Sweden Covid Update

From this board in November: https://caucus99percent.com/content/sweden-covid-19-data-update

The short form? Think Dakota, either one. It's bad and looking to get worse.

I never understood what that was supposed to mean, but most of the world was experiencing the long predicted and very serious Second Wave and Sweden saw a dramatic increase in both cases and deaths.

Since then? The learned scientists on that thread noted that Sweden's global rank in per capita deaths was in 20th place which was really BAD because Finland and Norway had much better numbers. On the other hand, as of last April -- when all the Sweden bashing made a lot of sense based on their numbers at the time, they had just about the worst experience in the world. In November, I thought it odd that Team Lockdown was touting the 20th rank as a major indictment of Swedish stupidity, when its experience since the First Wave was among the best in the world. The virus diminished to close to nothing in July through September before the Second Wave hit.

Following the standard tautological method of Team Lockdown, the tongue clicking was loud and obnoxious about how those Swedish morons who thought there was such a thing as Herd Immunity simply did not understand that the only determining factor in Covid case and death numbers is Lock Down. Better numbers next door, better lock down. No other factor could possibly affect the numbers, according to these avatars of Science.

Well, as of this week, somehow those Swedish morons fell two more steps down the Death List Ladder to Number 22. I never hear a word about the lockdowns in Belgium -- favorable or unfavorable -- but they are in the worst shape of any national state, with a cumulative Covid death rate more than 50% higher than Sweden. Well they do not share a border with Sweden so those numbers mean nothing.

From January 20 through January 26 here are the numbers for the USA and Sweden:

USA New Cases
1,065,722

Sweden New Cases
22,480

Adjusted for population differential with USA having more than 30 times the population of Sweden, the Swedish rate is 675,000 -- significantly better than here.

USA New Deaths
22,218

Sweden New Deaths
130 -- about what it was during the summer months.

Adjusted for population differential, the Swedish new death rate is 3900 -- 18% of the US total.

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While I was nosing through today's edition of the Corona Virus Update, I found this rather serious statistical reality -- whether it is the Second or Third Wave or just a variant strain, the shit is hitting Western Europe really hard. Not the overhyped and politicized threat of what we have seen so far in the USA, but another level of infections and deaths.

The UK, France and Spain have a total population of about 180 million. Their New Cases total almost 92,000 which is very close to our gross number of about 96,000 -- with a population almost double. New deaths show 2567 in those three European countries compared to our 2470.

This disease is by definition mysterious. It did not exist before, and certainty about how it spreads, how to stop it or slow it down, or what it will do next is nothing but propaganda. Whenever I posted questions or skepticism about the story being told I found Team Lockdown disdainfully sneering at my ignorance of "science" and how to look at the virus.

Another message board bullshit response is to assume that all criticism of Lock Down Logic is Trumpism. More sophistry. The disease is real. Its effects are extremely onerous. That should be the start of a small d democratic discussion of the options.

In this country, we no longer discuss options. We discuss blame.

We are sick and it is easy to see why we are having such a hard time with the coronavirus.

It is true, you can reach any outcome you want if you just assume your own conclusion. Good job Team Lockdown. You are on the winning team!!!!

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Pluto's Republic's picture

While I was nosing through today's edition of the Corona Virus Update, I found this rather serious statistical reality -- whether it is the Second or Third Wave or just a variant strain, the shit is hitting Western Europe really hard. Not the overhyped and politicized threat of what we have seen so far in the USA, but another level of infections and deaths.

I'm keeping an eye on this, too. There are at least two variants that are very infectious spreading rapidly in the UK, and also in certain parts of Europe . (There are hundreds of variants, actually. I am referring to mutations with longer chains of complexity.) For a virus, these mutations are logical responses to barriers we throw up to prevent infections. When scientists see how these variants work, they can often guess which of our bright ideas the virus is responding to. Sometimes it may be an antiviral medication. Other times it may be something in our behavior, like wearing masks or remaining isolated from one another.

During disciplined lockdowns in places like China, the numbers of new cases will start to drop drastically — even while hospitals will be dealing with excess infections for several weeks. Meanwhile, massive breakouts will be resolving — either through recoveries or deaths. So, at first glance, the numbers present something of a contradiction in people's minds. Yes, neuroses are blossoming in the brains of the public based on their flavor of confirmation bias — but the lack of data in a stressful situation can easily result in distorted conclusions about lockdowns. Not altogether wrong. Just distorted.

What actually matters are the conclusions of SARS-CoV-2 as it tries to solves an unwelcome change in the human environment — for example, a slowdown in infections. A virus might react by producing infections that cannot easily be detected, resulting in more asymptomatic viral shedding. This works especially well in the US, where testing availability is slow and sub par. The virus may produce variants that work against aggressive immune responses that come from the introduction of donor plasma from recovered patients. A successful variant will figure out how to evade that sort of attack.

Europe is dealing with these types of weaponized variants, which tend to be more infectious on one hand or more deadly, on the other. Or both.

Now, in a place like Sweden, which took no evasive action, the resident virus kicked back and relaxed. There was no need for it to reproduce frantically. It could chill out and enjoy the show, secure in its future prospects. No need to break a sweat oozing out a desperate mutation. I suspect that the same viral attitude is present in Africa. "What's the rush, amirite?"

However, Sweden's EU neighbors were trying to eradicate the virus 24/7, the the virus was producing various mutations at a rapid rate, until one worked. Eventually, a traveler returning home to Sweden would carry an unactivated mutation. When it activated in Sweden, it was powerfully aggressive and went on an unnecessary rampage, tearing through the population.

That sort of unavoidable mutant rampage is one of the reasons that achieving herd immunity Sweden-style is impossible. It must be achieved all at once so a killer mutation doesn't have time to evolve and block the vaccine. It takes a super fast vaccine roll-out to beat this virus at its own game. Botch that and you're really in trouble! Israel pulled off an amazing feat in fast roll-out vaccinations. However, once must wonder if they used the right kind of vaccine....

Another problem with Sweden's concept of "natural" herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is the fact that people who recover from Covid-19 do not all develop immunity — or if they do, their immunity is often short or has a fast drop-off rate. This seems to be common among the elderly and high risk patients. So even if some people have strong immunity, much of the population will be susceptible and contagious again and again.

We don't know yet how long immunity will last, since it has only been a year since free-range Covid-19 broke out; and only a month since a large sample was vaccinated. But we do know something else that is pretty breathtaking: SARS-CoV-2 has figured out how to cross the blood brain barrier and hide behind the pineal gland for the long haul. Few of the potential treatment medications can go after it. Except for cannabis.

In defense of your position, I will say this. There appear to be a dozen or more simple and effective medications and devices that were not given to the people and omitted from the discussions and advice of experts. We do not have one procedure or protection that is a significant improvement over what was available and used in 1918. In fact, some procedures used in 1918 are more effective than what is included in our current protocol. I think that is exceptionally strange after a century of medical advances, don't you?

The US has its own unique problem dealing with variants. It's a large-nation problem. The US can't see the aggressive variants as they move through the population, so the country can't develop strategic counter-offensives in order to predict and block potential breakouts. That's largely why lockdowns don't work well in the US and why they end up being imposed nationwide, which damages the economy, as you say. China, with more than a billion people, CAN see the movement of the virus and its variants in real time, more or less. So, they can execute a surgical shutdown of one town or one province, while they keep their larger economy fully functional.

Countries that have centrally-controlled Public Health Systems that deal directly with the people have a significant advantage over the US when it comes to epidemiological options. Centralized public health systems are by no means infallible, but at least they have the tools they need to act decisively, and they are actively evolving their policies and fixing the bugs as they fight the Pandemic. Here's how that works: Authentic Public Heath systems will sequence the virus where ever it shows up, and then they record that data centrally. That way, central authorities can more effectively address regional problems without harming or panicking unaffected areas. (I know.... It's a form of tyranny, right? But that's how Public Health works in every developed and emerging nation. Full spectrum awareness is the only way it can work.) Conversely, none of the states sequence the virus in the US. Maybe a lab somewhere will study a new genome or two. That's the only reason scientists know the aggressive variant that is active in California must be moving through the the US — because it was sequenced somewhere in Texas and Ohio. Just enough information to make a mistake.

Sorry to make this so long, but I needed to write it anyway. I suspect it won't help you much. I do understand how it is possible to come to the conclusions you have.

Sorry about the typos.

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato

@Pluto's Republic .
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I respect your point of view and I appreciate the reasonable and non-dogmatic approach you take. I do not necessarily agree with your explication of the Swedish numbers, but not because I have any other interpretation. I am just not sure why any of this shit happens. It is not that I disagree with your take, I am just not ready to buy into any particular theory.

My topic is not about the virus itself -- it is about the politically contaminated discussion of how the human race reacts to it. Whereas I have no earthly idea of the right answers, it is pretty easy to spot the bullshit.

And there is way too much bullshit going on in the world. Always more than we need, but we are breaking records every day in the accumulated bullshit tally.

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I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

Pluto's Republic's picture

@fire with fire

It is not that I disagree with your take, I am just not ready to buy into any particular theory.

Good, because my comments on Sweden were speculative, to say the least. Not much different than your own conclusions. Although I try harder to make my speculation fit the science.

My topic is not about the virus itself -- it is about the politically contaminated discussion of how the human race reacts to it. ....And there s way too much bullshit going on in the world.

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I also sense the wrongness that infuses what is going on. In my view, the wrongness can only be explained by hidden motives and invisible hands steering the outcomes. Trying to write about it has given me an alien form of writer's block. I hope all this craziness doesn't leave a mark.

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato
Alligator Ed's picture

@fire with fire

My topic is not about the virus itself -- it is about the politically contaminated discussion of how the human race reacts to it. Whereas I have no earthly idea of the right answers, it is pretty easy to spot the bullshit.

It should be easier to recognize when one has taken the wrong path through the woods, but it is not so easy to find the correct one. Finding the correct path rapidly is just a matter of happenstance if it has only occurred once. Politicians and Oligarchs however know how viruses think. The chain of logic is a corrupt syllogism:

I am rich
Only the smart are rich
Therefore I am rich

Corollary:

Your are poor
The poor are ignorant and dumb
Therefore you are dumb and I do need to think for you--in your best interest of course.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Sorry to make this so long, but I needed to write it anyway. I suspect it won't help you much.

It helped me. Thanks.

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People are going to be sick for the rest of their lives and the people responsible will pay no price.

Sam thinks she’s a cat.

Dawn's Meta's picture

@Pluto's Republic Comment on Covid

But the part that I was surmising about that seems important:

I would also posit that it is possible without whole vaccines, the partial vaccines may make mutations more possible unless we could say vaccinate everyone (who could stay healthy) within a week.

Otherwise the virus left after the parts of its population are taken out are stronger. It's the same thing that happens with antibiotics: some unaffected bacteria get left behind, and then it's game on for the new mutations.

Do I have this right?

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic

Now, in a place like Sweden, which took no evasive action, the resident virus kicked back and relaxed. There was no need for it to reproduce frantically. It could chill out and enjoy the show, secure in its future prospects. No need to break a sweat oozing out a desperate mutation. I suspect that the same viral attitude is present in Africa. "What's the rush, amirite?"

Are you implying that viral replication increases when there are anti-viral threats added to the environment? I do not believe. Viruses multiply as fast and numerously as the environment will permit. This implies that the virus is smart. So the virus is territorial, too. Calmly reproducing in the peaceful times when one strain was the sole inhabitant of the biosystem.

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instead of Text for new variants?

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@on the cusp

Somehow, auto spell was running, which followed me around and scrambled what I wrote into new words it liked better. It took a while to clean it up.

Thanks, OTC.

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"There will be no end to the troubles of States, or of Humanity itself, until Philosophers become Kings in this world — or until those we now call kings and rulers truly become Philosophers." — Plato

@Pluto's Republic Didn't know a variant had gotten here.
Thanks. I will do some research.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

You all may already be aware of it or use it. The float overs work really well. Left side is where you can pick countries.

Our World in Data

Here is who they are:
Global Change Data Lab

Sweden looks good lately.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

Lookout's picture

has a high ELDERLY population and population density, which in part explains it's high death rates. Sweden's deaths were primarily in it's nursing homes (40% of US deaths have been in nursing homes too). Total lock down vs. targeted lock down has always been an issue to me.
Sweden's deaths
sweden's deaths.png
1,110.79 deaths per million
vs. US
US deaths_1.png
1,301.63 deaths per million population

Not a lot of difference in deaths per million...both countries look pretty incompetent to me, especially when compared to countries like Vietnam with 0.36 death's per million or China's 3.44.

Here in the SE I may as well be in Sweden, less than half wearing masks around here. I still contend mask wearing would lower infection rate, I know your mileage differs on that point.

My other big issue is the lack of approval of ivermectin as a treatment and preventative.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf5bMa9_tvRhOX1m2kZL3ixWDxxar3lg2 (review of dozens of studies)
At least the NIH has put ivermectin in the same category as monoclonal antibodies, but since it is so much cheaper and readily available it makes more sense. I mean 4000 people a day are dying when it is likely most could be saved with an inexpensive available drug.
Some European countries are finally approving it's use

We've been incompetent from the start and Sweden not any better really. The failure of capitalism is pretty plain to see IMO.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I realizead early on in the pandemic, Sweden had become a political football. The libertrian crowd flipped from the narrative that Sweden was a failed welfare state to it being a beacon of personal liberty.

What I gather about the situation there is great disappointment that their pandemic policies are such a failure, relatively speaking, with the death rate around the 20 something-th highest in the world. Countries compare themselves to their peers and Sweden's peers are the other Nordic countries which have much lower death rates. Even the Swedish king has described their country's covid response as a failure.

Deaths per million population (with rank):
23. Sweden 1,137
67. Denmark 357
100. Finland 120
107. Norway 102

The discussion about policy in Europe is now changing from a "rolling lockdowns" approach to "zero covid". There's legitimate concern that variants may be developing that could require a new vaccine.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@coolepairc No field markers and moveable goal posts. Plus teams are allowed to add or subtract players at any time.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Following the standard tautological method of Team Lockdown, the tongue clicking was loud and obnoxious about how those Swedish morons who thought there was such a thing as Herd Immunity simply did not understand that the only determining factor in Covid case and death numbers is Lock Down. Better numbers next door, better lock down. No other factor could possibly affect the numbers, according to these avatars of Science.

Said with the eloquence equalling Demosthenes. I myself have admired the wonderful, almost dutiful subservience of much of the medical field to our Governmental Overlords. The lack of focused action in all aspects of disease monitoring (including testing / contact tracing) is only one the failed aspects of putting political control over medical knowledge, even when that knowledge is as uncertain as it is with this new plaque.

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