[Update: As of October 5th, Swedish COVID deaths per million since March are 583. US deaths per million are now 647. Source.]
Six months after the original request by governments for 15 days of public indulgence in order to “flatten the curve” of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus, which has transformed into a daily count of cases of a 99.8% survival rate disease, Sweden, which charted its own course and never locked down, now has a lower death rate than the US.
Sweden followed a “hands off” policy, and never suspended sports, most schools, bars, movie theaters, or other venues except, for a time, the very largest.
Masks were never ordered in Sweden.
Sweden did, however, place emphasis on sheltering those in nursing homes and vulnerable populations.
Despite acknowledgement of health officials in the US that the spread of the virus was inevitable, US officials now cite new cases as reason for the continued exercise of unprecedented police powers.
Liberal comedian Bill Maher has dubbed the media emphasis on new cases as “panic porn.”
Massive protests have erupted around the world over the transition to indefinite “lockdowns” and social distancing orders, based on “new cases” announcements,
On May 24, 2020, the United States Center for Disease Control revised the estimated survival rate of COVID to a 99.8% survival rate. Normal flu has a 99.9% survival rate.
The numbers show that Sweden has suffered fewer deaths per capita than the US, even after the Swedish government’s decision to use a “herd immunity” approach, which essentially treats the COVID virus as any other normal, albeit severe, flu season. Care was taken to protect vulnerable populations. But Sweden allowed life to go on as normal for everyone else.
According to the database Worldometers, the COVID death rate in Sweden today stands at 577 COVID deaths per 1 million in population. The US death rate is now 583 per 1 million in population.
[Update: As of October 5th, Swedish COVID deaths per million since March are 583. US deaths per million are now 647. Source. ]
Scenes from Sweden
Sweden is also one of a number of countries which make use of the long-established malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in treatment protocols. Another is Israel. Studies show that countries which make use of HCQ have markedly lower fatality rates for COVID patients.
In June, a number of Israeli doctors and scientists called on their government to adopt the Swedish model.
Eleven College Students Expelled for Socializing
The grim milestone comes as schools open in the US. Never-before-seen fiascos over social distancing are playing out. In Boston, 11 Northeastern University students have been expelled for gathering in a room.
Boston 25 News reported last week:
“Kicked out of school, before school even begins. Northeastern notified 11 students and their parents Friday that they have 24 hours to vacate their temporary dorms, which were at the Westin Hotel next to the campus.
Northeastern dismissed the 11 freshmen for the semester after staff members caught them in a room at the Westin Wednesday.”
School policy was that students were largely confined to their rooms with no parties, no gatherings, and no guests in rooms allowed.
However, even after being expelled with no tuition refunds, the students were not allowed simply to go home. Boston’s 25 News reported:
“Before departing, they were required to undergo COVID-19 testing at Northeastern, with the understanding that anyone who tests positive will be moved into wellness housing at the university until they have recovered, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
The legality of holding students in a campus facility against their will, has not been tested.
Economic Crisis Looms
Lockdowns continue into the sixth month because of “new cases.” Mass unemployment, hunger, and homelessness loom on the Fall and Winter horizon. The Wall Street Journal warns that millions of job furloughs and temporary lay-offs may become permanent.
Anti-lockdown, mask, social-distancing protest in Dublin
The choice emerging for US policy-makers is whether to open up the economy with no restrictions, allowing business to flourish, while accepting sickness and death as a part of life. Either that, or plunge the nation into a depression, the depths of which has never been known before.
With up to 60 million projected to be possibly unemployed, and food supply chains fragile as a result of the constant broadcast of fears over the virus, mass homelessness and mass hunger hover over a suffocated economy.
Many Unanswered Questions from Last Five Months of Novel CoronaPolitics, Pushback Against Governors
A comparison of infection fatality rates of various diseases and epidemics shows that the COVID virus is far less lethal than the viruses involved in previous outbreaks, with a revised survival rate of 99.8%. This is higher than the Spanish Flu (98%,) the 1957 H2N2 flu (99.3%,) or the 2002 SARS coronavirus (90%.)
The survival rate of the common flu is 99.9%.
Nevertheless, no virus in history has been used by governors to wreak havoc on social norms and the economy. No city in America has been left unhaunted by shuttered businesses, some decades old. If present lockdown policies continue, the worst may be yet to come.
In Germany, an organization of 500 German doctors and scientists has formed, who say that government response to the COVID virus has been vastly out of proportion to the actual severity of the disease.
Below: Infection Fatality Rates of Various Diseases in the Past (click to enlarge)
For all the human damage, vital questions have been left lingering by politicians who seem to ignore everything but new case numbers. Among these are:
- The role played by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in sending COVID patients into New York nursing homes, despite the protests of nursing home executives, which catapulted death numbers into the stratosphere and made New York by far the hardest-hit region in the country and the world.
- Why do countries which employ the judicious use of hydroxychloroquine, for qualifying patients and in conjunction with a specific protocol, have such markedly lower death rates than the US?
- Why have governors changed the original goalpost of “flattening the curve” to stopping all new cases of a highly survivable virus? In essence claiming emergency powers for eternity?
- Why are state legislatures, as the traditional check on the executive powers of a governor, not playing a more active role in curtailing unconstitutional, open-ended claims of power?
In two states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, impeachment movements have advanced to the point of key legislators filing articles of impeachment. In Ohio the articles filed against Gov. Mike DeWine include the allegation that DeWine:
“Unconstitutionally ordered the closure of businesses because of coronavirus fears, which “resulted in record-high unemployment, causing not only increased poverty, increased depression, increased despair, and increased suicides, but also the necessity for state budget cuts impacting schools and social programs when they are needed most””
In other states, such as Massachusetts, lawsuits are pending which address similar grievances though the judicial branch.