believe they were living through a war. Then, two years into the pandemic, the war ended. There were no longer any foreign journalists at the Swedish Public Health Agency’s press conferences. No Americans, Brits, Germans, or Danes asked why schools were staying open, or why the country hadn’t gone into lockdown.

In large part, this was because the rest of the world had quietly begun to live with the new virus. Most of the world’s politicians had given up hope on both lockdowns and school closures. And yet, considering all those articles and TV segments that had been produced about Sweden’s foolishly libertarian attitude to the pandemic, considering the way some data sources had been referenced daily by the world’s media, this sudden lack of interest was strange.

For anyone still interested, the results were impossible to deny. By the end of 2021, 56 countries had registered more deaths per capita from Covid-19 than Sweden. With regard to the restrictions that the rest of the world had put so much faith in — school closures, lockdowns, face masks, mass testing — Sweden had more or less gone in the opposite direction. Yet its results were not noticeably different from those of other countries. It was beginning to become increasingly clear that the political measures that had been deployed against the virus were of limited value. But no one spoke about this.

From a human perspective, it was easy to understand why so many were reluctant to face the numbers from Sweden. For the inevitable conclusion must be that millions of people had been denied their freedom, and millions of children had had their education disrupted, all for nothing.

Who would want to be complicit in that?

The Herd is published by Scribe.


Johan Anderberg is a journalist and author of The Herd, a bestselling history of the Swedish experience during Covid-19.

johananderberg

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Gunner Myrtle
PJ
Gunner Myrtle
2 years ago

I have been saying this from the outset. This has all been overblown and the mandates were mostly theatre. Whenever people mock my views I always ask them how many people they know who died of Covid. One friend’s Dad died – but he was in his mid 80’s and unwell to start with. That is the only person within 2 degrees of separation from me that I know of. Yet the Covid theatre continues here in Canada. The CBC were demanding just last week that a politician explain why mask mandates were dropped. The federal government’s vaccine mandate – most famously for truckers – but for all public servants – is still in place. The usual suspects are talking about variant b.12a or whatever. All institutions failed us – the media – the public health authorities – the schools – the teachers unions – the universities. It has been a universal societal disgrace.

Last edited 2 years ago by Gunner Myrtle
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Gunner Myrtle

An excellent synopsis of the situation in Canada, thank you.
Perhaps someone from New Zealand* might like to comment?

(* Assuming that there is anybody still left alive that is.)

anna m
anna m
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I live in NZ. I have spent the last two mindboggling years wishing that I lived in Sweden. I have been graphing the Ministry data since covid finally kicked off here a couple of months ago. There is no difference between any vax status group, or unvaxed. The media announce every single day that the vax and masks and closed businesses have saved us from a much worse fate. They have just spun yet another post-vax-myocarditis teenager death as further proof that the vax is the panacea. Most people here have lost their minds. We finally had covid in our house (vaccinated for many things, but not for covid) – runny nose for my little girl, nothing for us. According to the media we are dead, of course.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  anna m

Why do you wish you lived in Sweden? For a majority of the pandemic they actually lived under more restrictions than we did in NZ, with the exception of the border quarantine rules. You seem to forget that for a large portion of the pandemic we actually had no rules domestically, though granted they’ve been far too slow to remove them now our Covid wave has seemingly peaked and the pressure on the health service is easing

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Maybe because shutting borders affected so many businesses? Perhaps because some people don’t like living under increasingly lunatic draconian rules? I could go on…

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago

As I say, for the bulk of the pandemic I lived under much less restrictions than the Swedes, so why was Sweden a utopia while NZ draconian and lunatic?
Also I was free to leave whenever I wished, and 250k kiwis (from a population of 5 million) came back through the “closed” border during the course of the pandemic

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

NZ is draconian and lunatic because the government practically forces people to take a barely tested and vastly ineffective vaccine (even if it did work well for six months, that is a pathetic performance for any modern vaccine). The last two years, which were admittedly devoid of restrictions for the average, non-travelling person, pale in comparison to that complete madness.

Scott C
Scott C
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Spot on, Michael K. NZ just rolled over for its totalitarian government.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott C

How long did you spend in lockdown over the last 2 years?

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

I wasn’t forced to take anything, I chose to because I believe they work in preventing the more serious symptoms of the virus. Te fact NZ managed to vaccinate large parts of its population (95% two jabs, 75% boosted) before the virus got in and only suffered 400 deaths during the two years seems to imply they do offer some protection

jules Ritchie
jules Ritchie
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

‘You weren’t forced into anything’. If we want to work in many businesses then there is no choice but to have the jab. You only have a choice if you don’t want to travel anywhere and you don’t need to work in a vax mandated workplace.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I’m pretty sure that New Zealand had many more formal rules than Sweden, since the latter had no state mandated lockdowns at all and New Zealand had several.

I actually think NZ played an excellent hand well ( it is the most isolated developed state in the world) IF you are going down the Zero Covid route. However this was never a realistic option for the vastly more interconnected states of western Europe and North America, where the precise policies adopted don’t seem to have made much difference.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Michael K
MK
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

No point in referring to reality, zero COVID nerds won’t get it anyway. They don’t understand that (respiratory) viruses are ubiquitous.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

We had 6-7 weeks of lockdown (though Auckland had slightly longer), and I think maybe 6 months of wearing masks at the shop/public transport and limits of 100 people in pubs/restaurants etc. The rest of the time domestically we had no rules at all, though strict border policy of everybody who came in had to isolate for 2 weeks was in place which was scrapped a while back

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Completely and utterly wrong. Sweden had minimal restrictions in everyday life or travel (mostly concerning large events), while NZ occasionally locked down whole cities and had strict immigration guidelines active the whole time. Plus in Sweden nobody cared if you got vaccinated or not, though the government did pay for vax ads.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

I’ve spent less than 7 weeks in lockdown during the past two years, how does that compare with most other first world countries?
Also what’s wrong with strict immigration policies? Why does NZ have a duty of care towards non NZ citizens during a pandemic? Due to years of neoliberal financial policies by both left and right our healthcare system barely functions as it is, so why on earth would NZ import potential strain on the health service?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  anna m

Thank you.
As John Riordan ( below) states quite correctly this has been the “worst public policy mistake in history”.
Frankly I’m still stunned at the stupidity of it all. Five and a half thousand years of so called civilisation and this is the best we can do?

Last edited 2 years ago by ARNAUD ALMARIC
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I wondered how long it would take to have a pop at NZ. Why do you have so much animosity towards the country, especially as most countries in Europe spent much longer than NZ in lockdown, and faced much tighter restrictions for the bulk of the pandemic?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I have no animosity towards NZ, but having just read a post from Canada was curious to know what was happening at the other end of the ‘Empire’.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Fair enough, I take it back then. We still have to wear masks in the supermarket, though strangely not in pubs and restaurants, but the border is open to Australia today and the bulk of the rest of the world in a few weeks which is when the masks will disappear is my guess. Most restrictions have now gone, just a few vaccine mandates for people who are working and in contact with the vulnerable such as the sick and the elderly. Cases are only around a third of the peak a few weeks ago so it appears it’s done and dusted now

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think the unspoken policy now almost everywhere is that we can’t afford more lockdowns even if they DO save lives. The exception seems to be the increasingly unhinged and dystopian ‘Zero Covid’ policies enacted in China, which have now reached the point where young children are being forcibly separated from their parents. President Xi’s face needs to be saved, at any costs.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I agree, I think lockdowns are a thing if the past. I was merely trying to point out to others on here that in the last 2 years I’ve been in lockdown for around 6-7 weeks, which is much less than most other nations had to endure. I simply don’t understand the vitriol towards NZ, calling the country lunatic, authoritarian, sheeple etc, when for a large part of the pandemic, especially the first year or so I would have faced less restrictions on my day to day life than almost any other poster on here. What other nation are they comparing the country to?
NZ was fortunate that it’s relative isolation meant they had much more warning, and the original month long lockdown eradicated the virus from the country. This simply wouldn’t have been an option in almost any other nation as Covid was too entrenched to have the same effect.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Comment deleted

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I agree entirely with the sentiments of the article, but it is only fair to point out that both New Zealand and Australia have had an order of magnitude fewer deaths than North America or Western Europe (less than 500 in NZ to date). They were of course hugely assisted by their geographic isolation, so they had the option of radically locking down when there were only a handful of cases, which was probably never possible in most western countries. (A somewhat different situation applied in South Korea and Taiwan, where a competent track and trace system seemed to be successful for a long period).

Whether such policies are actually sustainable in the long term is another matter. If they staved off the virus long enough to get the population vaccinated then maybe, but this part of their strategy seemed to fall down. (Let’s not even go there with a debate about the vaccines; I’m of the mainstream view that the vaccines do provide protection; I suspect you are not). And the many, many costs – including medical – of long term lockdowns increase throughout time.

The problem I feel with the ‘oppositon’ to the policies (admittedly it is difficult to combat government propaganda and fear mongering), is that all too many appeared to be completely cavalier about the health of their fellow citizens, and just seemed to oppose any measures at all on principle, whether lockdowns or vaccinations. Yes, a lot of the US and UK population IS overweight and unhealthy, but you can’t really expect governments to take the position that ‘it is all your own fault’. So it has been rather too easy to paint alternative voices as extremists.

We should have adopted the Great Barrington Declaration approach, though that would have demanded a degree of organisational competence from national and local government.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Horses for courses, NZs approach simply wouldn’t have worked elsewhere due to geography. What it did do is buy them time to get the country vaccinated before the virus hit, so now we’ve been through the same wave of infections as the rest of the world and total deaths are only around the 400 mark. Most restrictions have now been lifted (apart from the annoying masks in shops rule for some reason) so I personally think the response has been reasonably successful.
Should lockdowns have happened? In a perfect world probably not, but I think me sitting on my backside for a grand total of six weeks during the last two years is a small price to pay to avoid the premature deaths of my elderly neighbours.

j m
j m
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

People are almost always willing to give themselves the benefit of the doubt even when there is no persuasive evidence to support such self-benevolence.
If an expert who has no idea what the real truth is but can’t help themselves in assuring others that their recommendations are safe and effective…it still feels like a warm blanket to many people. They don’t need logic and reason, they just need an expert’s wildly unsubstantiated and confident opinion. It somehow makes people feel good, like they were just enlightened with infallible truth. Which they can then in turn use to bludgeon others with. And then let that righteous enmity reinforce, what are nothing but, gut feelings into self-convinced eternal law. So that when the real truth is revealed it takes years or never to be convinced of their false beliefs.
Anyway, I for one am glad you didn’t go over to your elderly neighbors homes and breathe on them during the pandemic. Such noble sacrifice and goodness. It must feel good to not to be like all those who went out of their way to find old people, and breathe on them.
Thank you.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Gunner Myrtle

But you still don’t understand. The reason that most of your immediate family and friends didn’t drop dead, was because of masks and mandates. The fools know no bounds.

N T
NT
N T
2 years ago

You really need to put the #sarcasm tag on posts like that, because my eyes hurt from rolling.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

Yes, it should probably come with a warning!

j m
j m
1 year ago

I guess I was suckered. ha!

Michael K
MK
Michael K
2 years ago

Everybody only talks about how many people you kill if you’re not wearing a mask. But nobody ever told me how many lives I saved by wearing it.

j m
j m
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael K

Nobody knows the answer to either. Nobody.
That is why pharma literally had the world by its balls. When nobody knows, we have to rely on the “experts.” The ones that must at least have an idea, because we have no clue.
The question is… which experts?
Now we know it is the tiny minority of good hearted experts and practitioners who have proven they are willing to sacrifice their entire careers and reputations to get the truth out. Vs. the large majority who have sold their souls to the financial incentives behind their silence or opinions and recommendations.
When there is a medical-consensus among experts that makes you scratch your head, and say — this doesn’t add up. Then it is time find out what and how is being censored. Then research those people, and see if you can find any fault. If they arte proving themselves to be sincere and their numbers are not small, t collectively they are a tiny minority, then it’s time to call BS.
You can’t censor dozens of well-meaning doctors who are achieving lower mortality rates than the national average and think that the censoring is for your good.
The pandemic has been over for a year, and I am more furious than I was a year ago. Far more furious.

john m
JM
john m
1 year ago

This entire article was written to point out that masks and other mandates lack sufficient evidence to claim a reduction in deaths.
Did you read the article?
The vaccine-religious are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths before any c19 vaccine was given to anybody. It is estimated that had a repurposed drug treatment strategy been embraced, and not shunned, like it has been pretty much non-stop for decades, that 80% of these deaths would have been prevented.
Pfizer’s very own rct with 40,000+ participants was utterly clear that the vaccine had no appreciable benefit in regard mortality. Their own conclusion was ignored. If anything all-cause-of-death data suggested (with low statistical significance) that those who took vaccine would actually increase their likelihood of an early death. The data is now incredibly persuasive that Pfizer’s own rct was right. But again, it was ignored. Why? Too much money and too much social and political capital, and other geo-political repercussions and strategic geo-political opportunities were on the line.
As a result… the world was conned, and anybody that still has the BS meter that we were all born with, knew it from the get-go, but now with the data, there is no doubt.
“Health experts” have destroyed trust to levels lower than have been seen in decades. More people are waking up to the reality that healthcare is first and foremost a business. But some don’t believe this. They also won’t believe common sense or what their own experience tells them if it contradicts what a “health expert” says.
If you rewind the clock and look at every year for the last 30 years before covid… do you realize we have been given vaccines by doctors who know extremely little about them other than what they’ve been told by pharma? Typically the doctors persuading patients to get vaccinated are family doctors and primary care givers that may have a few more hours than you and me in instruction about vaccines. But because Dr is in front of their name, people believe them, no questions asked.
Wake up, you have been conned, along with nearly everybody for far too long. Go do just 80 hours of research on vaccines and mrna jabs and I will bet all the money in the world you will know far more than nearly every practitioner in Healthcare. More than 95% of them.
Then what you do is you quiz them. That’s when your eyes be opened. Oh MAN will they be opened!

Last edited 1 year ago by john m
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Gunner Myrtle

And where is Florida in all this? No mandates, very high percentage of older citizens and no difference in results than most.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Gunner Myrtle

I too was jumping up and down shouting this from the outset.
It was obvious that if the virus was the threat they would have had us believe we would all have been truly dekcuf before the first lockdown started.
I have some sympathy for Boris because he looked set to adopt the Swedish approach before he was got at. I would like to know how
Even now we have NHS idiot demanding more restrictions fearful that their grip on the public consciousness is waning and that is probably a clue to what in large part was driving the agenda.
I fear that we have many long and difficult years ahead

j m
JM
j m
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunner Myrtle

This mirrors my experience perfectly. I knew of more younger men experiencing unexplainable “heart attacks” than dying (speculatively) from covid. This was among hundreds of people in my circle. But when I shared with others this experience, it didn’t resonate with anybody, so I figured I was an outlier. I’ve concluded since that it didn’t resonate because they had bought into the lies, namely… that deaths with covid equaled deaths from covid. This deception worked phenomenally well, this and witholding care were two of the ways used cover up the bigger crimes being committed. It was deliberate.
I want to make very clear that the poor policy decisions weren’t mistakes. There are nearly 1 million scientists now that have signed The Great Barrington Declaration, with 200,000 early on who had signed it trying to tell the world that U.S. and other policies were idiotically not following the science at all.
Truth is, it was criminals using group think gone amok in order to serve some powerful interests. The world was convinced that we were in a situation of too many unknowns, and that we had no choice but to rely on “the experts” more than common sense, science or the reality in front of our faces.
In short, it was the worst crimes ever committed on US soil that drove the policy.
These were not mistakes.

Jason Highley
Jason Highley
2 years ago

Excellent and incisive article. Thanks!

Graham Stull
GS
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Highley

Yup. We need to keep spreading these kinds of articles. Keep beating this drum. We cannot let up on the message here. If we do, we risking repeating this insanity once again.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Absolutely.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I agree, but the oligarchs who control the messaging don’t agree. I still see people driving alone with a mask on.

Bob Rowlands
BR
Bob Rowlands
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

MSM have a lot to answer for also Peston et al

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago

Just to take this away beforehand: I was in Sweden for most of October 2021, when other countries were getting mad with lockdowns, and there, nobody cared. The hotels didn’t ask for my vaccine passport, more, they didn’t even ask for my regular passport! I even saw a huge queue of young people, waiting to enter a party in a Stockholm club.
Sweden is larger than other European countries, but it’s also more urbanized, so people actually live closer to each other on the whole. True, in 2020 during the first lockdown, they tended to stay at home. But after that, they just continued to live in relative normalcy.
Sweden was hard-hit at the beginning of the pandemic because, like every other country on earth, they failed to protect retirement homes and hospitals. What easier thing to do than to use a rapid test on anybody who wants to enter those buildings? But nobody cared – anywhere. But can you believe it – their government actually admitted to that and asked the public for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, the rest of us decided to lock people down without any scientific evidence. Lockdowns were never a realistic strategy of pandemic prevention, because it was obvious that it’s not healthy to disrupt daily activities in that way. And you can’t avoid infection routes among essential workers for any amount of time. So you choose between infection prevention and extensive psychological damage. Unbelieveably, the latter was accepted by the West. A testament to the ability of our media and crooked politicians to stoke fear over very little.

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Sure but why don’t you name “our media and crooked politicians”? You can’t be apolitical and have an impact

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

Well you can judge for yourself. Which ones told you that getting severe COVID is vastly a matter of general health? Who mentioned that upwards of 50% of all COVID deaths had high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and other such conditions? And who instead told you that COVID is going to kill you no matter what? That you are supposed to sit at home, do nothing and get an untested injection?

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

“What easier thing to do than to use a rapid test on anybody who wants to enter those buildings? But nobody cared – anywhere.”

I agree with sentiment of much of your post – the choice to stoke fear, to do untold psychological damage in the name of “staying safe” is abhorrent. But not your assertion above.

Please could I urge you to reflect on this. If “taking a test” becomes a regular “little thing” that people might do, or be required to do, in order to access certain spaces, where might that lead? Leaving aside that these tests are unreliable on their own terms, how long before the “little test” takes on a moral quality, a test of people one’s goodness or character? A test which sorts the wheat from chaff, the righteous from the tainted. And consider the power that they architects of such tests would wield – and remember that just because you and I may be imbued with the basic moral decency that means we don’t seek to enslave our fellow human beings for our own earthly gain does not mean that there are rich and powerful psychopaths out there who literally couldn’t understand why a rational person *wouldn’t* do just that if he or she could. And the. consider if you really think that ritualising “testing” as means to accessing shared spaces in that way is anything but a one way ticket to despotism, cruelty and human suffering and despair.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Horsman
Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
2 years ago

The decision makers who bungled Covid for the best part of two years are now keeping shtum, desperately trying to avoid provoking the media into asking any uncomfortable questions which would draw the public’s attention to said bungling. Lucky they have largely compliant media, who at any rate have moved on to Ukraine and Russia. There’s a thought – how would have Covid played if the present brouhaha in Ukraine had occurred two years earlier?

Andrew Lale
AL
Andrew Lale
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

They didn’t ‘bungle’. To bungle is to make a mistake, and they knew exactly what they were doing. We just don’t know why they did it.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

Why? The first world-wide test in social control. And it worked. More will follow.

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
2 years ago

The Great Reset—one step closer

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

I think you mean complicit media

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

There is no doubt that covid was a serious pandemic that at times overwhelmed hospital treatment and justified caution in congregating together for many of those most at risk but resulted in many completely over the top restrictions on everyone which had a detrimental impact particularly on those least at risk.
The reporting of the MSM was particularly hysterical and lacking in statistical rigour hence the ludicrously high estimates of the death toll reported in this article. In the UK there can be no doubt that the MSM journalists had a detrimental effect on policy decisions.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

‘There is no doubt that covid was a serious pandemic.’ What was the final Infection Fatality Rate of Covid-19? Why do they keep revising down the number of Covid-19 deaths?

N T
N T
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

You won’t see kind-of real numbers until at least 2025, because rigorous analysis of the data, including an actual thorough review of case history, is a long slog, especially when you know, going in, that there will be a strong false-positive signal.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

At the moment somewhere close to 20% of people in the UK have had C19 in the last month. Would we not expect therefore that, assuming it is evenly distributed in society, about 20% of all deaths would be people who have had C19 in the last month.
All dying with, not of C19.
Yet we have a health service which has said today that masks should be compulsory and indoor gatherings banned. These are people who should (do?) understand that nobody is dying of 19 any more.

Donn Olsen
DO
Donn Olsen
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

The large hospital usage was a result of a panic paranoia of the common populous fostered by the major media. These are voluntary admittance of very frightened people. These people were not admitted by medical prompting from examinations. In fact, many physicians warned patient to NOT GO to the hospital, for their risk of serious outcomes INCREASES if they do, due to the bath of infectious agents in hospitals and the COVID treatment of ventilation that severely damaged their lungs.
Hospitals willing accepted everyone due to the very great financial benefits of doing so.

David Simpson
David Simpson
2 years ago

It seems to me the real tragedy and mystery that this article points to is the utter and incomprehensible failure of government or the media to correct the grotesquely distorted impression among the public as a whole of how many people were actually dying, and who they were (mostly elderly or otherwise health impaired), compared to other deaths. It was quite easy (for me and many others here) to get at the figures, and see how insane it all was, but it seemed like politicians and media were actually conspiring to hype up the hysteria. I wonder if we will ever find out why.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Simpson
Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
2 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Here in the US, relatively little distinction was made of the number of deaths from Covid and those who died with Covid. Big difference and I believe both these categories were slammed together as deaths from Covid.

Martin Johnson
MJ
Martin Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Bruels

Yes, but ask why govt and media did so. They knew what you knew but did it anyway for almost 2 years.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Media and government correct the misapprehension? Hell, they created it! And most of them knew exactly what they were doing, in real time.

All the instances of the rich and powerful congregating unmasked while the rest of society was locked down—draw the only logical conclusion.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Because the Nudge unit told them to do so, because some people ‘felt insufficiently threatened by covid’. see https://lauradodsworth.substack.com/p/caught-between-the-great-back-pedal?s=r and also her book A State of Fear https://www.amazon.com/State-Fear-government-weaponised-Covid-19-ebook/dp/B08ZSYN14J

N T
N T
2 years ago

I was guessing, based on a flu season, that it was .3%.
Turns out I was overestimating a lot, too.
Hasn’t the thinking for a hundred years been that the only statistic that matters are excess deaths? By that standard, we are less than a flu season, two years in.

Last edited 2 years ago by N T
John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  N T

But without lockdowns etc. we would all be dead now!

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

You jest Sir!

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
2 years ago

Good article, but one which shies away from its own conclusions. We who are numerate and understand basic statistics knew from about May 2020 that the government were set on a course of action which related in no way to the real risk from Covid-19. Our question was: why? What was going on which required the government to enact draconian measures to eliminate civil liberties almost completely, behind the figleaf of a ‘deadly pandemic’? Why would a government in good faith do something like that to its own people? Well, of course in good faith it would not. We are dealing with a completely new situation, where the government is now a dangerous criminal conspiracy whose goals we only faintly perceive.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

It wasn’t a criminal conspiracy, it was a lack of moral courage. A perfectly good policy, just like Sweden’s, was in place, which had received the praise of the WHO prior to the epidemic.
However, on the arrival of the epidemic, from one side, they were being given frightening ‘predictions’, which they accepted without enough critical examination, while on the other, the media, much of which was desperate to destroy Boris, gleefully reported an increasing death toll, repeating as frequently as possible ‘worst in the world’, also without critical examination.
The government lost its resolve, as so often in other matters, and then resorted to a number of measures, copying what other countries were doing. The panic was of course heightened by finding that one cannot rely on a policy of importing medical supplies and PPE if there is a world-wide epidemic.
I have a lot of respect for Sweden’s perseverance in its policy, which was not without criticism and led I’m sure to a lot of sleepless nights for some.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Hear hear. Lack of moral courage under pressure from corporate media and a public who still believe the lockdowns did not affect the economy and ultimately the health of the people. Oh the irony and the stupidity.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

I think the Govt.was just weak and collapsed in the face of a group of analysts and fake medics who enjoyed their time in the limelight and got gongs for it

Scott C
Scott C
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

Thank you for laying out how it is. Governments are not your friend. This was covert before. It is overt now.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
2 years ago

Great article! It is extremely important to point out facts like this now. It’s our only hope that it doesn’t happen again. Brave people that went against the current deserve credit.

Bennie History
Bennie History
2 years ago

I’ve found the media’s silence on the post-COVID analysis quite shocking. We literally had a history textbook event happen to the entire world and saw our governments completely take over our lives for the better part of three years.
However, almost suddenly it felt like someone just flipped a switch at the end of 2021. Now everyone is on board with “living with the virus” getting on with it and finally throwing off the masks.
But why do we just accept this? Where is the outcry or the analysis of what we had to go through for years? If lockdowns, wearing masks, and the fight for 100% vaccinated were all meaningless in the end why was there no repercussions for the people that imposed them upon us?
While we may now have learned to live with the virus I feel as though that great question still lingers in many peoples minds. It needs to be answered why we fought at all in the first place?

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Bennie History

because everyone, especially the “UnHeard” folk, is dancing with (z)Elensky. no time for Covid

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

There’ll be no escaping this one for the people who hammered it through, and that hopefully includes the hordes of keyboard warriors who have spent the last two years morally condemning anyone expressing a sceptical view towards the measures forming part of the worst public policy mistake in history.

Mind you, they’re substantially the same bunch of morons presently trying to get us all to go along with Net Zero, so maybe they’re hoping that they can bankrupt us all before we get a chance to actually hold them to account.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Spot on, well said!

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
2 years ago

In my opinion, clickbait-driven media and relevance-seeking WHO are squarely to blame for the global overreaction to Covid pandemic. Most politicians played the role of useful idiot, being afraid of losing popularity in the face of media-driven hysteria and insufficient data. If scientists and pharmaceutical companies had not come out with vaccines soon enough, God knows for how many more years this madness would have continued! The heroes of this battle are research scientists and vaccine manufactures.

Let us hope that many young kids have learned the importance science. And that many of them grow up to become scientists.

Last edited 2 years ago by Vijay Kant
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Agreed. We are living in a media driven dystopian nightmare, where the massively ignorant sheeple run wild.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago

Crimes against humanity. Gates and Fauci relished their roles

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Why shoot the messenger?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

What’s with the vanishing Elaine Giedrys-Leeper note and its followup comments?
Grrrr. I worked hard on them. Let’s try to recreate them.
Somebody, I forget who now, said that after the first peak Sweden stopped having excess mortality. This is incorrect. see:
comment image
We had 2 peaks of excess mortality, one in the Spring of 2020 and one later that winter. But if you define ‘when was the pandemic over’ in terms of excess mortality, well Sweden hasn’t had any since Feb 2021.
The Public Health authority likes to measure things from October – September. This is because infectious diseases are seasonal. In the chart above you can see two waves of covid infection, and it is a good idea to measure the beginning of the season and the end of the season together. Usually the problem is that if people are dying a lot in the consecutive months of Nov Dec Jan and Feb, but not in the rest of the time, and you put Nov and Dec in one year and Jan and Feb in a different year, things will look much better than they actually were. But in 2020, the problem was that you stick 2 waves in the same bin, you will make things look even worse than they are.
I think this is part of the problem that the people who were reporting that 2020 had the worst excess mortality since the original 1918 flu were seeing. If you use Oct-Sept as a your calendar year things look like this:
comment image
And even if you really want to use the calendar year you end up with 2017 being a worse year for excess deaths than 2020. The hospitals and icus were very busy, I would claim overworked in winter 2016-2017 too.
Of course, the thing that matters when making such graphs is how to calculate the baseline of expected deaths. And in Sweden, the huge outlier in terms of excess/deficit mortality was not the large number of deaths in 2020, but the ‘never seen before, at all, lack of deaths in 2018-2019’. This means if you want to make Sweden look worse than it was, all you have to do is make that year prominent in your dataset. Because that year was much more abnormal than any one we have ever seen since we’ve been keeping records.
—- And now Elaine’s article is back, and grrrr, unherd, this vanishing and returning article trick really has to stop. It’s so frustrating!

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

The comment regarding excess deaths was based on Marc Bevand’s observations based on SCB data going back to 1900 (?) and population adjusted.
comment image%3Fname%3Dsmall
or who knows ? maybe Mr Bevand just made up all these numbers ?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

I don’t think he made up the numbers, but there seems to be something very wonky about his population adjustment. I’d like to see how he did it.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

And still it doesn’t stop, with current bleating from the NHS that restrictions must be reimposed, to stop their ‘being overwhelmed’!
I think most western governments have quietly realised, whatever their virtue-signalling on this, that we simply can’t afford more months (years?) of lockdowns, school closures etc, HOWEVER many (or in reality few) people die of covid.
Fine, stay at home to ‘stay safe’ – but with the exception of the minority of very vulnerable people – just don’t expect everyone else to pay you to do so!

ARNAUD ALMARIC
AA
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

As at 11.32 BST only 15 comments remain. Where are the other 17?
Or has UnHerd “bottled it”, to lapse into the vernacular?

Adrian Doble
Adrian Doble
2 years ago

Really positive stuff.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Thanks.

Michael Sinclair
MS
Michael Sinclair
2 years ago

Simply put: I, you, our socities have been shipwrecked. Washed up ashore, clothes wet, dazed, grasping where we are, shipwrecked by a majority of the public at the wheel, by their unquestioning obedience and acquiescence to governments and advisers.
The costs we and other countries now have are not, as we read due to Covid – a pandemic – but from the effects of lockdowns. Policy, not Covid. The result – a lingering, damaging societal disconnect and financial cost that the poorest suffer most.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael Sinclair
Deac Manross
DM
Deac Manross
2 years ago

The metric that SHOULD have been used for imposing restrictions REGIONALLY was “Are our hospitals overwhelmed?” If so, bring on the masks etc. If not, let it ride……the resultant deaths will likely not be worse than the damage caused by lockdown. Thanks for the article

Richard Hopkins
Richard Hopkins
2 years ago

“Throughout much of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) held tight to the idea that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads through relatively large ‘respiratory’ droplets that contaminate nearby surfaces. It took many months for the agency to acknowledge that the virus could travel on tiny particles called aerosols that can spread widely and linger in the air. And nearly two years passed before the WHO clearly stated that the virus is airborne. That mistake and the prolonged process of correcting it sowed confusion and raises questions about what will happen in the next pandemic.”

Nature | 18 min read

Dated 7th April 2022 Nature Briefing

Donn Olsen
Donn Olsen
2 years ago

The Pandemic behavior of our Masters has a simple and straightforward explanation. The primary purpose was to sell tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars of vaccines. In the U.S., Big Pharma promised the Democratic Party they would fund their future campaigns. Over 50% of advertising revenue of major media sources is from Big Pharma. This constitutes funds in the hundreds of millions of dollars as revenue for the major media sources, thus their cooperation.
The secondary purpose was to effect greater control over the population will an enormous scare, positioning our Masters to implement other control measures of clear value to the ruling class.

Steve Elliott
SE
Steve Elliott
2 years ago

The people who are against the lockdowns can put forward their theory safe in the knowledge that it can never be proved wrong since those events are past. We will never know how how bad it might have been without the lockdowns or how high those peaks of hospital admissions due to covid might have reached.
In dec 2020 an jan 2021 with hospital admissions rocketing and the NHS saying it was already stretched to the limit you’d have to be a brave person to say “Let’s see what happens if we don’t lock down”. Like the man driving at 60 MPH towards a cliff edge saying let’s see what happens if I don’t put my foot on the brake. That cliff might be 1 foot high or 100 feet high. He doesn’t know.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

After many decades of studying respiratory disease and pandemics the WHO guidelines were against lockdowns and masks. To instigate new rules for a supposedly novel virus seemed to me to be the totally reckless thing to do.
When you hear hooves – expect horses. Not some devil who is going to kill us all.
P.S. The NHS is ‘stretched to the limit’ every winter – just look back at past headlines.

Norm Haug
NH
Norm Haug
2 years ago

Many of the comments here suggest that Covid is over. I think it is too early to be doing victory laps. With third world countries unable to vaccinate, and many people in developed countries mocking protocols to protect themselves from Covid, we will never reach herd immunity. Eventually, there will be a new variant which we have little or no protection from. Even if a variant has relatively minor symptoms, a small percentage of infections will end in hospitalization and a small percentage of a large number, is still a large number. Who will look after them? In Canada, nurses and doctors are exhausted. Many are taking sick leave and many others are leaving the profession. They are starting to ask themselves why they should continue to put their own health and the health of their families, in harms way for people who refuse to become vaccinated.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
2 years ago
Reply to  Norm Haug

They are starting to ask themselves why they should continue to put their own health and the health of their families, in harms way for people who refuse to become vaccinated.” Who are you talking about? Yourself? Not actual health care workers. They, like everyone else, can’t wait for life to get back to normal. They obeyed their leaders and got jabbed because they wanted to keep their jobs. But they are medical specialists. They know that the booster is no longer effective, and the numbers dying from COVID (not “with” COVID) continue to abate. They are exhausted from the firing of large numbers of their colleagues and the burden that gives. They are exhausted from being political pawns of ideologues who will never accept that lockdowns and mandates destroyed far more lives than they saved. Above all we are all individuals. We don’t respond well to being stereotyped.

Saul D
Saul D
2 years ago

Everyone was guessing at what was an unknown disease with unknown seriousness and unknown rate of spread. They were informed guesses, but guesses nonetheless, and some countries were lucky and found a good option, while others struggled.
Italy and Belgium started badly, but improved. The UK took a while to learn how to treat. Germany and Czechia started well, but suffered later. Netherlands and Denmark did pretty well throughout.
The plurality of approaches was probably a good thing because it boosted the learning effects. However, you can’t simply cherrypick the winners at the end, and then say it was all obvious, why didn’t everyone follow that approach.

Terry M
Terry M
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Actually, we did know what to do. The CDC had prescribed what to do – protect the vulnerable, don’t lockdown – years ago. But politicians had to be seen to be DOING SOMETHING for fear of getting blamed, and Fauci had to cover his tracks for fear of getting blamed for starting the whole mess. Politicians are idiots and Fauci is a criminal.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

“Uninformed guesses” is what I think you should have written. This was not a training exercise, although everyone seems to talk as if it was “we learned so much!”. This was for real, and forcing the population to submit to utterly baseless theories was really nothing more than a shit test to see what they could get away with.

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

We were never told that the government’s scientific advisers were guessing. Had we known this at the outset then there could have been a productive debate on the subject with opposing scientific “guesses” being aired, resulting (perhaps) in different decisions being made..

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
2 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

This pandemic was a historic clash between the two political philosophies of big-government vs. laissez-faire. For big-government bureaucrats this was the dream of a lifetime. There has never been such an excuse to control the world under the pretext of saving it, and control it they did. Whatever the uncertainty was in the first 6 months, by the time the vaccines emerged the virus was already understood, and its limits known. After that it was pure theater to justify the lockdowns, school closures, and vilification of libertarians, the ones who refused to comply with the “one-size-fits-all”, brook-no-dissent mandates. The hubris of those who said, “When you argue with me, you argue with SCIENCE.” Yeah – the hubris. That’s why they can’t admit Sweden was right. For two years they controlled our lives and we let them. That’s shameful to admit. They rode over us, and told us to thank them for it.

Saul D
SD
Saul D
2 years ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

Agreed. Covid brought out a great sense of religious level fear and fervour that there was ‘a truth’ from people who were unable to understand risks, probabilities and trade-offs. ‘True believers’ demanded that everyone follow their commandments even if that meant blocking potentially beneficial interventions, or creating other harms – they were unskilled in dealing with doubt, judgement and learning wisdom from experience. The same issue infects those now who think they always ‘knew’ the right answer. We didn’t – it was expert guesses and judgement and more debate would have helped in better weighing probabilities.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

This pandemic was about health systems becoming overwhelmed and people becoming seriously ill and some dying because of lack of resources – trained social care workers, paramedics, nurses, doctors, PPE, suitable tests, not enough ventilators etc.
This virus only transmits when people meet. People in Sweden clearly didn’t meet much in 2020 or meet at all according to this article for over 2 years.
They did close schools / colleges for teenagers March – Sept 2020 and again during the winter of 2020/21. Looking at mobility stats almost everything voluntarily came to a standstill in the Spring of 2020. There was a national ban on visiting elderly homes until October 2020.
40% of households in Sweden are single occupancy; 95% of workplaces have 1 – 9 employees; a 2017 study showed that 55% of 16 to 24 year-olds don’t socialise with any close relatives. So not much meeting.

As far as death is concerned the only metric worth examining is excess all cause mortality 6 – 9 months after the event because it takes account of all deaths – those due to people sick with the virus and those who died because they couldn’t get care because they were triaged as “not worthy” . Those who died from the after effects of being in hospital with Covid 90 days + after discharge; and those who didn’t die because they weren’t driving aound pissed on scnapps and colliding with lamp posts and didn’t die because they didn’t get flu.
As far as excess deaths are concerned compared to the last 120 years, Sweden suffered the highest excess mortality since the 1918 pandemic flu.
It is useless comparing with other countries – too many variables.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Of course every country is different and we all know what pushed up the Swedish mortality in 2020. It was the care homes.
Are you talking about the minor blip in 2020, following the drop in 2019? Very creative way of defending the lockdowns you so loved that destroyed so many lives.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/525353/sweden-number-of-deaths/
Now what about this presentation https://twitter.com/jamesmelville/status/1446885259593801733?lang=en
So many presentations of figures.
Just give it up Elaine. Your defence of lockdowns is ghoulish. So pleased that these inhuman outrages against citizens are being ventilated.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

Brilliant, you have put the case for the prosecution perfectly.
Sadly as Elaine flits between her ‘Ivory towers’ in Dulwich and Florence, she will always remain in a state of denial.

The fact that the NHS was revealed as completely unfit for purpose is perhaps the greatest national scandal since the War. For many it is a scandal from which it maybe impossible to recover.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
EG
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I haven’t lived in that particular South London ghetto for 7 years and have lived out of Italy for the last 2 – not that those items are actually any of your business.
The NHS has been a bit of shambles for at least 20 years and by any metric you care to use, underfunded by comparison with other EU countries for at least the last 10. What happened / is happening is no surprise to anyone who is working in the organisation.
Unfortunately no UK government seems ready, willing or able to do the necessary – rethink the system from scratch

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

In the UK 9 months into the pandemic the messaging was “think carefully about what you are going to do this Christmas”
On January 11th the NHS almost but didn’t quite fall over even with all its surge capacity in place and almost a year’s worth of experience of dealing with the virus.
Why did this happen ? because a bunch of people carrying the virus chose to meet up with a bunch of people that weren’t carrying the virus just before and during Christmas.
I have no problem with people choosing to meet up during a pandemic caused by an airbone virus that can transmit in a presymptomatic phase just so long as they don’t bung up hospitals afterwards when they get sick – they CHOOSE to meet.
I am making an educted guess here – there is nothing magic or special about the Swedish population’s genome that made them less susceptible to catching, transmitting and getting sick with this virus. They just met up less than other people or if they did meet up it was outside. And looking at the socio demographic stats I mentioned before, you can see in part why.
Didn’t you post an anecdote a while ago about a Swedish pal of yours that refused to go to the beach in SA when there was a beach ban in place – some comment about there natural inclination to follow recommendations / orders ?
Oh yes – a couple of other stats of note :
Smallest average household size in the OECD (1.99) 
Largest age group 25 – 34 years (in 2019)
As I have said to you before lockdowns (please define) are a blunt / blind instrument. The “Swedish” alternative – recommendations re: behaviour will only work with a population that aquiesces and a population that is wealthy enough to be able to comply with the “not meeting very many people” exhortation and placing all their vulnerable / temporarily infected people on temporary or indefinite furlough.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Elaine the difference between a Swede and a South African is a chasm. The difference in ‘come on over and we are best friends 5 minutes after we have met and are hugging an hour later’ is also a chasm between a Brit and a South African. Hope that clears that up!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Ah, in my end of the world, the difference was that the very elderly, and the elderly with other co-morbidities weren’t meeting up with others really at all, except for their inhouse care workers, who, sadly did bring them the covid that killed them in significant numbers. The rest of us met up a fair bit. We reduced our meetups, but we didn’t eliminate it.
It is also possible that Swedes were less susceptible to this virus early. So very, very, very many Swedes vacation in Thailand in the winter. (Think Americans from Northern States visiting Florida in the winter). And all of south-east Asia, however stringent their measures, did not get very sick with covid until delta, and then omnicron showed up. The theory is that they had already been infected with a prior corona virus that made them resist the alpha version. If that theory is correct, it is possible that enough Swedes caught whatever virus that was while on vacation, brought it home, and that contributed to the observed fact that some people in Sweden really could not get sick with covid despite having every opportunity to do so, and indeed trying to catch it so they could more safely care for elderly relatives. In covid-alpha days, getting sick twice was extremely rare.
It’s on the list of things we don’t know enough about.

David Slade
DS
David Slade
2 years ago

It always seems that it’s ‘useless comparing other countries’ when it’s Sweden (unless comparing them to Norway), but we should all be in awe of New Zealand, Australia, South Korea etc. Basically if the comparison is unfavourable to Covid hysteria, don’t look.

The double standards are so blatant, I wonder how people justify them to themselves. This whole thing will be a fascinating psychological/anthropological study long after we’ve all forgotten about the actual virus itself.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Is it something to do with entitlement and selfishness? The bell curve? What is it?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Each country in terms of demogrpahics, economy, culture, politics etc. is unique.
The idea that one recipe for mitigating the damage this pandemic produces is fit for all, to my mind, is ridiculous.
Yes … dissecting what worked for whom and maybe why, will be essential for thinking about the next pandemic and no doubt will keep lots of academics in gainful employment.

Christian Moon
Christian Moon
2 years ago

Being literally incapable of reasoning from statistics is a much more widespread and serious problem than we realise.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
AA
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Christian Moon

What a trite remark! You know very well that statistics are routinely used to obscure, baffle and distort the truth. Or do you perhaps deny this self-evident truth?

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Great contribution as always.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

From people with food on the table and money in the bank.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

The costs did not fall on me – no problem with admitting that. But then, I have no problem with people saying that in order to keep society functioning we should let many more people die of COVID. Such choices sometimes have to be made. I have rather less respect for people just choose to believe that their preferred course of action would have no negative consequences.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago

I agree Elaine. The whole point of the lockdown was to stop the NHS getting overwhelmed and it was successful in that – just. You can argue that the lockdown should have been more or less harsh but you couldn’t do nothing. Even Sweden had a lock down period for the same reason.
My daughter in law is an ICU nurse and worked through the pandemic. Her description of the wards were harrowing with the toes and fingers of unconscious patients going black and knowing that they would likely lose them. She thinks it was a damn close run thing. They got by by the skin of their teeth.
What would the people against lockdowns do when sick people turn up at the hospital door when there was no room. Just say “Sorry mate, we’re full. Go home and die there”.
I also agree that you cannot compare countries. Small differences parameters cause big changes in outcome.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
AA
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

“Sorry mate, we’re full. Go home and die there”.

What on earth is wrong with that? If you don’t like it go Private.
Alternatively remember what the noble Roman* said:-
“The Gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life”.

(*Lucan.)

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

My father died the Wednesday before last. One consolation is that my sister cancelled the ambulance and so he was able to die at home.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Mine last year, nearly at the ‘ton’, and at home ……… perfect.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

A fine innings. Mine was 81. Sadly his last few years were blighted by Alzheimers, so his death was a release, really.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Presumably, given the choice between being treated in hospital and living or going home and dying you would go home?

Alan Elgey
Alan Elgey
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Excellent post, but I am anti-lockdown in this case.
You say, “What would the people against lockdowns do when sick people turn up at the hospital door when there was no room. Just say “Sorry mate, we’re full. Go home and die there”.
Well, with the benefit of hindsight we can say that we were not dealing with the modern version of the Plague. And from quite early on (UK Summer 2020?) it was apparent that this was so. Delta provided a check on this in Winter 2020, but it was apparent very early in that wave that it was not something that would persist.
I have every sympathy for those who were working through this on the front line; I know (second/third hand) from others that it was a terrible experience and really affected them. However, this was partly due to the unknown nature of the new disease, our collective innate inability to assess risk, and (largely?) to the climate of fear created by the government and especially the media, to which they were not immune, which suggested the worst.
So to the start of your post:
‘The whole point of the lockdown was to stop the NHS getting overwhelmed and it was successful in that – just.’
So, what are we, ie the government, going to do to ensure the NHS does have the capacity to cope with likely surges in demand when the next pandemic starts? Also, how are we, ie the government, going to understand and mange risk properly so that a) disgusting situations such as emptying hospitals of elderly Covid -infected patients into care homes and b) ludicrous restrictions imposed on the general population with which ministers and civil servants involved cannot themselves comply, do not feature in the future

Last edited 2 years ago by Alan Elgey
Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Elgey

Thanks Alan. Looking at lockdowns 2 and 3.
Lockdown 2 started on 5Nov2020 and the number of people in hospital with covid peaked on 21 nov at about 17000. The lockdown started to be eased on the 2dec and the number of hospital patients started rising again shortly after.
Lockdown 3 started on 4Jan2021 and the number of patients peaked on 24th Jan at about 38000.
Without those two lockdowns wouldn’t those two peaks have been higher? I don’t know how much higher but doesn’t that mean that those two lockdowns did successfully reduce the strain on the NHS?
I do think that if we are to live with covid and future epidemics then the health service needs to be beefed up. I should say I’m not a big fan of the NHS.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Please, no misinformation. There was no lockdown period in Sweden. No restrictions on movement or travel, only recommendations for peak period travel, shops and restaurants open, face masks few and far between, primary and lower secondary schools open for the most part. There were a lot of common sense and motivated restrictions and changes in behaviour, eg. working from home, but no lockdown. And for another commenter to suggest that Swedes socialised less than those locked down in other countries is illogical.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
AA
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Thank you for that erudite answer, unencumbered by incoherent statistics etc.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
EG
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

The comment regarding less socialising originated in part from Eurostat figures of when young people in Sweden fly the nest + the number of single person households and this article :
Why so many young Swedes live alone – BBC Worklife
and the fact that this virus can only transmit and do real damage if people meet – specifically younger, healthier people meeting older or more vulnerable people (we are talking pre immunisation here, so 2020).
There is good evidence that the highest transmission rates in the UK and elsewhere occur in household settings. Unfortunately 34% of households in the UK are multigenerational – 9 million homes. Sweden has the smallest average household size in the OECD (1.99).
I am sure lots of young people met up in Sweden in 2020 (after the teenagers were allowed back in to school in September) and in 2021. They just didn’t meet many crinklies or people with kidney transplants, or on chemotherapy, or on high dose steroids or …. add whatever you want to the list.

stephen archer
SA
stephen archer
2 years ago

my point is that people locked down in their respective homes can hardly have socialised more than Swedes able to leave their homes and meet in restaurants, etc. Take golf clubs for example where I’m a member of two in Stockholm and two in Scotland. Stockholm: clubhouses incl. restaurant, changing rooms open during 2000-2022. Scotland: clubhouses closed for a long time, even the courses in fresh air for some time. OK to walk on the course but not to play golf. Then clubhouse open but no changing rooms, or later restaurant open but masks required, then a constant reappraisal and readjustment of the regulations back and forward every month or so as the pandemic waves come and go. Then if you live more than 5 miles from the course the club under police guidance will refuse play whereas local members in a Covid hotspot have no problems in playing. Sounds like another country in the east in another time, but memories are short.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

It was the Danes who had the small lockdown period, not the Swedes.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago

Yes you are right. My mistake.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Nobody I know said to do nothing. Protect the frail and frightened and let the rest of us get on with our lives, seemed to be the logic of most anti lockdowners.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Of course nobody said ‘do nothing’. Everybody was in favour of at least some kind of theatre. The problem is that it is highly unlikely that ‘protect the fail and frightened’ would actually have worked. Some people probably believed it could have worked, just like some people believed we could eradicate COVID. But I suspect that most just chose to believe (or pretend) that you could protect the elderly, so that they could get the freedom of action they craved without having to face up to any consequences.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

Yes the Great Barrington Declaration vilified by the modellers.Who was right? Not the modellers

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Gordon Welford

The GBD said “shield the vulnerable” or something like that.
So who were the vulnerable in the UK before immunisation ?
1.49 million people in the UK are in receipt of adult social care (private and NHS and Local authority and direct payment recipients). According to Statista about 490,000 of these are in care homes. There are 1.52 million social care workers (potential transmitters to this vulnerable population). This doesn’t include those that are being cared for by immediate family members about 13.6 million informal carers according to this paper :
COVID-19 and UK family carers: policy implications
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215036621002066#!
a number of whom are schoolchidren / in college eductaion / working.
In addition.
The population at risk of severe COVID-19 (aged ≥70 years, or with an underlying health condition with a fully adjusted hazard ratio of getting severe covid of 1.13 or greater) comprises 18.5 million individuals in the UK, including a considerable proportion of school-aged and working-aged individuals.
According to the Actuaries Friday report # 51 : Priority Groups 1 to 9 i.e. over 50s, Health & Care Staff, Extremely Clinically Vulnerable and “At Risk” amounts to around 31m people.
Big numbers requiring lots of financial and logistical support in a GBD scenario + a massive sacrifice by direct care workers unless you chose to bribe them (to isolate with their charges).
So that just leaves the ? millions who are still clinically vulnerable but still working and contributing to the economy and under the GBD recipe would have been obliged to continue since they weren’t in a care home.

Mat G
Mat G
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

In a pandemic, people will die and the health service will be overwhelmed. To suggest that the functioning of society should be stopped in order to protect something that serves the functioning of society is not logical.

Proper payment for and suitable protection of healthcare staff is a different matter.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

Go home and die is what the NHS has said and done in many flu seasons stretching back decades.
The problem is never the NHS.

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

Elaine, please don’t come on here quoting facts, it’s very disturbing.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
AA
ARNAUD ALMARIC
2 years ago

How very cynical, but entirely in character I must say.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

You have been misinformed. The most deadly year in terms of excess deaths in Sweden since 1918 was not the 2019-2020 winter or the 2020-2021 winter. We had more excess deaths in the 2016-2017 winter. (And maybe others as well, I just know about this one. ) The hospitals were overloaded in 2016-2017, too. These statistics are inconvenient for those of us who want to increase hospital beds and ICUs around here, but they are what they are. see: https://softwaredevelopmentperestroika.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/sweden-which-was-the-most-deadly-season-during-the-period-of-2015-16-2020-21/ Stats from Statistikmyndigheten (i.e. the official ones).
The reason that these stats are compiled with an Oct-Sept timeline, and not a Jan-Dec is because so many significant diseases (flu, covid) are seasonal, and you want to keep the waves together.
Edit to just put the graph in, instead of the link to the blog post that has the graph, because I had no idea we could get this result! 🙂 comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Johann Strauss
JS
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

Elaine,
There are 4 issues. (a) Stress on the healthcare systems within any given country; (b) Whether any mitigation measures such as lockdowns or masking (the majority of which was useless since people were not wearing fitted N95s, and KN95s don’t count as such) actually slowed things down significantly to prevent overload of the healthcare system; (c) if #b did slow things down did it just prolong the agony but result in the same numbers of hospitalizations and deaths per capita; (d) what were the negative impacts of the mitigation measures economically (lost jobs, closed businesses, destruction of many small business and family-owned businesses, all to the advantage of the huge conglomerates like Amazon), psychologically (increases in drug abuse, anxiety, depression, etc. etc.), and health wise (e.g. failure to go for cancer screens, missed operations, failure to vaccinate kids against childhood diseases, etc…..)
I can’t speak for the UK since I no longer live there, but talking to my old friends from med school who are still working in the NHS, while they were certainly busy they were not overloaded. As for the US, where I live, the hospitals were never close to being overwhelmed. Indeed, even in NYC at the height of the 1st wave, the heathcare system wasn’t close to being overwhelmed. Recall, that the previous administration built a massive field hospital at the Jaffitz center and sent a navy hospital ship with a huge number of beds, and neither were ever used.
As for Sweden, they did experience excess mortality during the 1st wave when they made the same mistakes regarding elder care homes and nursing homes as was made in many of the North Eastern States such as NY, NJ and CT, as well as in the UK. But after that, I think you’ll find that Sweden’s excess mortality is actually negative!

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

No, we had 2 spikes of excess mortality. see:comment image
But been under since Feb 2021.
(Oh cool! I had no idea if you linked to the jpg it would just show up here! I thought you would have to click on the link!)
(note — that label, ‘post pandemic’ is based on the idea that the pandemic is over when people stop dying in large numbers, not when the government says so. Which is not the only way to measure, of course.)

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
2 years ago

It’s interesting that for more than a year before the pandemic the mortality rate was less than expected. That doesn’t change your point of course.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Elliott

20 months … nearly 2 years. It meant that there was an exceptionally large number of frail elderly people who after a normal year would have already been dead who were still around and able to get sick and die of covid.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Yes, which is why you have to look at 2019 and 2020 together. I am feeling quite exhausted from saying this over and over again in relation to Sweden. Thank you Laura for your informed posts.

Laura Creighton
LC
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

I think I found the source of the misunderstanding. Sweden didn’t suffer the highest excess mortality since 1918, just the highest number of deaths since then.
comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

OK although Bevand has been pretty careful with his numbers and how he expresses them for the past 2 years.
And these figures presumably are not population adjusted ? – so more deaths even with a smaller population ?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Oh yes. The Spanish Flu of 1918 was really something amazingly deadly.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

My opinion back then was that Sweden’s approach might well prove successful in the end – who could know, back then – but that they were putting way too much trust in the validity of thier disease models and the judgement calls of their epidemiologists, and they were gambling with people’s lives. I am still of that opinion.

Mat G
Mat G
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It only ever needed logic. Is this a disease that will have a detrimental effect on the functioning of society? The answer was no. Should we stop the functioning of society in order to deal with this disease? The answer was also no.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

What will it take, Rasmus, for you to admit you were wrong? How many studies? How many developmentally damaged children?

Dan Croitoru
DC
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

It will take 30 to 40 years for him to admit

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Croitoru

He would do it all over again – he didn’t suffer and he admitted it.

Karl Juhnke
KJ
Karl Juhnke
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

So no matter the evidence, you refuse to change your opinion. Yes. I know many like that and even more who wish not to know anything other than the official distorted narratives

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

What evidence? I’d say the picture is not exactly clear even now, and for sure nobody (including the Swedes) knew 2+ years ago.

The rest of you people follow the evidence even less than I do. Back when it all started there was no evidence at all, but you knew for absolutely certain that this was not going to be a big deal, and that you could easily keep the vulnerable safe while letting everybody else get sick. Then you have given us two years of cherrypicked data, now replaced by a mixture of gloating and biased hindsight. Why analyse the data properly, after all, when you already know ‘the truth’? When we get some scientific consensus on this (if ever) and the competing band wagons quieten down a bit, then I will listen to the evidence.

Michael Hanson
MH
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The evidence 2+ years ago was that Covid was just like flu.
There was only a fear that this was a brand new virus caused disease. But the evidence from the beginning showed flu type symptoms which, like flu symptoms, led to death in old and/or already ill people.
Successful scientific thinking is measured in part by its ability to predict outcomes and so it is unfair to dismiss those who have been proved right by saying ‘nobody knew’.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

No.
From a paramedic pal servicing the Ross on Wye area – it was clear in January / February that there was something very serious going on in China (from personal contacts between doctors in his local hospital and colleagues in China)
The Royal Society of Medicine Covid 19 webinar # 3 on the 9th April was pretty graphic – Prof. Hugh Montgomery talking about how this disease manifested itself and how they were trying to manage it in ICU’s at that time.
These initial observations that this absolutely wasn’t flu if you were unlucky enough to get it described in this paper from the VA in the USA :
“Risk for In-Hospital Complications Associated with COVID-19 and Influenza — Veterans Health Administration, United States, October 1, 2018–May 31, 2020″
Notably, compared with patients with influenza, patients with COVID-19 had two times the risk for pneumonia, 1.7 times the risk for respiratory failure, 19 times the risk for ARDS, and 3.5 times the risk for pneumothorax, underscoring the severity of COVID-19 respiratory illness relative to that of influenza.”
and
“The percentage of COVID-19 patients admitted to an ICU (36.5%) was more than twice that of influenza patients (17.6%); the percentage of COVID-19 patients who died while hospitalized (21.0%) was more than five times that of influenza patients (3.8%); and the duration of hospitalization was almost three times longer for COVID-19 patients (median 8.6 days; IQR = 3.9–18.6 days) than that for influenza patients (3.0 days; 1.8–6.5 days) (p<0.001 for all).”
It was this disease burden (until the vaccines arrived) that scared the s**t out of Whitty, Vallance, Hancock et al.

Michael Hanson
MH
Michael Hanson
2 years ago

No‘? I almost stopped reading your comment there!
After all what more do you need to say.

Yes‘, I say – my predictions were based in Terrain Theory and have been accurate, whereas your views and stories and references are based in Germ Theory and have led to confusion and chaos.

The only difference between covid and flu is determined by the PCR test – so another assumption you make (along with germ theory being king) is that the test means something.

Both theories (terrain and germ) are based on the interpretation of scientific knowledge. As I’ve suggested before, the success of a theory is in it’s ability to not only predict but to also explain outcomes.

So better than saying no and slamming the door, have an open mind and look at how healthy people can be, without fearing germs and experimenting on their immune systems.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

‘Terrain theory’. OK, so you reject the biological and medical knowledge accumlated over the past 150 years. Thanks for letting us know. I shall take that into account when I decide how much to believe in what you say.

As for ‘explaining outcomes’, any fool can explain a known outcome, given a sufficiently flexible theory and enough imagination. That is why science works off prediction – you cannot fudge your answer when you do not yet know which result you are supposed to get.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Michael Hanson
MH
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I don’t reject it all.
More advanced thinking realises that the ancient fear that something or someone makes us ill is being superseded by a more holistic approach which recognises a healthy body’s ability to heal itself. And that illness is a process of keeping healthy.
I agree, as I’ve already stated, that science is judged partly on it’s ability to predict. My predictions of early 2020 stand the test of time. And yours?. . .

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Just about all scientific thinking believes in the germ theory. Only a, extremely advanced minority disagrees.
Which were your predictions?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rasmus Fogh
Michael Hanson
MH
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Tell me about it!
I predicted that more or less the same total number of people would die in 2020 and 2021 as in most other years. And that lockdowns and masks would have little or no effect on reducing the number of ill people.
Basically that Covid is just flu!
What were you saying in the first half of 2020?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

That a lot of people would die from COVID worldwide, but that it was hard to know how many, or what measures might help. The Economist estimates somewhere around 6 million additional COVID deaths, from memory. I think you are marking your own homework here.

Anyway, we will never get anywhere arguing, and I was wrong to start this. As I see it, there is 150 years of scientific consensus on my side of the argument. If that does not convince you, nothing I can say will make a difference. Likewise, nothing you can say will outweigh that and convince me. We just do not live on the same planet..

Michael Hanson
MH
Michael Hanson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

O.K.

Phil Dolin
PD
Phil Dolin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It’s a good point, but it would be fair to say the same thing of governments in other places. It was one big gamble, really. In Sweden, it may have been the vulnerable people’s lives that were gambled, but elsewhere it was everyone’s; especially young families, children and elder folks living alone.

Very tough decisions but all round it was a policy disaster in most places. Sweden kept a cool head, and I was wishing I was there.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Phil Dolin

It was known from very early in the pandemic that the IFR was way lower than the outrageous models were predicting. Reference the findings of the test tubes: Diamond Princess and soon thereafter Prof Hendrik Streeck’s findings from the German carnival town. My goodness, I was publishing this early on in 2020 as were many others.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

The IFR as you very well know is a moveable feast.
In the UK, from 0.004 for 0 – 34 year olds to 8.5 for 75 – 84 year olds and 28.3 if you are 85 +.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10654-020-00698-1#Tab3

Putting it another way your risk of catching and dying of Sars Cov2 in the UK varies 10,000 fold according to age.
So, the average age of your population and the shape of that statistic counts.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

That being the case, shouldn’t governments have simply followed the principles of the Great Barrington Declaration – i.e. focussed protection of those most at risk.
Moreover, the issue is not just chronological age but physical age. i.e. what and how many co-morbidities does one have. If somebody is 85+, frail and in poor health, a simple cold can have devastating consequences. Unfortunately, nobody lives forever.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Yes ,common sense trumps ‘the science’once again

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Replied to this GBD scenario above but here it is again :
Who were the vulnerable in the UK pre immunisation ?
1.49 million people in the UK are in receipt of adult social care (private and NHS and Local authority and direct payment recipients). According to Statista about 490,000 of these are in care homes. There are 1.52 million social care workers (potential transmitters to this vulnerable population). This doesn’t include those that are being cared for by immediate family members about 13.6 million informal carers according to this paper :
COVID-19 and UK family carers: policy implications
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215036621002066#!
a number of whom are schoolchidren / in college education / working.
Or described another way :
The population at risk of severe COVID-19 (aged ≥70 years, or with an underlying health condition with a fully adjusted hazard ratio of getting severe covid of 1.13 or greater) comprises 18.5 million individuals in the UK, including a considerable proportion of school-aged and working-aged individuals.
Or
According to the Actuaries Friday report # 51 : Priority Groups 1 to 9 i.e. over 50s, Health & Care Staff, Extremely Clinically Vulnerable and “At Risk” amounts to around 31m people.
Big numbers requiring lots of financial and logistical support in a GBD scenario + a massive sacrifice by direct care workers unless you chose to bribe them (to isolate with their charges).
So that just leaves the ? millions who are still clinically vulnerable but still working and contributing to the economy and under the GBD recipe would be obliged to continue since they were not in a care home or deemed vulnerable enough.

24% of UK population have a comorbidity this includes :
8% of children
19% of the working pop
66% of 70+
https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.11
So … you are the Health Secretary for the UK – where do you draw the line and how would you like to pay for it ?

Rick Fraser
RF
Rick Fraser
2 years ago

My wife was treating HIV patients at Georgetown University Hospital In Washington, D.C. when the epidemic first appeared. It took several years before we knew exactly how that virus was being transmitted. What we did know for certain at the outset was that the CFR was 100%. You get it, you die.

When the lockdowns were announced in our state, my wife said, “After being on the front line of a disease with a 100% CFR, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be forced to stay in my home over something I have a 99% chance of surviving. I want to move to Florida.” And we did.

It was a psychologically healthy decision. It also proved to be a financially prudent move given the state income taxes we escaped and the significant appreciation value of our Florida home.

Phil Dolin
Phil Dolin
2 years ago

I can’t imagine how frustrating that must have been for you and others who were publishing against the tide. Dr Jay Bhattacharya became a life boat of sanity for me early on in the pandemic after he appeared on Uncommon Knowledge with the delightful Peter Robinson. I was almost hurt when I saw the response to the GBD! Shameless really… I now wonder where I even got the idea than sense was supposed to prevail in public policy debates!

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Now WHERE is the laugh emoticon when you really need it?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
2 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

And what would your opinion of hard lockdown policies, with WFH, furlough, mask mandates etc have been if this pandemic had arrived in 2002 instead of 2020, when WFH was not possible for most? Would you still have advocated everyone cower at home, blow up the state’s resources so you leave your nation vulnerable, generate a guaranteed years-long recession, such that vast numbers are plunged into poverty as they patently are beginning to now, and a bill the next three generations will still be paying off?

Last edited 2 years ago by Prashant Kotak
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Rasmus was WFH. Yep.