Ever since Sweden announced in mid-March that they would be breaking ranks from their European counterparts and would not impose draconian social-distancing regulations upon their populace, doomsayers have been shrilly predicting Sweden’s demise.
“How dare those fair haired Ikea hucksters try something different!”
“Surely they will die by the hundreds of thousands and infect their neighbors while they are at it!”
“Sweden’s medical system shall surely be overwhelmed within weeks!!!”
Much to what appears to be the disappointment of the pandemic-panic crowd, none of the dire projections about Sweden came to pass.
Its not like they did utterly nothing in Sweden. Large gatherings were stopped and people voluntarily stayed home when they could. Schools and most importantly, businesses stayed open.
Emergency hospitals were created in Sweden and preparations were made. Those hospitals were never used and are now being closed. People are already getting on with their lives in Sweden.
“Expert” pandemic modelling has proven to be utter bunk around the world and it has grossly overstated the risk and impact of COVID-19 around the world.
In my area, “experts” predicted thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of ICU patients as a best case scenario by the end of April. The worst case scenarios called for hospitals to be overwhelmed with thousands of ICU cases and tens of thousands of deaths. Right now we have about 19 people in ICU and just over a hundred in hospital. Let’s face it, the projections were crap.
Defenders of quarantining the the healthy with draconian lockdowns doggedly chirp “The low numbers mean that the lockdown is working!”
They seem to forget that the dire numbers projected were taking into account the lockdown.
What these panic-porn aficionados hate the most though is those damn dirty Swedes!
Why? Because Sweden puts lie to their whole narrative that the lockdown is the only thing between us and mass deaths and mayhem due to the pandemic.
Sure we can play with data and point to how Norway has less deaths per million than Sweden. We can also point to Denmark which has far more deaths per million than Sweden despite Denmark locking down.
The bottom line is that Sweden lands pretty much in the middle of the world pack when it comes to pandemic deaths. Not the best nation but not the worst by a long shot.
If the hysterical projections from a month ago were to be believed, Sweden should far and away be the most infected nation on the planet.
Why do the apocalyptic panic mongers not want to examine Sweden and learn? Why would they still try to demonize the nation and pick holes in their success? Sadly and disturbingly, many people would actually see the virus cause mass devastation around the world than simply accept that their panic was unfounded and their reaction overblown.
There are still a lot of factors with this virus that the world is learning. One trend which is stark is that it tends to hit strongest in communities with high population density and immigrant populations. For both cultural and fiscal reasons, new immigrants often tend to pack themselves tightly into living quarters as they get settled into a new nation. They can’t be blamed. It only makes sense.
Here in Alberta, the vast majority of our virus deaths have come in care centers. What few people like to point out is that the bulk of the staff in those centers are new Canadians.
Meat packing plants have seen outbreaks here now too. It appears that it may not be the plants themselves which are the cause as it is the factor that most plant employees are new Canadians.
I understand the reticence on some to point this out as they fear a backlash against immigrants. I fear that as well. Immigrants are always historically the targets of hostility when nations come under pressures. We don’t need people turning unfairly on our new Canadians and they sure don’t deserve that.
We can’t simply overlook that factor when looking at where and how we control this virus. We need testing, targeting and quarantining of the sick and the high risk. That means taking an unvarnished look at where the risks are highest and where outbreaks are most likely to be happening.
Meanwhile, we can start getting rolling in opening up our economy. As long as those damn dirty Swedes don’t suddenly start dying like flies (they won’t), we can rest easy as we work to bring our world back to some sense of normalcy.
We shouldn’t be trying to tear down Sweden. We should be thanking them and emulating them. They took a chance and ignored the “experts” and it paid off.
Its past time that we do as well.