Remember Sweden?

Remember when Sweden was going to be a COVID killing field? Sweden had no lockdowns and no mandates, including no vaccine mandate. In the first year of the pandemic, the trolls who lurk around this blog like ghouls used to send me death reports from Sweden.

Strangely I don’t get those anymore. What could be the reason?

Well, it turns out that Sweden has the virus under control, and much of the rest of Europe does not. Here are confirmed cases:

Cases of COVID

Here are confirmed deaths:

Deaths in Europe

Let me posit something that might make sense: Sweden was the only country in Europe that approached the COVID pandemic the same way we have approached all pandemics for decades (until the COVID cult took over in 2020): ie, health authorities urged the most at-risk to stay home but encouraged everybody else to go about their business. This led to a large increase in cases and deaths in the short run, but the population developed herd immunity, which is playing out now in very low case and death rates.

It turns out that when it comes to COVID there really is no school like the old school.

The horrifying reports from Europe these days are all about vaccine mandates in Austria, Germany and elsewhere. You know where there is no vaccine mandate? Sweden.

So let’s compare Austria and Germany and Sweden.

This point needs to be driven home: mandates and lockdowns will not work. There is a reason that virologists and other experts have for decades now avoided such extreme measures. They don’t save lives in the long run.

What saves lives? 1)Freedom 2)health departments encouraging voluntary measures, such as protection of the most at-risk 3)a sober realization that viruses are almost impossible to eradicate, so we need to learn to live with them by promoting things like natural herd immunity.

Do you know what does not save lives? Mandates, like those in the UK, which have resulted in a huge increase in excess deaths that has health experts alarmed but mystified.

Check out this story from the Daily Telegraph in London:

Nearly 10,000 more people than usual have died in the past four months from non-Covid reasons, as experts called for an urgent government inquiry into whether the deaths were preventable. Fears are growing that NHS delays at the height of the pandemic left large numbers of people with previously treatable conditions suffering illnesses that have now become fatal.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that England and Wales registered 20,823 more deaths than the five-year average in the past 18 weeks. Only 11,531 deaths involved Covid.

It means that 9,292 deaths – 45 per cent – were not linked to the pandemic.

I am sorry to point this out, but I warned about this a year ago on these very pages. In this post I pointed out that the anti-COVID lockdown measures would lead to additional deaths because health authorities were ignoring other preventable diseases.

Meanwhile, any thinking person who cares about the pandemic and the massive government overreaction to the pandemic must ask: what is going on in Africa? The bottom line throughout Africa is this: no real lockdowns, no real mandates, an extremely low vaccinated rate, but COVID has mostly disappeared.

We read this from the AP:

But there is something “mysterious” going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said.

Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. For months, the WHO has described Africa as “one of the least affected regions in the world” in its weekly pandemic reports.

Now before you make the same mistake as the AP and say that it is all because Africa has a younger population, I want you to consider that most of Latin America also has a younger population but some of the worst results in the world are in South American countries like Peru and Brazil.

This is not an observation that explains everything, but I will point out that most Latin American countries had massive, overbearing lockdowns, but most African countries did not. And the few countries in Latin America that did NOT have massive lockdowns — Nicaragua and Haiti — also had the best results, with almost no cases and no deaths.

It makes me weary to have to make this point, but here we go again: if the lockdowns and the mandates actually worked we would see a huge, incontrovertible correlation showing better results in the most locked down and mandated countries. And the countries, like Sweden, and most of Africa, and Nicaragua and Haiti, that did not have lockdowns and mandates would be — BY FAR — the most dangerous countries for COVID. But in fact the results show the exact opposite, ie, the safest countries are those that never locked down and/or had mandates.

So, any of you lurkers want to admit how wrong you have been about this pandemic from the beginning while somebody else (your humble blogger) has been right? Anybody? I like repentance, and all will be forgiven from my perspective.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

9 thoughts on “Remember Sweden?

  1. Case in point here in the US. New Mexico is one of the most vaccinated states. We now have the 3rd highest rate of new cases in the US right now. Our Governor & her lackeys are just doubling and tripling down. There is speculation among parents if schools will be shut down again after the holidays.

  2. I would be a bit cautious drawing too firm a conclusion (and the same is true for those pushing to criticize more open countries or states). A lot of the rate of COVID in a given country at a time as to do with nothing more than luck and chance such as whether someone who is a super spreader was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s more randomness than we care to admit

  3. The theme I sense in the total unwillingness on the part of certain gov-types to open up and let it ride is that we live in times where nobody can handle taking an L. More and more, more people are okay with not winning, as long as they don’t technically *lose*, driven in large part by sheer terror that those who “win” at their expense will not be gracious about it (there’s a projection argument here). This means lockdown-manics in some states won’t even countenance a course change. They would have to admit they were wrong, and they believe that would end their careers. So we end up in this death spiral where it’s going to take more and more work to dislodge these political ticks, which only scares them into chewing in deeper.

  4. Lattertarian and Joyce, yes.

    Daniel, that has been my point during the entire pandemic. Broad public policy prescriptions are made based on faulty data or no data, based entirely on feelings and fear. In every modern pandemic until 2020 there was a widespread acknowledgement that there is a limit to what you can do to prevent viruses from spreading. Yet we heard that Sweden would turn into a killing field, and when it didn’t, and in fact at least for now Sweden is the safest country in Europe, we get no retractions and no admissions of incorrect assumptions. I hate to have to make this point in post after post, but I must because people are not getting it: there is no evidence that masks make a difference, that lockdowns make a difference and that vaccines mandates make a difference, yet we keep on seeing public health officials and politicians going for the most authoritarian measures possible to show “they are doing something, anything.” That is exactly backwards. Whenever some politician proposes some new mandate that restricts freedom we should ALL demand the evidence indicating that this mandate will work before agreeing to the policy. And the evidence should be comprehensive and overwhelming. And guess what? There is no such evidence, so all of the mandates and lockdowns should end immediately.

  5. Chris, good point. People have invested so much time and energy in the COVID narrative that it is impossible for them to give it up, even when the evidence no longer supports the narrative.

  6. Chris and Geoff, I agree that academically that’s where it starts. But it’s curdled into something even worse. It doesn’t feel like it’s just about sunk costs anymore. There’s an undercurrent of some darker psyche thing going on that’s carrying it toward an extraordinarily dangerous willful blindness. It lets the midwit lockdown maniacs believe themselves to be “right” about the baseline concept of violating their neighbors’ bodily autonomy because they have rendered themselves incapable of contemplating being wrong. It’s more than “we just have to do it harder to make it work.” It’s shading into “why won’t you see I’m smarter and righter than you and just give me control over you?”

  7. Lattertarian, agreed. It is a cult now. We can call it the “Branch Covidians.” And people in a cult will justify any actions — including forcing other people to take a vaccine they don’t want or need — to build up the cult.

  8. Lattertarian, yeah, I suspect this is the spark of something much much bigger: foundational splits in most every western nation state.

    The whole appearance of “irrationality” belies deeper biological realities. Our polity sizes aren’t working (social political systems). So we either need more authoritarianism to get some more social coherence, or we need some more pluralism to get more social coherence.

    I suspect Steven Pinker’s new popular book on the rationality of irrationality may be well timed here. Personally, I like Geoff’s cult angle. Sunk costs are great cult tool. So too is the sales point of being able to control something that isn’t controllable. It gets even better when you get to add some performative theatre to things. And all this “irrational” stuff serves some very rational biological functions – like population splits
    (cellular fission-like stuff in multi-level selection logic).

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