Sweden’s Human Sacrifice of 3,300 Has Not Worked

Guest Columnist

Let’s get this out of the way quickly. In late March when every other country in Europe was in lockdown, Sweden was the outlier. Was it to appease the God that is the national economy?

To hell with closing the schools. To hell with closing the restaurants and shops and gyms.

Let Freedom reign!

After all, Sweden, with less income inequality than the US, has an excellent national health care system that ranks number 3 in the world. (The US ranks a dismal 44.) The most striking health differences with the US are the low levels of obesity and diabetes in Sweden.

In 2020 Sweden had a GDP per capita of $51,241, not far behind the US.

But even with all these advantages Sweden’s experimental battle to create herd immunity against Covid19 has not worked. The cost has been 3,300 excess pandemic deaths over the same period (March 16—May 3) as last year. Neighboring Scandinavian countries that did lock down fared much better:  Denmark had 300 excess deaths, Norway and Finland under 100 each, according to the New York Times. Iceland’s death toll after a lockdown is 11 times lower than the current figures in Sweden.

Ironically, Sweden —  for decades vilified by US Republicans and conservatives for its socialized health care, progressive tax system and liberal social policies — is now being hailed as the bastion of freedom and individual liberty by conservative commentators. Conservative lockdown protestors have been recently chanting “Be more like Sweden.”

Rand Paul hailed Sweden’s light touch in a Senate hearing this week.

It’s not that the Swedish people were irresponsible. Many followed social distancing, and many, especially older people, stayed home voluntarily.

If you are old, stay home.

If not, sky’s the limit.

In view of the nearly 3000 excess deaths over its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden is rethinking its policies. Even President Trump tweeted, “Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown.”

Did Sweden’s approach save its economy? Not much. Its Central Bank projects a  GDP downturn of 10% about the same rate as its European counterparts.

What does this all mean for Florida and Longboat Key?

First, we must recognize — as they say to beginning medical students — half of what you will learn will be dead wrong in five years. In the beginning, the CDC was telling us not to wear masks. Then they told us to wear masks. A month ago the doctors told us to wear gloves, now they are telling us not to wear gloves. They told us children were immune. Now it appears that hundreds of children are facing a new related infection. What can we believe?

Not a whole lot.

All the data from the CDC and the Florida Health Department is flawed. The Health Department death toll is 10% lower than the figures from the State Medical Examiners.The most reliable data comes from the dead bodies, excess deaths this year, versus the same period last year. By this measure, there have been more than 1800 excess deaths in Florida than have been reported, as Covid19 deaths, according to a Harvard study.

Should we be reopening? Absolutely. But don’t be convinced that it will help the economy much. We are still going into a Recession/Depression.

Open the beaches with targeted social distancing. But be flexible and quick. If crowds gather, shut them down again. Have police or the national guard, patrol heavily. The biggest dangers involve indoor groupings.  Let restaurants take over the sidewalks and half the streets and fill them with outdoor tables this summer.. Stores and banks should limit the number of customers. Open the tennis counts, not just to singles play, but use different balls and shut the water fountains.

We can’t just let everyone do what they want and be convinced that people will do the right thing.

Each situation, each population, each town should be treated differently. One size does not fit all. In Longboat Key, we have been lucky, but we are especially vulnerable with our older population. Most residents are responsible.  Masks should be mandated in Publix, CVS and other stores, by customers and employees alike. This is what’s happening in other wealthy resort communities.

We should not be lulled into complacency, or else we will suffer the same excess death toll levels as Sweden. Until we have widespread, quick result testing and contact tracing and a vaccine is developed, this pandemic is going to hang around for years in waves. We need to hire 300,000 contract tracers — a Health Force of disease detectives.  “There is a huge risk of …a second wave  .. even multiple waves.”  Dr. Manuel Gordillo of Sarasota Memorial told the Herald Tribune,

Let dogs out, but keep them on a short leash.

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2 Responses for “Sweden’s Human Sacrifice of 3,300 Has Not Worked”

  1. An American says:

    3,300 deaths in Sweden? Hell, they killed 4,300+ just in NY nursing homes. Governor’s directive, I believe. Great state of New York.

  2. Mainland Resident says:

    This, from the man who predicted 500 or more deaths on Longboat Key alone and who suggested the island be blocked off from the mainland. Let’s see…. how many passed away on LBK? Yes, let’s have Marshall law everywhere – that’s what you and your cohorts want, ultimately. Let the dogs out – boy does that say everything about how you view your fellow man, no – fellow American. What a fearful, elitist snob you are. The dogs can bite, sir.

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