Take physic, pomp

Sweden is looking good (from IKN585)

Something of an Off-Topic for the Weekly, but this piece on Covid-19 and Sweden’s ongoing response made last night’s edition because 1) we got a lot of required but tedious Covid-19 business out the way in one edition yesterday and 2) Sweden is very interesting. Have a read.

Sweden is looking good
We end today’s regional politics
section by leaving the region completely. Here’s an example of why Covid-19
executive decisions should be made by health experts, as even people with a
grasp of statistics got this one very wrong. I know because I’m one of them,
never commenting but often thinking that Sweden looked on the wrong path to
combat Covid-19 in
the early days of the pandemic’s sweep and even into the Northern summer. Epidemiologists
know a lot more than I do about corona viruses, as seen in this July 29th
As other countries face
renewed outbreaks, Sweden’s
latest Covid-19 figures suggest it’s rapidly bringing the virus under control.
“That Sweden has come down to these levels is very
promising,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday.
The Health Agency of
Sweden says that since hitting a peak in late June, the infection rate has
fallen sharply. That’s amid an increase in testing over the period. “The curves
are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach
zero,” Tegnell said.
The development follows
months of controversy over Sweden’s
decision to avoid a full lockdown. The unusual strategy coincided with a much
higher Covid-19 mortality rate than elsewhere in the Nordic region. Per
100,000, Swedish deaths even exceeded those in the U.S.
and Brazil.
On Tuesday, Sweden reported
two new deaths, bringing the total to 5,702.
Tegnell also broached the
subject of face masks, which the World Health Organization recommends people
use when social distancing isn’t possible.
“With numbers diminishing very
quickly in Sweden, we see no
point in wearing a face mask in Sweden,
not even on public transport,” he said.
Tegnell has consistently
argued that Sweden’s
approach is more sustainable than the sudden lockdowns imposed elsewhere. With
the risk that Covid-19 might be around for years, he says completely shutting
down society isn’t a long-term option.
Then on August 5th, this
Sweden, which avoided a lockdown
during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, saw its economy shrink 8.6% in the
April-to-June period from the previous three months.
The flash estimate from
the Swedish statistics office indicated that the country had fared better than
other EU nations which took stricter measures.
However, it was still the
largest quarterly fall for at least 40 years.
The European Union saw a
contraction of 11.9% for the same period.
As for this weekend, Sweden’s
Saturday Covid-19 death toll stands at 5,763, so compare 61 more in the last
eleven days to the tolls seen in The Americas in the same period (Canada doing
better than nearly all, wash your hands and keep it that way). We also note a
new rise in cases in Spain, France
and other places, tentatively being labelled a second wave, that shouldn’t just
worry other European countries.

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