Why Lockdowns Are The Wrong Policy – Sweden Success Story
Seems like Sweden made choices that worked for Sweden.
America makes choices that work for… New York.
— LABC (@ArmedBearCaucus) April 24, 2020
Interview With Swedish Professor Johan Giesecke
Listen to this interview with Professor Johan Giesecke, one of the world’s most senior epidemiologists, advisor to the Swedish Government (he hired Anders Tegnell who is currently directing Swedish strategy), the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and an advisor to the director-general of the WHO, lays out with typically Swedish bluntness why he thinks:
– UK policy on lockdown and other European countries are not evidence-based
– The correct policy is to protect the old and the frail only
– This will eventually lead to herd immunity as a “by-product”
– The initial UK response, before the “180 degree U-turn”, was better
– The Imperial College paper was “not very good” and he has never seen an unpublished paper have so much policy impact
– The paper was very much too pessimistic
– Any such models are a dubious basis for public policy anyway
– The flattening of the curve is due to the most vulnerable dying first as much as the lockdown
– The results will eventually be similar for all countries
– Covid-19 is a “mild disease” and similar to the flu, and it was the novelty of the disease that scared people.
– The actual fatality rate of Covid-19 is the region of 0.1%
– At least 50% of the population of both the UK and Sweden will be shown to have already had the disease when mass antibody testing becomes available
Interactive Chart Tracking Cases Per Million
Here is a chart tracking their progress. Note: you can add in any country to compare them to Sweden. Click the +Add Country.
Second Video Interview On Sweden’s Approach To Coronavirus
Here is another video where Dr. Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist overseeing the government’s response to the coronavirus talks about their approach that does not involve lockdowns.
Sweden Allows Children To Stay In School
One of the main differences is that in Sweden the children are not locked in their house thinking that if they hug grandmother that they’re going to kill her.
Why are people not spending more time thinking about the children? Locking up children in their homes for two months with no contact with little to no contact with other children seems horrific.
In Sweden, the official advice requires everyone to:
- Stay at home if you have any cold- or flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild and you would normally continue life as normal. Stay at home until you have been fully symptom-free for at least two days.
- Practice good hygiene, by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizer when that’s not possible, and covering any coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
- Keep distance from all other people when in public places. That includes shops, parks, museums, and on the street, for example. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping at least a 1.5-2 meter distance.
- Avoid large gatherings, including parties, weddings, and other activities.
- Work from home if you can. Employers have been asked to ensure this happens where possible.
- Avoid all non-essential travel, both within and outside Sweden. That includes visits to family, planned holidays, and any other trips that can be avoided.
- If you have to travel, avoid busy times such as rush hour if you can. This reduces the number of people on public transport and makes it easier for people to keep their distance.
- If you are over 70 or belong to a high-risk group, you should stay at home and reduce all social contacts. Avoid going to the shops (get groceries delivered or try to find someone who can help you), but you can go outside if you keep a distance from other people. Read more about the help available to those in risk groups here.
- By following these precautions, we can all help to protect those who are most at risk and to reduce the rate of infection, which in turn reduces the burden on Sweden’s healthcare sector.
Taiwan Versus Sweden Similar Approaches
I found this interesting comment from a Taiwanese living in Sweden:
I am a Taiwanese living in Sweden. Just want to clarify – Taiwan imposes no lockdown. Like Sweden, it’s business as usual, schools are open. People are acting very cautiously when going about their lives. Public spaces (elevator buttons, handrails etc) are cleaned and sanitized several times a day to prevent contact transmissions. Temperatures are checked and sanitizers offered at the entrance if you are to entered buildings/offices, some restaurants/cafes. People wear masks and practice social distancing. Mass gatherings are canceled or advised to be canceled.
What’s different is that Taiwan imposes containment measures and has been doing rigorous contact tracing since the beginning of January. So people who came in contact with patients tested positive or people who entered into Taiwan are required to do mandatory self quarantine at home for 14 days while the rest of the population goes about their businesses. These people are subsidized as an encouragement to stay home. So the goal is to limit the spread to the minimal extent in order to buy time for effective anti-viral medicine and vaccination.
Sweden on the other hand is not really containing the spread. The strategy here is to reach the herd immunity status so the goal is to not limit the spread but to let the disease spread slowly through population. However, when we could reach the herd immunity status remains debatable within the public health community. And there is no consensus with regard to how long the immunity will last. Also, at this point, we don’t even know exactly what percentage the spread is here in Sweden. The statistics offered by HFM are built on various assumptions and theoretical model. Also, we don’t even know if there will be long-term damage to the lungs after young, healthy people have recovered from covid-19. I think people or even scientists are worried about Sweden’s approach because of these different unknown factors and the fact that we are dealing with a novel virus which we know little about.
At this point, it’s hard to say which approach or strategy is better. Guess we will know when this is over.
But regardless lockdown or no lockdown, the damage in economy is evident everywhere even in Sweden or Taiwan. No single country is able to get out of this with the so-called minimal economic tolls given the globalization.
Further References On Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy
Coronavirus: why the Nordics are our best bet for comparing strategies
Sweden’s Top Epidemiologist: COVID-19 Infections Flattening Under Policy of Individual Responsibility
Sweden says its controversial coronavirus strategy proving effective
Coronavirus: Will Sweden ever have a total lockdown?
Sweden adds obesity to list of coronavirus high-risk groups
Coronavirus OPINION: Are Swedes naive or the only adults in the room?
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