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Today, I turn my attention to Sweden. Powerline blog is focusing on it (I took this post’s title from them) and will periodically report on the numbers there.
Sweden appears to be pursuing a herd immunity strategy permitting the virus to infect the general population with the expectation that with prudence on the part of their people their health care system can handle the number of cases presenting serious symptoms. Can it work? Of course. Whether or not it works it will be an important data point for countries in the West assuming we control for both similarities and dissimilarities between our society and that of Sweden.
You might want to actually pull up the webpage from which I took the screengrab at the top of the post. It shows Sweden normalized for population and compared to other countries. It is also placed on a logarithmic scale which reduces the separations between countries and improves visualization so long as you understand what you are looking at. The graph is a little busy because when normalized for population because Sweden is not included when the graphic is limited to 50 countries or fewer to display. I am uncertain what the filtering criteria is for 10, 25, and 50 countries.
When you follow the Sweden daily plots for each point you get a little information box:
If you put your mouse/pointer on any filled dot on the graph you will see the same information for that country and day whether or not it is the highlighted country.
So how do you judge the success of one country over another in dealing with COVID-19? Sweden, as shown in the screengrab above, is on Day 35 since recording at least 1 case/million population. The US is on Day 28. So let’s isolate data for the US and Sweden on Day 28:
Sweden is experiencing fewer cases even normalized for population and has had a flatter curve overall even though at Day 28 it was experiencing a daily case growth rate of 1.12x. For Sweden in the intervening week, its daily growth rate dropped to 1.05x, but its total cases have nearly doubled (333.6 ->623.5/million population). Is there any place that can be compared directly with Sweden that would contrast mitigation strategies? Let’s look at California:
California implemented a “lockdown” on March 18 (Day 13). Does the data suggest that the “lockdown” strategy was more effective between Days 13 and 28 than Sweden’s less restrictive guidelines? Too soon to tell.
More information about the Swedish experience with COVID-19 is available on Wikipedia. What do you think? Maybe you can find some data on the graphics that make a compelling case out one way or the other.
[Note: Links to all my CoVID-19 posts can be found here.]Published in