“There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is generally adopted”Schopenhauer
Sweden, a nation with a population less than that of Los Angeles, is a highly developed industrial country that is famous for inventing, designing and producing things like the adjustable wrench, ball bearings, pacemakers, dynamite, the Gripen jet fighter, the SAAB automobile and highly advanced naval vessels and submarines.
As their history also tells us, Swedes are not given to mass hysteria, fear, or believing in hasty actions. So, when COVID-19 appeared they examined the threat and dealt with it calmly and logically. Unlike the U.S. and other industrialized countries, they did not lock down their country. Instead, the Swedish government simply banned meetings of more than 50, asked citizens to use social distancing, and asked senior citizens to avoid contact with others as much as they could. Masks were not required or even suggested. Instead, Swedes were asked to exercise, work, keep their businesses open, and lead their lives as if they were experiencing an annual flu season. Schools, shops, restaurants, and industry remained open.
Despite the admiration the media and progressive politicians have for Sweden’s quasi-socialist economy, often urging us to “be more like Sweden,” in this case they savagely lambasted the Swedes as being a danger to themselves and others for not following the advice of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and vaccine experts like Bill Gates. Their selected data analysts also predicted Sweden would suffer an enormous death rate, become a dangerous COVID-19 hot spot and economically implode.
As headlines collected by The Epoch Times newspaper show, the U.S. media has been savage in their criticism of Sweden’s no-lockdown policy:
- Sweden becomes an example of how not to handle COVID-19, CBS News
- Lack of Lockdown Increased COVID-19 Deaths in Sweden, U of V Newsroom
- Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale, New York Times
- Sweden Stayed Open And More People Died Of Covid-19, But The Real Reason May Be Something Darker, Forbes
- Sweden hoped herd immunity would curb COVID-19. Don’t do what we did. It’s not working. USA Today
- Sweden’s coronavirus death toll is now approaching zero, but experts are warning others not to hail it as a success, Business Insider
- Lack of COVID-19 Lockdown Increased Deaths in Sweden, Analysis Conclude, Virginia.edu
- Sweden COVID-19 Deaths Linked to Failure to Lockdown as Country Prepares for Second Wave, Newsweek
- Sweden Tries Out a New Status: Pariah State, New York Times
On the other hand, sources more credible than the U.S. mainstream media are far less dire with their analyses of nations that did not lock themselves down. An article in The Evening Standard (UK) has that attitude. It describes a study in the Lancet’s online journal EClinicalMedicine:
“Lockdowns made little difference in the number of people who die from coronavirus, a study has claimed. Researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Texas found that whether a country was locked down or not was “not associated” with the COVID-19 death
“Experts compared mortality rates and cases in 50 badly-hit countries up until May 1 and calculated that only 33 out of every million people had died from the virus… The study found that imposing lockdown measures succeeded in stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, but it did not translate into a significant reduction in death rates.
“Government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”The Evening Standard (UK)
Whatever differing studies, opinions, and statistics may conclude, the graph below shows the effect that Sweden’s no-lockdown policy has had on the actual number of Swedes who died of COVID-19.
Now approaching zero, the Swedish death rate due to COVID-19 is lower than that of Britain, Spain, and Belgium – all of which locked down. The virus is definitely not raging out of control in Sweden and, in fact, Sweden would have done even better if its national healthcare system had not rationed medical treatment for nursing home patients in the first months of the year, a problem rarely mentioned by U.S. media or progressive critics. Sweden, to its credit, quickly increased its national healthcare system’s limits for seniors.
What did Sweden’s doctors understand before their government decided on a no lockdown policy? The Swedish medical establishment, unlike ours, recognized that COVID-19 is just another member of the flu virus family, whether modified by Chinese laboratories or not. The difference is that the new virus is more communicable, but not more deadly. They reasoned that a lockdown would, therefore, be counter-productive and not lead to the “herd immunity” that occurs naturally when people are exposed to the virus in everyday activities, as has happened in every “flu season” around the world since the 1918 epidemic. Of course, exposure to any flu virus can be particularly dangerous to the elderly or those with existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and asthma.
This is shown in graphs created by J.Kim and posted on 4 August on the Maalamalama news site under “pandemic lockdowns.” The graphs are from data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Folkhälsomyndigheten, the Public Health Agency of Sweden.
The first graph (below) compares Sweden’s mortality rate for COVID-19 to the U.S. mortality rate for the common flu. In the group of all ages younger than 60, the Swedish mortality rate of COVID-19 was less than 1/3rd of the American mortality rate for the common flu! And, unlike the U.S. common flu mortality rate in the 60-79 age group, the vast majority of Sweden’s COVID-19 deaths occurred in those older than 80!
The second graph (below) compares the mortality rates of COVID-19 in Sweden with that of the U.S. as of July 2020. The graph shows that the U.S. COVID-19 mortality rate for those younger than 39 was 0.58% – more than 1,230 times greater than the 0.00047% mortality rate in Sweden. In the age groups of 40-59 and 59-69, the U.S. death rate from COVID-19 was respectively 215 times and 211 times greater than that of Sweden. These vast differences can only be explained by the open and free society resulting from Sweden’s no lockdown policy, and that if you are healthy and reasonably cautious your chances of dying from COVID-19 are far less than dying from the common flu.
As for economic damage caused by COVID-19, Sweden has suffered a GDP drop of 8.6%. That looks bad until you remember the European Union’s entire GDP fell 12.1% in the same quarter. The fall in Swedish GDP can be mainly attributed to a contraction of commerce with the EU and global trading partners whose economies are suffering from their lockdowns. Nevertheless, as Tyler Durden of Zerohedge.com wrote on 29 July, “…every day for the past two weeks, Swedish company after Swedish company has beaten expectations. From telecoms equipment maker Ericsson to consumer appliances manufacturer Electrolux via lender Handelsbanken and lock maker Assa Abloy, Swedish companies have delivered profits well above what the market was expecting, even if in some cases that merely meant a less precipitous decline than analysts predicted.”
Additionally, a report about Sweden’s GDP from Capital Economics, a British business advisory firm, stated: “While Sweden has not been immune from COVID, despite its light-touch lockdown, we expect it to be the best of a very bad bunch this year.” The report adds that: “One possible reason why Sweden’s economy has weathered the pandemic fallout better than other Eurozone countries is that it has kept its primary schools open, allowing parents to continue working instead of taking time off to stay home with children.”
Every working parent of an American child knows that to be true, except for our teachers unions. For them, the COVID-19 school lockdowns represent an opportunity for extortion. On 3 August, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote: “…an alliance of teachers unions and progressive groups sponsored what they called a “national day of resistance” around the country listing their demands before returning to the classroom. They include:
- Support for our communities and families, including canceling rents and mortgages, a moratorium on evictions/foreclosures, providing direct cash assistance to those not able to work or who are unemployed, and other critical social needs
- Moratorium on new charter or voucher programs and standardized testing
- Massive infusion of federal money to support the reopening funded by taxing billionaires and Wall Street.”
American children, their parents, and our economy are hostages to the leftist ideology of our schoolteachers.
The best thing about the teacher unions’ blackmail is that it gives Americans a clear vision into the nature of those unions. They are allies of the political left and are teaching our children their views. The federal government’s reaction to their demands should be to give assistance to needy parents so they can afford to decide where to educate their children instead of paying blackmail to public school teacher unions.
From lockdowns to strikes by teachers, Sweden has shown us the way out of a desperate situation. Our economy has dropped almost 10% — or 33% on an annualized basis — the steepest decline in 70 years. That fall, on top of trillions of dollars in aid already paid to workers, businesses and unrelated interest groups favored by Congress (e.g. aid to the Kennedy Center?) and a trillion more to come, the way forward has already been proven to us and the world.
The solution is to end the dangerous and costly political polarization of the virus by terminating lockdowns and masks, and by opening schools, restaurants and small businesses. Reopen America to prosperity.