Sweden shows how to flatten the Wuhan virus curve
Seemingly a lifetime ago, the Democrat political class announced a never-before-tried approach to deal with a new infectious disease: America should briefly lock itself down, or as much of America as possible, to spare us the horrors of the next plague. At the same time, the Swedes looked at the same disease, said "meh," and proceeded to act normally. The difference in outcomes is striking.
In March, we first heard the concept of "bending the curve" for the Wuhan virus. The Democrat scientific and political classes had a novel proposal: Because there was a risk that hospitals could be overrun, we would shut America down for two weeks so that hospitals could line up their resources.
That was half a year ago. Once the lockdown was in place, blue-state governors abandoned the concept of "bending the curve" and, instead, embraced the illusory idea of zero cases. Everything they've done since then has been with the unstated premise that they could bring infections down to zero.
That's not what's happened. The moment these states lift the lockdown even slightly, the infections rise again as people who haven't already had the virus catch it for the first time. The governors (and the various local governments within the blue states) then panic and re-lock their states. Their economies are cratering, their education systems are collapsing, and people are getting deeply depressed.
The only exception to this lockdown dance in the blue states has been Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Those groups are free to protest, riot, and roam at will. Thus, even as blue-state governors have locked down constitutionally protected religious services, they won't say a word against tens, hundreds, and thousands of people gathering together in orgies of unconstitutional violence.
In contrast to America, there is a place in which the infection rate is zero, and that's not because it sealed its borders and locked everyone in his home. That place is Sweden.
To its credit, Sweden decided to ignore the experts and aim for herd immunity. Britain had initially intended to go this route. However, when Neil Ferguson, the man who has been wrong about every new infectious disease for decades, predicted millions dying, Britain backed off the idea and embraced lockdowns, too. Even though Ferguson eventually admitted that his Wuhan virus estimates were wrong, by then, governments at home and abroad were locked into their lockdowns.
But not little Sweden. Sebastian Rushworth, a doctor who works in a Stockholm emergency room, has written about the Swedish experiment:
Unlike other countries, Sweden never went in to complete lockdown. Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continued to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.
Admittedly, the virus walloped Sweden in March. The people who showed up in the E.R., no matter the reason they appeared (stomach aches, nosebleeds, etc.), tested positive for the virus. Only a few months later, though, everything has changed: no one is showing up in his E.R. with a positive test result. Sweden has gone from 100 deaths per day out of a population of 10 million to 5 deaths per day and dropping steadily.
There's a dose of hard realism in there, too, which is that many of those who died were bound to die soon anyway:
In total covid has killed under 6,000 people in a country of ten million. A country with an annual death rate of around 100,000 people. Considering that 70% of those who have died of covid are over 80 years old, quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway. That makes covid a mere blip in terms of its effect on mortality.
That sounds cold, but at least those who died in Sweden didn't have their governors herding them into old age homes that functioned like slaughterhouses, where they died alone, without family or friends nearby.
Essentially, Sweden looked at its choices: shut down the whole country and hope for a vaccination that may never come or may not be effective. Meanwhile, the economy will collapse, and people's lives will be destroyed. Alternatively, recognize that the Wuhan virus is not the Black Death, and get on with life.
There's still time for the crazy blue states to make that choice, but they don't want to. The fact is, all this craziness was never about the disease. Once the initial two-week period for a temporary lockdown passed, the blue panic was always about making Trump unelectable for a second term. (This is also true for the Democrats' rigid refusal to accept that we have a mostly effective cure in hydroxychloroquine.) For that crude calculation alone, Democrats deserve to lose every single election in America.
Image: Storkyrkobrinken, Stockholm, by Jürgen Howaldt, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany.