Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Can’t We Be More Like Sweden?

 

Why can’t we be more like Sweden? Boy, I never thought I’d write those words, but I just did. You may ask in what way would I like the US to be more like Sweden? Well, it turns out they are the only country in the western world in which the government has not unilaterally shut down society in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they are just as interested in the economic, social, and psychological health of their citizens as they are in minimizing death and illness from the coronavirus. They are, therefore, treating their citizens as responsible, rational adults.

So far, Sweden has closed its borders to non-EU nations, has restricted public gatherings to less than 50 people, and, well, that’s about it for enforced prohibitions. Otherwise, the government has issued a number of advisories including asking people to practice social distancing, work from home if possible, students over 16 are asked to study from home, and those 70 and over are urged to self-isolate. Most private businesses remain open, restaurants still offer table service, private meetings and parties continue apace, and elementary schools are open. This does not mean that Sweden has not yet felt any pain from the virus. According to the NBC News article I linked to as of March 31, Sweden had recorded approximately 4,500 cases of coronavirus and 180 deaths therefrom.

I’d be interested in what the people here at Ricochet who have been paying much closer attention to the numbers than have I, such as @rodin and @arizonapatriot have to say about Sweden’s coronavirus policy. I’m also interested in what the numerous Ricochet physicians think about the policy.

Since there is one country in the west that has not followed the shutdown, perhaps we’ll be able to test which method worked the best: the command-and-control model of every other country or the more laissez-faire approach of Sweden. Of course, there are many differences between countries which affect outcomes. For example, Sweden has a much lower population density than many of the hardest-hit areas, each country has a unique population age distribution, and so forth.

As for me, I’m rooting for Sweden.

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  1. sfcgirl Member

     I don’t think we should be out until the end of April. We should try what Sweden is doing. There will be a percentage of America’s will not social distance so the virus will spread. Land of the free…..

    Americans need to get back to work. 

    • #1
    • April 2, 2020, at 10:43 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Hoyacon Member

    If we were like Sweden (pop. 10.3 mil), we might be able to do what Sweden is doing. We’re not.

    • #2
    • April 2, 2020, at 10:50 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. EODmom Coolidge

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    If we were like Sweden (pop. 10.3 mil), we might be able to do what Sweden is doing. We’re not.

    Well they also have some already hard to pass borders and a discrete number of formal access points so closing borders wasn’t hard. And they have a pretty large percentage of their population which doesn’t follow any secular legal guidelines. Perhaps they thought there wasn’t a lot of point. 

    • #3
    • April 2, 2020, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    If we were like Sweden (pop. 10.3 mil), we might be able to do what Sweden is doing. We’re not.

    Is your assertion that nations (or states) with populations under some density or number are capable of initiating similar protocols?

     

    • #4
    • April 2, 2020, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Richard Fulmer Member

    We’re not populated by Swedes.

    • #5
    • April 2, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Hammer, The Member

    keep in mind… when the leftists in this country argue for universal healthcare and free college for all and so forth, they love to point to countries like Sweeden as proof that it works. We generally remind them that we are, quite simply, not Sweeden, and that what works for them (inasmuch as it actually works, which is often in debate), may not work for us.

    WRT the herd immunity stuff, I think the only thing we can do is wait for reliable anti-body tests and hope that someone is able to fast track (and not 18 month fast-track, but extremely fast fast track) some sort of vaccine.

    • #6
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    We’re not populated by Swedes.

    True, although Minnesota, which has a large Scandinavian population, isn’t following the Sweden model.

    • #7
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    keep in mind… when the leftists in this country argue for universal healthcare and free college for all and so forth, they love to point to countries like Sweeden as proof that it works. We generally remind them that we are, quite simply, not Sweeden, and that what works for them (inasmuch as it actually works, which is often in debate), may not work for us.

    Sure, I agree.

    WRT the herd immunity stuff, I think the only thing we can do is wait for reliable anti-body tests and hope that someone is able to fast track (and not 18 month fast-track, but extremely fast fast track) some sort of vaccine.

     

    • #8
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. Hoyacon Member

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    If we were like Sweden (pop. 10.3 mil), we might be able to do what Sweden is doing. We’re not.

    Is your assertion that nations (or states) with populations under some density or number are capable of initiating similar protocols?

    In the abstract, yes. I suspect unanimity of character and geography are factors as well.

    • #9
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:12 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Hoyacon Member

    [double post]

    • #10
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    tigerlily: I’d be interested in what the people here at Ricochet who have been paying much closer attention to the numbers than have I, such as @rodin and @arizonapatriot have to say about Sweden’s coronavirus policy.

    I can provide some information. I’ve modified my chart showing reported deaths per million, for March 1 to April 1, to include Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Sweden is the red line. I’ve include Italy to put it in perspective, plus the US and Germany. Each line starts when the country indicated exceeds 0.5 reported deaths per million.

    I wanted to provide this scale, to put the figures in perspective. Sweden remains at a very low level compared to Italy, generally comparable to the countries with the very lowest death rates thus far (Germany and the US).

    It is hard to differentiate between the countries other than Italy on this graph, so here is the same data removing Italy. Note that the scale of both axes changes — the period for the next graph is March 14-April 1, and the vertical scale ranges from 0-25 (rather than the 0-225 range necessary when Italy is included).

    In this scale, you can see that Sweden is trending somewhat higher than the other countries shown, but not by a wide margin.

    I do not have sufficient information to evaluate the extent to which these trend lines differ due to the adoption of different policies, or any of several other potential factors — which could include the timing of the initial outbreak, population density, demographics (especially age distribution), effectiveness of medical treatment, the weather, the degree of contact between the young and the old (especially grandchildren and grandparents), and the overall level of social gregariousness.

    I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Sweden is at the top of the graph above. I could have changed that by including the trend line for France, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, or Switzerland, all of which have substantially higher deaths per million than Sweden at this time.

    If it is true that Sweden is taking a significantly different approach from, say, Norway or Denmark, this might provide some useful information in a few weeks.

    At present, my suspicion is that the “lockdown” efforts have had little effect on the death rate. I think that they were first adopted in Italy around March 8-10, and in the US generally around March 16-20. I’ve previously suggested that I wouldn’t expect such policies to have a noticeable effect on the death rate until 10-15 days thereafter, though this was just an estimate (assuming about a week before showing symptoms and another week for death). I’ll probably look into this further, but this is all that I know for now.

     

    • #11
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    tigerlily: I’d be interested in what the people here at Ricochet who have been paying much closer attention to the numbers than have I, such as @rodin and @arizonapatriot have to say about Sweden’s coronavirus policy.

    I can provide some information. I’ve modified my chart showing reported deaths per million, for March 1 to April 1, to include Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Sweden is the red line. I’ve include Italy to put it in perspective, plus the US and Germany. Each line starts when the country indicated exceeds 0.5 reported deaths per million.

    I wanted to provide this scale, to put the figures in perspective. Sweden remains at a very low level compared to Italy, generally comparable to the countries with the very lowest death rates thus far (Germany and the US).

    It is hard to differentiate between the countries other than Italy on this graph, so here is the same data removing Italy. Note that the scale of both axes changes — the period for the next graph is March 14-April 1, and the vertical scale ranges from 0-25 (rather than the 0-225 range necessary when Italy is included).

    In this scale, you can see that Sweden is trending somewhat higher than the other countries shown, but not by a wide margin.

    I do not have sufficient information to evaluate the extent to which these trend lines differ due to the adoption of different policies, or any of several other potential factors — which could include the timing of the initial outbreak, population density, demographics (especially age distribution), effectiveness of medical treatment, the weather, the degree of contact between the young and the old (especially grandchildren and grandparents), and the overall level of social gregariousness.

    I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Sweden is at the top of the graph above. I could have changed that by including the trend line for France, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, or Switzerland, all of which have substantially higher deaths per million than Sweden at this time.

    If it is true that Sweden is taking a significantly different approach from, say, Norway or Denmark, this might provide some useful information in a few weeks.

    At present, my suspicion is that the “lockdown” efforts have had little effect on the death rate. I think that they were first adopted in Italy around March 8-10, and in the US generally around March 16-20. I’ve previously suggested that I wouldn’t expect such policies to have a noticeable effect on the death rate until 10-15 days thereafter, though this was just an estimate (assuming about a week before showing symptoms and another week for death). I’ll probably look into this further, but this is all that I know for now.

     

    Thanks Jerry.

    • #12
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Concretevol Thatcher

    My short answer is that Sweden is more like a single state than the United States, therefore I would say some states could very well be like Sweden. The parallels to the US are far fewer than the differences. To roughly quote Kevin Williamson, “Sweden is full of Swedes, America is full of lunatics”. 

    • #13
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:37 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  14. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Sweden just got off to a slow start. Apparently they don’t have a factories of Chinese workers and people from China don’t vacation in Scandinavia during mid-winter. They better have a plan-B ready.

    In Austin, there is a now famous group of UT students that went to Cabo San Lucas for spring break. Of the 70 students that went, 44 have tested positive for Wuhan Flu. FOURTY-FOUR!! That is 63%. All are people in their 20’s and caught it in less than 5 days. Of the 44, four have had zero symptoms and 16 were caught in a second round of testing. Those people have been widely mocked and criticized. Sweden does not want to be the frat-bro of Europe.

    Abba admit outrageous outfits were worn to avoid tax | Music | The ... 

    • #14
    • April 2, 2020, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Sweden just got off to a slow start. Apparently they don’t have a factories of Chinese workers and people from China don’t vacation in Scandinavia during mid-winter. They better have a plan-B ready.

    In Austin, there is a now famous group of UT students that went to Cabo San Lucas for spring break. Of the 70 students that went, 44 have tested positive for Wuhan Flu. FOURTY-FOUR!! That is 63%. All are people in their 20’s and caught it in less than 5 days. Of the 44, four have had zero symptoms and 16 were caught in a second round of testing. Those people have been widely mocked and criticized. Sweden does not want to be the frat-bro of Europe.

    Abba admit outrageous outfits were worn to avoid tax | Music | The ...

    I’d be cautious about the UT story. We do not know the extent to which COVID-19 has infected the general public. We do not know whether this particular group caught it on their charter flight, or in Cabo, or before, or after (at least based on the reports that I have seen, and I knew nothing about this UT group until your comment).

    If the infection rate is quite high — as has been hypothesized but not yet proven — then we are likely to find a high rate of infection in any group that we choose to test. Test the Spring Breakers, find COVID-19. Test others, find COVID-19, perhaps.

    We just don’t know at this point.

    • #15
    • April 2, 2020, at 1:10 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Sweden has 10 million people and 308 deaths.

    Do the math.

     

    To get equivalent number for US multiply by 33.

    • #16
    • April 2, 2020, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Sweden has 10 million people and 308 deaths.

    Do the math.

     

    To get equivalent number for US multiply by 33.

    Sweden has 239 deaths as of yesterday (4-1-20), both in my data from Johns Hopkins, and per Worldometer. However, Kozak is correct that Worldometer’s current total shows 308 deaths in Sweden as of today (4-2-20), an increase of 69 from yesterday (about 29%). I don’t know whether that is the final report out of Sweden for today. The Johns Hopkins data generally becomes available at around 6-7 pm where I live (Arizona, currently in the same effective time zone as the west coast).

    • #17
    • April 2, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Stad Thatcher

    tigerlily: Why can’t we be more like Sweden?

    If you mean Chinese flu policy, I agree. I wish we had been left to make our own decisions about work, travel, and self-protection, while at the same time we research vaccines, make more masks and respirators, and curtail international travel.

    • #18
    • April 2, 2020, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  19. Mark Camp Member

    Jerry,

    You’ve obviously never been involved in committee work.

    When someone stands out as being the one person who has the ability and the dedication to do what everyone else wants done, someone nominates him to be in charge of it, there’s a unanimous vote, and before you know it, you are working weekends.

    • #19
    • April 2, 2020, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. rgbact Inactive

    Sweden’s not doing that great. Its smaller than Pennsylvania, with far more deaths. You could just as well copy Pennsylvania. I do suspect its quite urbanized, due to much of the population living in or around Oslo.

    • #20
    • April 2, 2020, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Trajan Thatcher

    How many people so far say, in Sweden have died of what Appears to be a coronavirus but were a) problematic re; already having respiratory issues, which made them high risk re; Any flu b) died of one of the standard plethora of flus that bounce around the globe every season?

    • #21
    • April 2, 2020, at 3:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. ShaunaHunt Coolidge

     Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, not Oslo.

    • #22
    • April 2, 2020, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  23. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    We’re not populated by Swedes.

    I guess you have not lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington state or Oregon.

    • #23
    • April 2, 2020, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    rgbact (View Comment):

    Sweden’s not doing that great. Its smaller than Pennsylvania, with far more deaths. You could just as well copy Pennsylvania. I do suspect its quite urbanized, due to much of the population living in or around Oslo.

    I think you meant Stockholm, not Oslo, right?

    • #24
    • April 2, 2020, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. rgbact Inactive

    ShaunaHunt (View Comment):

    Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, not Oslo.

    You’re right. Point still stands. The country is nearly 90% urban. Probably best to just compare what different cities are doing at this point.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/455935/urbanization-in-sweden/

    • #25
    • April 2, 2020, at 4:28 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    tigerlily: Why can’t we be more like Sweden?

    If you mean Chinese flu policy, I agree. I wish we had been left to make our own decisions about work, travel, and self-protection, while at the same time we research vaccines, make more masks and respirators, and curtail international travel.

    And if Bill Gates did not possess the ability to wrangle his way into every other health matter in the world, including COVID 19, we just might have gotten left to make our own decisions.

    After all, Since the COVID crisis has erupted, in the USA, flu/pneumonia deaths are at 83,780 deaths

    COVID 19 has killed around 4099 Americans, half of whom are in New York City,
    and a large proportion also in Washington state, where half of those who died did so after being in one elder care facility. Even this number is a bit of a stretch, as health workers are told that if COVID 19 contributed in “any way” to a patient’s demise, then COVID 19 should be the causal agent listed on the death certificate.

    Recent article in The Washington Times reports that “As a matter matter of fact, WHO didn’t announce the coronavirus as a pandemic until the very day after Gates made a very large donation to a cause that benefits WHO.”

    ####

    • #26
    • April 2, 2020, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  27. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Sweden has 10 million people and 308 deaths.

    Do the math.

    To get equivalent number for US multiply by 33.

    Yep. Sweden is running, at the moment, about 30 deaths per million residents. Deaths per million residents for the USA at the moment is 6.8. By that measure, the US is doing considerably better than Sweden. For the US to be “more like Sweden” in that regard, the US would have to have about 9,900* total deaths as of today. I think.

    Or, for Sweden to be “more like the USA” in that regard, their total deaths so far should be around 68. I think.

    I never was all that good at math.

    *moved a decimal point

    • #27
    • April 2, 2020, at 6:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. Hammer, The Member

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    tigerlily: Why can’t we be more like Sweden?

    If you mean Chinese flu policy, I agree. I wish we had been left to make our own decisions about work, travel, and self-protection, while at the same time we research vaccines, make more masks and respirators, and curtail international travel.

    And if Bill Gates did not possess the ability to wrangle his way into every other health matter in the world, including COVID 19, we just might have gotten left to make our own decisions.

    After all, Since the COVID crisis has erupted, in the USA, flu/pneumonia deaths are at 83,780 deaths

    COVID 19 has killed around 4099 Americans, half of whom are in New York City,
    and a large proportion also in Washington state, where half of those who died did so after being in one elder care facility. Even this number is a bit of a stretch, as health workers are told that if COVID 19 contributed in “any way” to a patient’s demise, then COVID 19 should be the causal agent listed on the death certificate.

    Recent article in The Washington Times reports that “As a matter matter of fact, WHO didn’t announce the coronavirus as a pandemic until the very day after Gates made a very large donation to a cause that benefits WHO.”

    ####

    4099 in about 2 weeks, with everyone locked down. Flu season is over, and for the year in the entire country, the number is pretty big, but it doesn’t compare. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s an actual problem.

    • #28
    • April 2, 2020, at 8:34 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s worth pointing out that Sweden has in fact enforced a few more controls than what are mentioned in the OP, even if they’re still remaining much more open than the rest of the West.

    For example, they were very proud of keeping their ski resorts open in light of the fact that all ski resorts in the Alps closed after a few major outbreaks were traced back to ski areas. But a few days ago Sweden also ordered all of their ski areas closed. They have also now mandated 6 feet of distance between all people in public. How that’s supposed to work in practice, I don’t know.

    But the main point is: they’re not diametrically opposed to lockdowns, they’re just taking an incremental approach based on the current state of affairs and not on projected developments. It wouldn’t surprise me if they end up flinching at some point and imposing a lockdown after all.

    Either way, the entire world owes them a debt of gratitude. For all the griping about “control groups”, sometimes in science the only way to know something is to play out several different scenarios and see which one works and which one fails. Kudos to Sweden for being the world’s guinea pigs and playing out the experiment everyone else is too chicken to try.

    • #29
    • April 3, 2020, at 6:17 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    tigerlily: According to the NBC News article I linked to as of March 31, Sweden had recorded approximately 4,500 cases of coronavirus and 180 deaths therefrom.

    At this point, it’s still too early to conclude anything based on the current numbers. The trajectory of case growth and deaths in Sweden suggests they’re on the cusp of a major increase in the number of deaths. But whether this plays out in reality remains to be seen.

    • #30
    • April 3, 2020, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like