Governmental response to Covid-19, Sweden, etc

(Todd Allen) #22

Looks like Sweden is #1 in the world for today’s daily Covid-19 deaths per capita.

Sweden, 185 deaths, 18.34 deaths / million
Belgium, 175 deaths, 14.68 deaths / million
UK, 828 deaths, 12.18 deaths / million
Italy, 534 deaths, 8.84 deaths / million
US, 2804 deaths, 8.44 deaths / million

Contrast Sweden with Italy, the world leader in Covid-19 deaths until the US reasserted its world leadership role, Italy for which theories were concocted to explain the high death toll such as an extremely old population living in a polluted industrialized region, Italy’s highest daily death toll was 919 on 3/27 was 15.10 deaths/million.

(Jane) #23

Isn’t it inevitable that we will ALL eventually get exposed to this virus since there is no way to eradicate it?

I think it is high time to start a graduated process of opening back the economy so the number of critical COVID patients is manageable.

(Polly) #24

I am with you on this one @Janie. At the moment we have spare capacity in the NHS hospitals in England and we should be starting to ease back into freedom to enable some herd immunity to develop. Starting with those under thirty with no underlying co-morbidities would be a good way to progress.

(Allie) #25

Agreed. The NHS announced last week that they’re ready so let’s get on and do this.

(Allie) #26

(Jane) #27

The town to the south of me is a major hospital district and they have a total of 8 cases in the county and don’t know if any are actually hospitilized as there have been 0 deaths. Absolutely time to start gradually re-opening the economy in my neck of the woods.

(Doug) #28

Them being neighbors matters because of the timing of the virus outbreak. Directly comparing Italy, for example, with Sweden makes less sense. Italy had thousands of deaths already when Sweden was still in the single-digits. Iceland still only has 10, right now, while Sweden has thousands and Italy has tens of thousands.

It also matters because there is a bridge between them, with a normal day being 70,000 people going across it. It was not even partially restricted (only going into Denmark) until mid-March, when the virus outbreak was underway in both countries. It’s the same principle as it making more sense to compare China and Taiwan, with the large amount of traffic between the two, rather than China and Nigeria.

I agree - things will change a lot, as far as the numbers. “Closed cases” - this will not settle down for a long time, until most people have had the virus. Outcome of closed cases in Sweden thus far is horrible as of now - 76+% dying, 23+% recovering. We know that will change to a huge extent - but for now the brutal lack of testing is hiding many people who have had the virus and survived.

(Doug) #29

Stages for countries…

1.) The virus breakout isn’t much apparent yet, or still in early-enough stages that politicians haven’t been forced to act.

2.) Politicians have acted after a while; quarantines and stay-at-home orders, etc. Deaths were rising exponentially, and ~12 days after the stay-at-home orders, etc., a noticeable flattening or even a decline in the numbers of new cases is observed.

The pressure is on, Todd - while Sweden is still at #1, it’s a question if the head virologist and the Prime Minister will change course.

There’s Denmark, right across the bridge, ~6 times as densely-populated, with 384 deaths and not just a flattening of the curve but a large decline in active cases, while Sweden has 1937 deaths and active cases still rising fast.

(Doug) #30

Yeah, I think so, Jane.

You mean “because the number of critical COVID patients is manageable,” right? :smile:

I do agree that that’s an important consideration - if medical facilities are not overwhelmed, then a necessarily higher death rate is avoided, there. However, just “having enough hospital beds” doesn’t mean the death toll won’t rise with a loosening of restrictions. The “area under the curve” that really matters is the number of deaths, and it’s not like we can just let the less-vulnerable loose without impacting those who do have significant risk from the virus.

We’re going to find out - I’d say that a year from now we’ll know a lot more. It’s a question of reward versus the risk of opening things up. I see only 43 deaths in the state of Arkansas and I certainly understand the thinking that, “This really isn’t do bad; it’s not bad enough that we need stay-at-home orders…”

I’d say that things in Arkansas are still in the early stages, and the way to keep the death number really low is for people to be isolated as much as possible. More testing should really help us know what all is going on.

(Doug) #31

Coronavirus: Can you compare countries?

Allie, :smile: - the first thing that article does is to compare countries - the U.S with the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain. It makes the point that “individual statistics don’t tell the full story.” Well, yes (of course) - but the timing of the virus outbreak can make all the difference, and they neglect that, there. At the end of March, for example, Italy and Spain alone had over 20,000 deaths while the U.S. was just getting to 5000.

Beyond that I don’t disagree with most of the article, really, but it doesn’t change much. We all know that the amount of testing impacts the number of known cases. We know that deaths are not counted exactly the same everywhere, that the age demographics make a difference and that population size and density should be accounted for - all through this thread those things have been identified and discussed.

It ends up saying, "But until this outbreak is over it won’t be possible to know for sure which countries have dealt with the virus better."

That’s not true. Look at the 4 countries which really clamped down and did a lot of testing - South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. They remember the first SARS and didn’t mess around. Over 88 million people in those countries and a total of 259 deaths so far. Now there’s a comparison. Make adjustments for everything that article mentions and it almost won’t alter the results at all.

(Jane) #32

Yes, I meant because. Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

There is nothing preventing the more vulnerable of the population to remain self-isolated until immunity has moved through a greater portion of the population

(Doug) #33

I partially agree - yes, to some extent, but how true is that overall? Unless one is totally self-sufficient, how does one stay isolated? There are a lot of older nurses and doctors, for example. The infection moving more rapidly through the population increases the danger to them. On the basis of danger, workload, shortages of PPE, etc., much of the medical community is pleading for people to stay at home and slow things down.

I rate myself as somewhat vulnerable, not too bad but it’s not like I want to roll the dice. My wife went shopping today, the second time in a month. There is no way we can really be 100% isolated. And I realize that’s the case regardless of what the rules are.

We’re going to find out, I’d say - I think it’s a given that restrictions will be lifted before we have a vaccine and likely before we have effective antiviral medications.


Clozapine(antiviral) with Vitamin D. My brother takes this and was sick for less than 2 days. We’re the same A+ blood type.

(Elmo) #35

@Beachbum - the Swedes are watching, too, with a variety of opinions. My great-grandparents were from Sweden. Still have second-cousins there, and things are really pretty quiet. Even though they don’t have as many legally-mandated things at present, I’m guessing people are doing 2/3 or 3/4 as much as most countries are that have strict stay home orders, etc., and there are some compulsory bans in effect.

My relatives live on the outskirts of Stockholm, the worst area for the virus and the biggest city area in the country, with 1/4 of the people right there. You might see a picture or a video of “Swedish people shopping” but it takes a while to find anywhere that actually looks “busy.” Some factors:

  • Gov’t encouraged social-distancing, working from home, and self-isolation early on. Swedes have a high trust in gov’t and comparatively great willingness to follow such advice.

  • Gov’t suggested non-essential travel be stopped. Travel from Stockholm went down 90%. Also suggested that people 70 years old or more stay home - this has been almost universally adopted.

  • People have been encouraged to stay home if they think they’ve been exposed to the virus, or if they feel they have symptoms. There is no need of a doctor’s certificate to stay home from work - for up to 14 days.

Laws that were changed:

  • 17 March - Banned travel to Sweden from most countries.

  • High schools and colleges closed.

  • Gatherings of 500 or more people banned, then lowered to 50 or more.

  • Enforced social distancing - no crowding together in queues/lines, in bars, at buffets, etc. No customers at the bar - table service only. If businesses do not comply, they are shut down, period.

  • 1 April - Banned visits to nursing homes.

My cousins are mostly in their 50s, with living parents in their 70s. They’re taking it seriously, staying home as much as they can. They’re not sure if they would change anything the gov’t has done.

Within the country, it’s primarily Anders Tegnell, the head epidemiologist, who has set the tone for gov’t action. He’s still aiming at ‘herd immunity,’ yes - but there are many scientists and medical people who disagree. At the end of March, 2,300 doctors, scientists and academics signed an open letter to the government calling for stricter measures.

There is a feeling in Sweden that state agencies - in this case the Public Health Agency - should run things, rather than the Ministers, including the Prime Minister. So for now they continue…

(Ron) #36

Sounds to me like a great country where people are concerned about others more than themselves. Voluntary quarantine is admirable and I salute them. :muscle::clap:

(Elmo) #37

The populace is divided in its opinion - I don’t know if there’s a strong majority one way or another. But there definitely are a lot of people who think they should remain on this course, as well as a lot who think they should be more strict.


The problem I’ve noticed is the asymptomatic silent spreaders. They believe the virus isn’t a big deal because of their innate immunity and basically deny this pandemic. I believe this is occurring in Sweden.

The majority of people I know are blood type O’s and they are immune for the most part. The older ones take a little longer to recover and the young have minimal to zero symptoms.

What I’ve also noticed is that reinfection is possible because this virus has the ability to turn off the cells machinery which calls out to the immune system. So what Sweden is doing is dangerous because it isn’t just about gaining immunity. It’s about stopping the continuous spread and possible mutations. This type of non action will lead to the death of many people with A+ and AB+ blood. It’s like a mass extinction of susceptible blood types.

(Doug) #39

Reinfection and the possibility that acquired immunity may not be total are worries, I agree. We just don’t know how much that will apply. The blood type thing is new to me.

One thing I really do wonder about is to what extent can older, more vulnerable, etc., people be protected, both with stay-at-home orders and without. @Janie Jane’s point about most people (with very little risk of death) gaining immunity is an attractive one. Not sure how to weigh all the plusses and minuses…


Well my almost 90 year old grandma has O- blood and hasn’t been infected while living with her O+ daughter that is infected and has been reinfected multiple times.

I’ve been infected and reinfected while driving in a car with my asymptomatic O+ blood brother. Just him breathing in the car was enough to make me sneeze and start getting minor lung symptoms. Now I avoid everyone because they deny their infection and they aren’t respectful.

(Jules ) #41

I am a healthcare worker in Australia.
There are adequate scrubs at my workplace and we have been given written advice on how to arrive to work in plain clothes and footwear, change into the provided scrubs and our dedicated work footwear and then safely discard them at work for hygienic laundering at the conclusion of our shift. In that same written advice, we were even told how to wash our socks that had been worn at work, disinfect our clothes hampers etc. I feel extremely well supported by my employer. I was also given paid leave across the long weekend (not out of my own accrued sick/annual leave etc) as I had symptoms of a cold/flu and was swabbed to exclude COVID19. I was paid that leave while I awaited results in isolation.

I think we are doing a stellar job so far, largely thanks to the majority of the populations compliance with social distancing and stay at home orders. I do hope that our early positive results do not mean that we become complacent though, as we could so easily end up in a big mess like the US and some parts of Europe.

As others have said, I do wonder at which of the various approaches will end up providing the optimal outcome for countries. There are no easy solutions at all.