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Did Sweden get Covid wrong? Johan Giesecke, the country's former state epidemiologist, assesses a year of pandemic

“I think I got most of the things right, actually.” (Mikael Sjoberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I think I got most of the things right, actually.” (Mikael Sjoberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


April 16, 2021   7 mins

This time a year ago, the discussion around Covid changed. In an interview with UnHerd, Johan Giesecke, advisor to the Director General of the WHO, former Chief Scientist of the EU Centre for Disease Control, and former state epidemiologist of Sweden came out forcefully against lockdowns. The world was shutting down and he was the first voice to speak out so bluntly early in the pandemic.

He contended that the difference in infection and death rates between countries would come out in the wash, regardless of their lockdown policies and promised to return in a year’s time to review the evidence.

 

Watch Johan Giesecke’s brand new interview above
Today, he returns to UnHerd — and with typical Swedish punctuality he’s a day early. His manner is just as gruff as before, but somewhat more cautious this time around, after a year-long fight which has become, in Sweden, just as political and personal as it has in the UK and America. The Swedish media has not spared the retired professor any criticism.

But he makes no bones about his mistakes. When I remind him of his prediction that countries would end up with similar results after a year, he readily concedes he was mistaken. “One of the things I got wrong a year ago is the rate of spread of this disease. I thought it would spread quicker. And I also thought it would be more similar in different countries. We can see now that there are big differences in the rates of spread in between countries. It may have to do with lockdown, it may have to do with cultural things in these countries. But there is a big difference between countries.”

The difference that is most commonly cited in the ‘case for the prosecution’ against the Swedish strategy is the following chart showing Sweden’s deaths per million dramatically exceeding its neighbouring Scandinavian countries. This is generally considered solid proof that the Swedish strategy failed.

Johan Giesecke disagrees: “The differences between Sweden and its neighbours are much bigger than people realise from the outside — different systems, different cultural traditions…If you compare Sweden to other European countries [such as the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium] it’s the other way round. On the ranking of excess mortality, Sweden is somewhere in the middle or below the middle of European countries. So I think it’s really Norway and Finland that are the outliers more than Sweden.”

Explaining what he means by cultural differences, he mentions among other factors that “they’re more sparsely populated. There are less people per square kilometre in these two countries. There are also much fewer people who  were born outside Europe living in these two countries.”

So, crucially, if Sweden had instituted a hard lockdown and shut the border earlier, would its death rate have been closer to its Nordic neighbours? “Maybe not,” he says, “I think we would still have more deaths than they have.”

He is also fairly dismissive of charts currently showing that Sweden has the highest level of infection in Europe:

“I don’t think you should compare countries now, while we are still in the pandemic. You should wait until the pandemic has receded before we start comparing countries. If you did that chart a month ago it would be very different. And a month from now? I don’t know but it would be very different. These snapshots may not show the whole truth.”



Compared to the UK, Sweden ranks 23 in the world in terms of Covid deaths per million, and the UK ranks 11 —so on the most important measure of all, Sweden has had a better result. In fact, as the above chart shows there are strikingly similar patterns of deaths over the past 12 months in the two countries.

“They’re very similar,” says Gieseke, “And yet one of the countries has had three severe lockdowns and the other has only had voluntary or mostly voluntary measures. That tells us something I think.”

What does it tell us?

“That lockdowns may not be a very useful tool in the long run.”

Watch the original interview
Did Sweden get Covid wrong?

By UnHerd

In our first interview, the Professor speculated that the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) could be as low as 0.1% and that over 50% of people would shortly be revealed to have already had the virus once antibody testing became widespread.

We now know that the IFR for countries like the UK and Sweden is between 0.5% and 0.9% and that antibody testing has persistently revealed disappointingly small prevalence. Even now, after tens of millions of people have had Covid in the UK and a further 32 million have been vaccinated, antibodies are only estimated to be present in 55% of people.

“Two things I really got wrong (there are probably more things, but two big things). One is that the vaccine came so fast. I had no idea that we would have a vaccine within a year… The other thing is the rate of spread — I overestimated it, I thought it would spread much faster than it did.”

Giesecke was critical, last year, of Prof Neil Ferguson’s forecasts of up to 510,000 deaths in the UK from an unmitigated epidemic, 250,000 from a mitigated epidemic and as few as 20,000 with a suppression strategy. But with over 130,000 deaths in the UK, I ask, Ferguson’s numbers don’t look so wrong any more, do they?

“You may be right,” he concedes. “There is quite a difference between half a million and 130,000 — but, yep.” Put together, I suggest, these errors — a wrong estimate of the fatalities, the wrong percentage of people infected and an overly pessimistic expectation of the vaccine roll out — add up to getting the overall picture very wrong. So does that mean that his rejection of lockdowns at that stage was wrong, too?

“No. Sweden has had rather severe restrictions, but we based them on voluntary participation by the inhabitants instead of using laws and police. A lot of people in the world seem to think that Sweden did nothing about the Covid pandemic. That’s wrong. The entire population changed their way of living and it had profound effects on daily life for millions of Swedes, even though you weren’t fined if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. So I would still advocate the Swedish model, even knowing all that.”

Although he concedes that some lives may have been saved, he believes that the successes of the Swedish approach over the past year should be considered in the balance:

“Look at the good things with the Swedish system…. One is the schools: we are not destroying the future for classes of children. Another is that Sweden kept to its international agreements — for example in the EU you are not supposed to close your borders with other countries, but that has happened in several countries in Europe. We have made it possible for small businesses like cafes or bicycle shops to survive the pandemic. We have kept democracy. We have trusted people. I think there are a number of benefits from not having a severe lockdown and more of them will come as we do research on this in the future.”

A year ago, Giesecke predicted that inhabitants of a democracy would swiftly tire of lockdown, and that long-term house arrest was not a viable option. But as it turned out, the policy remained highly popular among the majority across Europe for most of the period.

“People were willing to give up more freedom than I thought they would. It worries me — there are many democratic rules and freedoms that have been curtailed. I think that may be one of the dangerous results of this pandemic.”

He regrets the recent legislation in Sweden that makes lockdowns constitutionally possible for the future. “There is a new law — a pandemic law — which gives the Government more power than it had before, and curtails part of the freedom of the Swedish population… It’s shifted power away from parliament to some extent, which is a new thing in Sweden at least in peacetime.”

Looking to the future, Giesecke can see various scenarios playing out:

“The virus may mutate so it becomes less pathogenic than it is now. It may be that it comes back in a new shape every autumn. And it may be that we’ll all have to take a new coronavaccine every year, tailored for that strain. But it is here to stay — we won’t get rid of it.”

Which is not to say the pandemic heralds the beginning of a “new normal”, or is part of a “great reset”. In fact, he is confident that the old normal will return. Once vaccinated, he believes people should return to normal:

“If you are vaccinated with two doses and wait the right number of weeks, then… you should be able to live like you did before the pandemic. This disease is sometimes seen as something supernatural, mystical, mythical — but it’s a viral disease like all other diseases. More dangerous than some of them, but it’s not unique, Covid. So a proper vaccine used correctly protects you and means that you don’t infect other people as well…. No vaccine is 100% effective, but we don’t have this discussion about any other vaccine.”

He has been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab, and would be happy for  everyone to take it: “If we really want to get down to small numbers — we won’t eradicate it, but to small numbers — then I think even children should be vaccinated… I can’t see why not.”

Giesecke had a long and prestigious career at the top of international medicine. Does he regret joining the debate so publicly, and becoming such a controversial figure?

“I hope I have done some useful things for the Swedish population. If it has been useful for me or not… the discussion in Sweden has been very politicised and very divisive.”

He believes that history will judge him kindly.

“I think I got most of the things right, actually.”


Freddie Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.

freddiesayers

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Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago

(As an aside, following the comments on UnHerd and elsewhere I have wavered on the issue of lockdowns – I have not been a person who has decided on one way and stuck to my decision through thick and thin. I have tried to be open to arguments from either side).
I have been involved in statistics and analysis of data for the whole of my life and I know that you can prove anything you want to prove. You can select particular figures, draw a couple of graphs, expand the scales to make the graphs look dramatic and then you have an opinion which seems to be backed up with facts. Then you can make money by publishing your findings.
All of the data shown above need to be altered to take account of at least five other facts and probably more:
1) Density of population. 2) Age of population. 3) Fitness of population (whatever that means but start with obesity and diabetes). 4) Do people live in extended family groups. 5) How doctors have been instructed to handle death certificates.
These are not minor issues. You can change the figures dramatically by including the five issues.
But if you are against lockdowns you will choose the figures which support your views. If the site (UnHerd) is generally against lockdowns, the daily articles will reflect this too.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Or you look at all cause mortality (intelligently)

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago

Something sadly missing from much of the debate – maybe Unherd will heed the cry.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Exactly.

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Spot on Chris.
One could also look at (1) death rate from previous years – for dry tinder impact (2) international flight patterns (3) different international Covid death accounting methods (4) climate (5) GDP per capita.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

That ‘dry tinder’ hypothesis so expertly advocated by Ivor Cummings has been completely demolished – at least when used as he did to advocate no winter lockdown this year. He asserted that there would be no second wave of serious illness and that all the weak people – the dry tinder had already died. He was UTTERLY WRONG. The second wave was much worse in most places last winter, partly because the disease mutated into a more infectious variant, and partly because he vastly over estimated how many people had protection from the first wave of infection.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

I must say I didn’t hear this. I heard dry tinder being the 2019 low death year in many European countries accounting for more deaths in 2020.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Talking about experts getting it wrong: Swedish epidemiologists Giesecke and Tegnell believed herd immunity would arrive quickly. In a Lancet article, Giesecke claimed about 21% of residents of Stockholm county had already been infected by the end of April; Tegnell predicted 40% of them would have antibodies by the end of May. When initial studies showed the number was actually about 6% in late May.NOV 3 2020. “We have a very serious situation,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven warned, saying the virus was “going in the wrong direction”. A bit like saying trains have had to be cancelled because of the wrong kind of snow.

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Hi Tom. Nobody is right about everything, and I think his contribution was interesting. Statistically the ‘dry tinder’ effect is real – and very apparent if you look at Euromomo. This has logic. If you have a year of low excess deaths where less people die than you might expect, it is very likely that the situation will be reversed the following year. The opposite is also true. You can see this in the UK stats quite clearly. Maybe as much as a 0.2% swing in % death rate see 2015 vs 2016 and 2018 vs 2019 for example.
2015 = 0.93%, 2016 = 0.91%, 2017 = 0.92%, 2018 = 0.93%, 2019 = 0.91%, 2020 = 1.01%
My point was not to sing the praises of Cummings per se. I think he was missing the pub more than anything! But rather to add to Chris’s excellent list of factors which might help us explain why Covid death rates vary by country and to try to move the debate away from the intellectually lazy ‘if only we’d locked down 1 or 2 weeks earlier’ or ‘we should have had a circuit breaker’ type assertions which don’t get us very far.

Last edited 3 years ago by TIM HUTCHENCE
Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

Reversion to the mean. If excess deaths are random over time, as the term implies, then they vary around an average or mean.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

It was bio-engineered to attack Westerners and South America, it was used to self destroy our economy by our Lefty Politicos and MSM to achieve what they want, the destruction of the middle classes and all to be poor, as poverty is the thing which will make the Labour/Democrats be in power for ever. It is 1984, under the guise of saving granny the young have had their education destroyed, the young their jobs gone, the middle class their pensions lost, the depression coming will be worse than any the world has seen. This was not to save granny, it was TO DESTROY YOU!

Peter Turner
Peter Turner
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Cui bono?
Who really benefits from this? What is it that they gain which they don’t have now?
What’s in it for them?
In other words, is what you claim actually true, or just a wild conspiracy theory?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Turner

I have not met many conspiracy theories I have not liked, but then I believe the world is run by Global Elites who wish to return to a sort of Feudalism. (and/or possibly lizards)

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Turner

Good question.
China lied to its own people in January , claiming the virus was not infectious. Then it silenced doctors in Wuhan from telling the truth about the virus and Chinese Communist Party officials then ordered the destruction of laboratory samples, while insisting there was no contagion. (The Sunday Times Nov 15 2020).
 Following all this the CCP pressurised the WHO into agreeing it was not a dangerous epidemic. Knowing all this it allowed thousands of Chinese to return after the New Year to work and study in Europe and elsewhere, thus unleashing a global epidemic.
Whether this was all by accident or design, you have to ask yourselves this: Who profits?
The economies of the Western world are seriously damaged, confidence in governments shaken, there’s social instability, health systems at breaking point in many countries and there have been thousands of unavoidable deaths. And all without one bullet having been fired.
Sun Tzu the Chinese general, military strategist, author of The Art of War, would have been impressed. 

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  TIM HUTCHENCE

I don’t think it applies. How do you compare this year to previous years? The shutdown of “non essential” hospital care. Not allowing families in to help care for dementia patients and the quality of healthcare in nursing homes under these conditions. This has never happened before. Nobody really knows what went on there… and what is still going on in a lot of places.

TIM HUTCHENCE
TIM HUTCHENCE
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

You don’t think what applies?

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Well said. One other important variable is the % of the population with dark skin (for mid to high latitude countries). Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in dark skinned people at these latitudes (London, NYC) and at the same time strongly correlated with CV19 outcomes.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

I am persuaded that there might be something in this. Places in Europe with serious levels of Vit D deficiency such as Italy and Portugal did very badly. It is counter intuitive that such places should have this deficiency, but people there avoid exposure to sunlight.
Anyway – I always take 20ug of vitamin D per day between October and late April. I never even had a cold since I started this regime four years ago and I was certainly exposed to Sars-Covid-2 at least once since I spent an hour in a room with someone who had it. I am 70, by the way and didn’t want the damned thing.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Doesn’t work for everyone. I started taking 1,000 units of vitamin D daily from 2012 to ensure my cancer didn’t return. It didn’t stop me from having nasty chest infections every year from then on, until last year. I was dreading another one or two chest infections with the Wuhan virus circulating, particularly as I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis in January 2020. I attribute avoiding doing so last year to the precautions I took to prevent Covid-19 infections. Always wearing a mask in public, wearing DIY latex gloves, never taking them off when touching supermarket baskets/trolleys self service screen and card readers and wiping down products with disinfectant at home. I was amazed for the first time in 7 to 8 years I didn’t get a chest infection or cold.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Had you put your gloved hands to your face……you would have gotten an infection. Gloves are for the birds……washing your hands is not.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Which is why I didn’t do it.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

Correct. It’s not rocket science, but the WHO and CDC know this already.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

yawn… Florida and California with its endless sun and people loving the sun did the same as the people in the North.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

You clearly aren’t comparing NY to FL if you imagine that. Nature’s sun helps but you must go outside.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Without a doubt Vitamin D deficiency has played a huge part. And how many medics are prescribing it? Governments?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You can also change the figures by categorizing those who died WITH covid vs those who died FROM covid. The CDC in the US said the former was more than 90% of the deaths, and it was the few agency pronouncements that the media here ignored. Because it’s hard to scare people that way. The other points you cite also lend a measure of sorely-needed context. Way too many people act as if the only possible choices are eternal masking and lockdowns, or death.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

What’s the differnce ?
If you hadn’t caught Covid you wouldn’t have become a death statistic at that particular time point.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

How many bods does the NHS kill every year through medical negligence?
I would guess it is considerably more than the Police do.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
3 years ago

The NHS kills many, many more people than the police and I wouldn’t even like to put a figure on it, although in fairness, they deal with more people. Police average 40-50 deaths per year in the UK, most of which are in custody (usually of natural causes or drug/alcohol abuse) or in pursuits. The real difference is that a death involving police will result in intense investigation and a hunt for an individual to ‘blame’, who will face prosecution and prison if they’ve made a mistake, while a death in hospital (or through lack of treatment) just results in a shrug and few repercussions for the staff.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Mel Bass

Thank you.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Most Independent NoN hysterical Scientists reckon 5% of 127,500 deaths attributed to SARS2 is nearer 6,750 !! Trashing the economy , lib-dems,Labour ,SNP,Greens have been complicit in pushing Biometric iD Cards ,(Similar to Chinese Social credit Cards) these Can Stop you Accessing your Own Bank,Building Society Account/s ,Stop You Travelling,Purchasing Cinema,Theatre,Sports or Food shopping for example..See Paul Joseph Watson on Youtube , before they Cancel it..Not much of a legacy to leave to younger generation,but they are still obsessed by ”Climate change ”rubbish??.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You are of course correct that these malpractices in statistics could be done, but only by charlatans. I don’t think that there has been any distortion carried out by the official data bodies in the UK such s the NHS and the ONS. In any sphere of life malpractice can occur. The question we need to ask fairly (as you say) is ‘Did it happen?’
The difference between the approach you advocate here and what many contributors to these pages do, is that they simply deny that anything much happened and claim we have had some kind of flu like illness and a vast government conspiracy across the world to imprison people for no reason. Often these claims are made in association with insane conspiracy theories. Utter rot. Boris is squirming with horror at every restriction and has been berated for acting too late to restrict and too early to release. There was good reason to require less mixing. It matters hugely that well over a hundred thousand people were killed earlier than need be. The callous dismissal of the death of older people I regularly see here is utterly contemptible.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You don’t need all that guff. All you need to do is scrutinize the whole overall (total) annual mortality rate for your country over the last ten years and compare it to 2020.. Any “excess” deaths will immediately show up if what they are telling us is true (but it didn’t show any excess.) We’ve been lied to.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Nope.
Deaths are very country specific because of the variations in demographics, general disease burden, poverty, capabilities and capacity of the healthcare system etc. etc.
So it is only valid to compare one country with itself year on year (adjusting for the changes in size of the population and sometimes the age distribution)
No lies. You just have to be willing to take the time to educate yourself re: confounders / basic stats / variations in health care and what differences actually impacts on mortality / effects of public health measures / the confounders around poverty ….. if you kept at this long enough you could even end up as an epidemiologist.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

You justify it, your 5 factors are pure justification and invented criteria. China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, 3 deaths per million, West 2000 deaths per million. Take your 5 criteria and stuff them down the toilet. You have been conned. You allowed the future of the West to be destroyed with your silly go along ways. In USA where children lost a year of school – 1/3 students NEVER even checked into on line classes and simply disappeared!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So now you have a 5th year kid who was doing really bad, he now should be entering 7th year but now has forgotten his 5 th year work by missing 100% of his 6 th year, and needs to re-do his 5 th year!! Wile he should be in his 7th!!!!!!!!!!

So basically he is unemployable as he will NEVER catch up!, and making up that will take tens of thousands of school budget, and where will the upcoming kids sit in classes filled with these poor students having to make up two years??????

Then the money printing is about to destroy the economy – an 80% market crash is coming!!! One which will make the great depression seem like nothing!!!!! (google Dalio, Dent, Peter Schiff, on youtube)

Take your vacillating 5 points and realist your sheep like going along has destroyed the world. You did not even save granny, but you destroyed the children!!!!

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The painful lessons of past epidemics like MERS and Sars paved the way for Taiwan’s success in fighting this virus. As a result, its residents are acutely aware of disease-fighting habits like hand washing and universal mask wearing.
Other factors include closing the borders early, rigorous contact tracing and technology-enforced quarantine.
“Taiwan is the only major economy that has so far been able to keep community transmission of Covid eliminated,” said Dr Peter Collignon, an infectious disease physician and professor at the Australian National University Medical School, last year.
S Korea, with its previous experience of the Mers and SARS contagion reacted immediately in January by implementing lockdown, requiring facemasks to be worn
and testing. Number of deaths in the whole country by the end of October 300! 
Many South Koreans, Japanese, Singaporeans and Chinese wear face masks as a matter of course (as well as practice good personal hygiene) following government campaigns in the wake of outbreaks of MERS since 2012 or SARS from 2002.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

No, it is ‘Dark Matter Immunity’. East Asians just do not die of it.

Now Whitley and his 5 points really annoy my because:
1) The Chinese knew we were fat
2) knew we were diabetic
3) knew were old

4) Knew we would not behave well (We behaved 1000 times better than I had expected! Sheep Like even! I never wore a mask, I refused, I refused to lock down – but then I am a mid 60s, very rough looking, tradesman with wild hair and a full facial hair, crazy look, and the powers left me alone – who would have harassed a normal person.)

In other words if Chris Whitley’s 5 points mattered, then the Chinese knew that, and thus the virus was able to have 2000/million deaths attributed in the West to their 3. The 5 points just PROVE it was targeted at us!

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

East Asiasn just do not die of it. What’s your proof?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Worldometers USA 1746, India 127, UK 1867, China 3, Brazil 1726, Cambodia 2, France 1538, Japan 76, Italy 1923, Taiwan 45, Mexico 1628, Vietnam, 0.4, Portugal 1665, Thailand 1, Slovakia, 2022, Singapore 5
above are deaths per million

Starting to sense a pattern yet?

Africa is at the very low side too

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

So the virus is racist!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Or a Bio-weapon perhaps?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I think it is the tip of the iceberg. You need to look at health care availability, quality of nursing home care, denial of treatment. People are assuming all these old frail people died of covid. Did they? Why didn’t they die in Norway? What is the quality of care in Norway? What is the quality of care in the UK? All those empty hospital beds… What really happened? Carl Heneghan pointing out people dying of dehydration in care homes. How far does that go?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Could you give me sources? I’m interested in what you have to say.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Dehydration probably contributed to my Mother’s death. For the last 18 hours she was essentially delirious. She was offered water by me / the staff in the care home every 30 mins. on the button but just batted the bottle and straw away with enough force to cover my arm with bruises.
She had, thankfully signed an advanced directive prohibiting any intervention. Her choice and probably the choice of lots of other bods in the same position.
Carl Heneghan telling half the story … again.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Don’t remember where I came across this, but I’m sure it will interest a few people here. As one Swedish scientist said: “It’s a mad experiment involving 10 milion people”.
There’s no evidence for COVID-19 herd immunity – it’s pure speculation that it will be effective. The problem with generating herd immunity via infection is that you must inevitably hospitalise and kill many people to achieve 60% of the population infected. No other country is trying this approach – too risky.
Anybody know the source?
 

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

That multi-variate analysis has yet to be done and must by done. Multiple teams need to be involved and the variants need to be quite public. The future pandemics need not rely on opinions.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

It’s also given a small taste of how many citizens appear very comfortable with a police state.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

99% will do as they are told as the MSM is Pavlov, and you the conditioned sheep. They ring the bell and you all begin salavating, they clap their hands and you all hide under your beds.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

And the results quite disturbing. But we have been loosing the notion of self-determination for a long time and with that the ability to govern ourselves. People who refuse to assert their rights will result in control by others.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This part is truly terrifying.

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago

Although I am pro vaccination in general and have been vaccinated, I am sceptical about vaccinating children and people in some parts of the developing world.
It is a long established principle of bioethics that we should not treat person A for the benefit of person B, particularly if the balance of risk for person A is negative.
Children are no real risk from COVID so treating them is questionable. Note: this is not my point, it has already been raised by bioethicists.
The same point applies to many parts of the developing world. Nigeria has reported 2000 deaths. This is a country with c.100k deaths from malaria a year. It isn’t ethical to divert resources to COVID vaccination in Nigeria.
The idea that everyone in the world must be vaccinated to suppress variants is becoming a kind of utilitarian mania that ignores all other considerations.

Al Johnson
Al Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Cassian Young

Yes, it’s entirely unethical to vaccinate children. Plus it’s an experimental gene therapy rather than a vaccine. Yes it provides immunity for old people and may benefit them, but for younger people there may be serious long term side effects.

Deaths from malaria, cancer, heart disease, dementia etc don’t count any more. The only disease that counts and that causes tragic deaths is Covid. Sinister.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Johnson

It’s considered unethical to vaccinate children where they are at more risk from the vaccine than from the condition the vaccine prevents. It’s perfectly right and proper to vaccinate children against conditions such as Mumps, Measles and Rubella, for example – on balance the MMR jab is good for the child being vaccinated and for wider society. There may be unusually vulnerable kids (or adults) who should not be vaccinated, but for the most part, vaccination is a right and proper thing.

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Although the risks from the AZ vaccine are very low, they are actually higher the benefits to children, which approximate to zero.
I would link to the academic source of this claim but that apparently isn’t allowed here.

Last edited 3 years ago by Cassian Young
Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

I could see an argument for vaccinating children eventually with vaccines that have been studied for longer periods of time and fully gone through a typical approval process.
I understand that deaths and hospitalizations of children from/involving COVID aren’t zero, but they’re very low. I’m not sure how you’d get confidence that vaccines for children are a net benefit for them on anything like the same timeline that we’ve used in approving COVID vaccines for adults.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Cassian Young

….and you never even touched on “informed consent”

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Yes, I believe that Macron, Merkel and Johnson recently announced that we need to vaccinate the developing world for the developed world to be safe. Why would anyone in Nigeria consent to be vaccinated with only 2000 deaths? Only 50% of the French planned to get vaccinated last year and they were living under lockdown.

Last edited 3 years ago by Cassian Young
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

In the UK parental responsibility includes the right of parents to consent to treatment on behalf of a child when the child is unable to provide valid consent for himself or herself, provided the treatment is in the interests of the child.
The Children Act 1989 outlines who has parental responsibility
All people aged 16 and over are presumed in law to have the capacity to consent to treatment unless there is evidence to the contrary.
If the child is deemed not legally competent, consent will need to be obtained from someone with parental responsibility, unless it is an emergency.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago

Refreshing to see an interview holding someone accountable in such an open and honest way. A credit to both participants and a good advert for Unherd.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Price

Unherd has pretty much become on the side of Mainstream. I do not know if it is to avoid being closed down by youtube and the other evil social media, or merely because they are MSM, so suffer from the same forces which has made MSM the enemy of the people, but Unherd is not the rebel it was, more the ‘lets take all in consideration, so find no truths are real, as all has a valid point to be made’.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Just look at two things: Sweden’s all cause mortality and the much smaller harms to the country and the measures are vindicated.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

Except the Swedes, from the King down, don’t see it that way.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Because they are responding the same way as main stream media – emotionally and illogically. If they lived in a hard lockdown country in some sort of parallel experiment they would swiftly realize how good they have got it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
3 years ago

The polls in Sweden say differently!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Yea, well the Swedes are trying to destroy themselves through inappropriate immigration, so one may take anything they say about their own well-being with a grain of salt.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

The King is a moron of French descent. QED.

Laura Catherine
Laura Catherine
3 years ago

It’s clear from the graph above that the pattern of COVID deaths in the UK and Sweden was basically the same, except that Sweden’s death rate was lower. Clearly that does not support the narrative that the lockdowns were the thing that made the difference, brought infection rates down etc. and that without them we would have had a catastrophic situation. There are clearly other things going on which affected both countries at the same times, e.g. the seasonal influence, perhaps the affect of the new strains etc. I am not saying that Sweden got everything right. A high proportion of their deaths were in care homes which, like ours, could have been better protected (it is unlikely that lockdowns, closing schools etc. would have made much difference to that). But the data above in no way justifies the hundreds of billions the lockdowns cost us. The pattern in all likelihood would have been the same i.e. decreasing in summer etc. There is no sense to the Sweden bashing. No evidence at all that lockdowns would have achieved a significantly better outcome. And it is clear to see they have not suffered the same amount of collateral damage as we have in the UK.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago

Sweden was the poster child for irresponsible behavior. Their inability to join the frightened hysteria and own it like the remainder of the lemmings drew attention from the bio pharma and health security apparatus. Consider this: one of the leading orgs in this event has been John Hopkins university and their illustrious center for “Health Security” . Those last two words should tell you a lot of the direction we are heading . An unwilling participant in a vaccine or “health” event will be classified as a bioterrorist . There are some particularly unpleasant human beings in the security and military spheres of influence that have big involvement in these types of affairs.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

The two graphs you mention may not demonstrate that lockdown makes a difference.
What does demonstrate the difference, is the huge drop in case numbers when lockdown is introduced, and the increase which follows relaxation in the cases where (a) the pathogen is still relatively common in the population, with frequent new cases, and (b) the test, trace and isolate system is not doing its job, and (c) there is insufficient vaccine-based or other immunity, and (d) new cases and new variants are being imported without effective testing or quarantine.
Lockdown is a cost of failure of less drastic measures – we only needed it in the UK because we let Covid get out of control.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

What you are stating is simply not true. Cases were already dropping when lockdowns were introduced, or they continued to rise after lockdowns. This has even been proven when looking at movements of people…. the digital world being what it is.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

Rubbish,lies hysteria, Lockdowns The first two produced Spikes. 1) Warm weather & vaccination appear to have stopped worst of SARS2 2) until uK reverts to having isolation hospitals ( in 1940-70 called TB hospitals) 4.7million( &Tories lead Labour by 15% !) )on Waiting li. Cancer patients etc..st will Kill More than SARS2 ever does.!!.Rural areas of Uk mostly had lower infection rates,another reason for Stopping Vulture Capital developments?.Where will uK grow its food,40% imported, 55% Exported?..

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago

Swedish epidemiologists Giesecke and Tegnell believed herd immunity would arrive quickly. In a Lancet article, Giesecke claimed about 21% of residents of Stockholm county had already been infected by the end of April; Tegnell predicted 40% of them would have antibodies by the end of May. When initial studies showed the number was actually about 6% in late May.NOV 3 2020. “We have a very serious situation,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven warned, saying the virus was “going in the wrong direction”. A bit like saying trains have had to be cancelled because of the wrong kind of snow.
Sept. 2020: Sweden’s cases were rising again, and both Finland’s and Norway’s cases per population remained lower than Sweden’s.
By September 24 the strategy had clearly failed and Tegnell was talking about introducing lockdowns and use of face masks. All of which is current Swedish Health Authority policy.
They have lockdowns and are advised to wear masks and take other precautions.
Had Tegnell’s herd immunity strategy worked there would have been no need for the national Covid-19 vaccination programme introduced too late this year.
My sister-in-law in Sweden was relieved to have her first jab last week. One of her children (50) and two grand children were infected with the virus two months ago.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Everything is cases and deaths, never about the inherent trade-offs that come with draconian measures vs. less strict tactics. Some people hate the idea of trade-offs in general, but nothing happens in a vacuum. There are already studies predicting up to a million deaths in the US because of the lockdowns, not the virus. This also occurred after the great recession, because economic harm has this nasty habit of manifesting as harm to health.
It’s something that makes the debate a bit insulting to the term debate. The entire focus is on reducing risk as if no consequences will arise. That’s not how it works. Every action causes a reaction, and the reaction can at times be worse.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You don’t have to commit the perfect crime; just be in charge of the investigation that follows . The puppet masters will win with their appropriate narrative and army of fact checkers. The bewildered herd will just keep bleating…

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  dermot wilson

I am Willing to risk Room 101…Mr O’brien, there mUST be hope in the proles?..

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Meanwhile, of course, it was reported that the NHS waiting list has now grown to 4.5m for both essential and non-essential operations, its highest ever number since records began fourteen years ago, with cancer patients particularly hardest hit for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately #staysafe for them wasn’t much of an option in their parlous circumstances.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Cancer cures Covid.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

Only in the sense that Covid cures stupidity.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Hence why their almost flat all cause mortality stats are so instructive. What we do expect though is that not all countries will yield the same sort of evidence from all cause mortality – precisely because of lockdowns and project fear. In South Africa, TB and HIV programs have been affected which immediately impacts death figures. And this excludes extra deaths through cardiac events and the like. Extra deaths through lack of regular screenings soon to be added.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

It’s too glib to just focus on mortality. The problem for health services is that Covid frequently takes weeks of resource-intensive hospital care before the patient either dies or recovers. Not to mention long Covid, which is definitely a thing.
It’s not possible to provide normal screening, cancer treatments and so on while hospitals are bursting at the seams with highly infectious Covid patients. Unless you are proposing Covid patients should be left to die at home while elective treatments proceed as normal.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago

…while hospitals are bursting at the seams with highly infectious Covid patients.
“wards” not “hospitals”: constantly fewer beds available over last few decades whilst population grows; very high staff absences due to T&T etc, isolated wards with isolation measures (beds spread out etc), homes etc not wanting COVID patients back so abnormal ‘bed-blocking load’ and many other reasons.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

It is not glib, it is pragmatic and cuts out most of the bluster.
In your example, the people dying for whatever reason including overrun health services will be picked up in excess mortality. As for the reference to long Covid, I don’t see why that or any other illness should be used as a reason to lock down society or fudge statistics.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Lockdowns have not been proven to have stopped transmission of disease – witness Covid for goodness sake. Did lockdown stop the epidemic curves? No it did not – they rose and fell as they have always done over time. Look at timings of interventions on the curves – they made no difference. As for flu, it has been posited that it was beaten out by the dominant virus.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Is it just coincidence that hospital admissions and mortality rates tend to peak 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 weeks respectively after severe restrictions are imposed?

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

I thought that’s why they used to have fever hospitals, and built the Nightingales, which they never used. Would it really have been so hard to segregate patients?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Some of the Nightingales were used but not for their original purpose as over-spill facilities. When they were created it was as a response to what was happening in Italy at the time – hospitals being unable to cope and there being nowhere to put patients. Hospitals in the UK coped, just, by converting lots of space from general use to intensive care or high dependency use and by diverting staff of all types (Physios, Surgeons, Dentists, etc.) to working in those units as care assistants.
Patients were segregated, private hospital beds were commissioned and hospitals and parts of hospitals were re-designated as Covid free or not free. However, this didn’t help with the problem of having enough staff to run normal services while also running with very high numbers of very sick Covid patients.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

An unusually accurate assessment for these pages which are filled with loons denying the facts and quoting selectively chosen ‘information’ which is usually made up.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If hospitals are segragated into covid and no covid, there was no need for suspected infections to stay at home for two weeks (unless of course they actually felt ill enough that they needed time off). That would have solved a lot of the staffing problem.
And I remember numerous retired healthcare staff offering their services, yet none were used. Locking the country up was total incompetence and probably the worst way to handle things.

Last edited 3 years ago by colinkingswood4
Andrew McCoull
Andrew McCoull
3 years ago

The hospitals haven’t been bursting at the seams, whatever else may be true. Bed occupancy last summer was way below normal levels, and even below normal levels over the Nov-Jan time when they are usually full with the regular winter virus peaks.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

FAKE NEWS. Over Dec ’21-Jan ’21, ICU capacity in UK was 7x or higher than the worst flu season in the past several decades. The Financial Times reported this in detail. You can google and look at the data for yourself.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Please don’t use that that tawdry ‘fake news’ phrase. You mean something like ‘..That turns out not to be the case,’ or ‘Unfortunately that isn’t right.’ Shouting FAKE NEWS in all caps makes me want to scroll quickly past your post, and may I suppose have the same effect on others.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

I can’t accommodate every snow flake in the world, so please replace the word you don’t like with “MISINFORMATION” if it makes it easier for you to process.
Here’s a source for you:
‘It’s not a bad flu season’ – Covid myths debunked with data

https://www.ft.com/video/0cd6f9f9-664e-40f9-bad4-dde59d7c746c

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Hate to remind you, but that’s what hospitals and ICUs are for. If after 75 years of our NHS it couldn’t cope perhaps they’re no use. Them and the govt had at least a year to prepare for this winters Covid/flu increase so what have they been doing? If Johnson was a chief exec he’d be fired, or prosecuted.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

They aren’t interested in data. Emotional response to everything.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

They’re not interested in an alternative version to their viewpoints. It’s their way or no way.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

Source?

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

“Long COVID” – not ready for prime time. It’s still a media, not a medical, phenomenon. The medical consensus is that we don’t know yet. I’m not dismissing it, just saying that the real answer is “we don’t know yet”.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

Knowing that it happens, but not how it works, does not relegate it to being a media phenomenon.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Milburn

post viral fatigue syndrome rebranded.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

well ‘viral fatigue’ is real. It is very likely that a certain percentage of people who contracted this virus will end up in the ‘chronic fatigue’ group. Often their immune systems will be going nuts trying to kill something that is not there any more, but they are still looking ….
Why these malfunctions of the immune system happen we still have very little idea. File it under ‘no clue’. But we can expect a certain percentage of those who got covid to end up on this list. Why not? Other seasonal virus infections cause this …

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

I have had post viral syndrome that lasted 4 to 5 months after a coronavirus.

Rohan Loveland
Rohan Loveland
3 years ago

But sticking to statistics is important. I, my sister, my nephew, my 2 brothers-in-law, all had Covid. None of us had particularly severe symptoms, or any noticeable long-term effects.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

“Hospitals bursting at the seams”..hahaha….really?

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

It’s a metaphor. Like “scraping the barrel” for something critical to say, perhaps.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago

No one gave a shit about post viral fatigue syndrome when it was triggere by flu. Now it has a rebranding and it’s cool again.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

aha, I did not see this. I replied to you explaining what you already know. Apologies.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago

Someone plotted this for a few countries for the last few years.
https://oronu.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/mortality-statistics/

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Thanks. Almost all flattish.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
3 years ago

No and for the following reasons:-
1) Johann predicted deaths of between two and three times influenza (in Sweden its typically 2,000). Sweden has now been through two seasons of Sars Cov2 and the deaths are a little over 1-3.
2) They retained an adult approach and always sought to offer a moderate response rather than the emotional hysteria of the English Government and the media.
3) They emphasised the holistic nature of health considering other challenges and most importantly mental heath.
Now of course we know over 2,000,000 additional people are taking medication in the UK for mental health issues and over 1,000,000 operations have been postponed. The most damning stat from the ONS is that every week since May at least 800 excess deaths have occurred at home and only 2% are connected to Sars CoV2.
The pre occupation with keeping a large population of co morbid elderly people who are often demented alive will be the undoing of the West.
We urgently need to address Obesity which is now 30% all over the anglo saxon world and having a mature debate about the consequences of running a population of frail elderly who will always be vulnerable.
And just so we get the Long Covid into perspective after 12 weeks one is left with 10% of the original number many of whom are co morbid woman.
The first thing we need to do is stop pretending its tragedy that people in their 80’s die its not its what we do.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago

And my beloved Gov’t sanctioned 500,000 children to death in Iraq with our noble stateswoman Kirkpatrick saying it was worth the price. And now we are so remorseful that a virus with average age of death near typical life expectancy has claimed so many. Many of those deaths attributed to malfeasance with nursing home treatments and felonious Gov’t policy. The hypocrisy is suffocating.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago

Couldn’t agree more. Sweden on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 had the highest rate of new coronavirus cases in Europe, with a seven-day average of 587 new infections per million people on Monday, more than France on 556 and Poland on 540, according to the latest figures on Our World in Data.
At the start of Sweden’s second wave in November, Fredrik Sund, the doctor who heads the region’s main infectious diseases clinic, called on national television for a full “lockdown on society”, dismissing the country’s largely voluntary restrictions as “toothless”. Daily Telegraph, 14 Apr 2021.
Here’s what one expat living in Sweden thought about the new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus introduced by Stockholm’s regional infectious disease doctor Maria Rotzén Östlund in February, 2020.
 “Once again timid half measures. For goodness sake, just shut everything down for 2 or 3 weeks, except for the bare essentials, and let’s be done with this. Never lived under such a timid, useless government!”  Simon, in the Swedish online journal The Local (www.thelocal.se), 23 Feb 2021 13:10.
Incidentally, my nephew in Sweden is still recovering from Covid-19 after two months. He’s 50.
 
 

Chris Rimmer
Chris Rimmer
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

For goodness sake, just shut everything down for 2 or 3 weeks, except for the bare essentials, and let’s be done with this.

Do you know of any examples where COVID-19 has been eliminated from shutting everything down for 2-3 weeks?

Michael Sinclair
Michael Sinclair
3 years ago

No mention here about the exchange of lives that are the price of lockdowns – the poor and young pay the price. No mention of the near on 700,000 people in rent arrears in the UK, many that specifiaclly lost jobs due to lockdowns – others where housing benefits have not kept pace with rent increases. The government has had to suspend court evictions in the light of it’s own policies! – but for how long ? I attended on OECD forum yesterday on the mental health cost of lockdowns globally – I suggest that eveyone that can reviews that event – the figures – the % rise in suicides per country, which in my view are directly relative to the pityfully low levels of efficacy and trust, towards, and shown within, thisgovernment, lacking any self education in such a way as to make Imperial College into their one and only feeding bowl. (not forgetting the fiascao in 2000 on Creutzfeldt-Jacob – again, Ferguson and Imperial College modelling!) The real cost of lockdowns, in unemployment and health, apart from the fiscal cost will far exceed the ‘results’ in the management of Covid this past year. How can we trust, be fully behind, feel understood and properly governed by a government that wasted over 35 billion in track and trace – created the Nightingale Hospital in the Excel Centre with 4000 beds which could not function due to lack of staff ! that the goverment had no clue that ther were not enough ITC nurses ! How can this be !? – are they not a government ! to not have a clue about staffing levels in the HNS ! (dare we mention Brexit ! the thousands of nurses that retuned back to the EU!)
It will be seen that many had never had it so good during lockdown – which Gupta refered to as “a middle class luxury” – kept jobs – had money coming in – and were able to save as Sunak admitted, who is looking forward to those savings being spent! They lost nothing that would fundamentally change their lives as have the millions of poor and the young who have no voice and have conveniently been ‘dissappeared’ in Junta-like style – Its more than a disgrace.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Now that the Covid death percentages are known (within reason because there is fudging) and given that as a percentage they are low and mainly affect the elderly and ill, and now that we know case rates are fudged because of inefficiency of PCR test application, and now that we know that the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing disease and do not stop transmission of disease…
I would like to know from the pro-hard lockdowners how they can still defend their position?
To lock down ALL of society, keep children out of school (some of them will never regain what they have lost), condemn millions to poverty as livelihoods and businesses are lost with the knock on from the middle classes downwards, as hundreds of thousands lose out on critical healthcare (and please don’t quote overflowing hospitals – there are ebbs and flows in epidemic curves), as people look at ruined futures.
How do you conceive of paying back the money and saving societies? How does your model work? How long is it going to take? How are you going to protect your health care systems with no money? How are you going to ramp up social services with no extra money? Please tell me your plan.

dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago

well the same crowd that wears this event like a virtual signaling emblem would cry systemic racism if their criteria were consistent as people of color and lower economics are not vaccinated as quickly as the more affluent members of society.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

Have you not noticed the US economy is roaring back to life and debt borrowing costs of Western countries is dirt cheap?
All the hysteria about lockdowns/strong social distancing causing an economic disaster is not matched by reality. That is not to deny, of course, that a lot of individuals have suffered terribly, but I am talking about overall economic trajectory.
Indeed, it is perfectly possible to argue that the pandemic will be the catalyst of a huge change in attitudes and huge improvements in the US, in favour of better healthcare and vital infrastructure spending that has been neglected for decades. Time will tell. But clearly your unsophisticated lockdown vs the economy dichotomy is a false one.
Moreover, one only needs to look to South Korea, China, Australia etc (or, on the flip side, Brazil) to see that the best economic outcomes have been in countries that closed their borders and prevented Covid from taking hold until they vaccinate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Indeed, it is perfectly possible to argue that the pandemic will be the catalyst of a huge change in attitudes and huge improvements in the US, in favour of better healthcare and vital infrastructure spending that has been neglected for decades. Time will tell. But clearly your unsophisticated lockdown vs the economy dichotomy is a false one.
There will undoubtedly be a huge economic boom in the developed world as society reopens due to widespread vaccination. Much of this boom is, however, fueled by massive government spending and by ultra-low interest rates. Most of the real economy (apart from tech companies) is in tatters as are many people’s finances.
The effects of lockdowns might not be fully felt for a year or two due to governments printing money, but they will eventually appear as high levels of inflation. All we’ve done is kicked the economic can down the road for a year or two, and, again, it will be young people who bear most of the burden in the form of lost job opportunities and income.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

You are very confident in your predictions. Even Larry Summers, not known for his modesty, uses caveats.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Print that money! Borrow a whole lot more! And who are you indebted to? Certainly time will tell that you cannot stall an economy for a few years and think you are hunky dory. You are going to pay it back. No wait! Maybe in your world you can just do it for another year? Two years? And yes, sorry about the millions of people who have lost their livelihoods in the meantime and been pushed into poverty that you brush off in the end of one sentence. Millions.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

Stop with this attitude that children are now lost because of disruption to education. I gad a friend who was off school for a year due to illness and got a degree and postgraduate qualification and has not been adversely affected by the year off. Stop with this hysteria. I hope you are not telling children their lives are over before they start. Nonsense. Snowflake whingeing.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

Please don’t quote one person’s success as the trend. It is bereft of any logic at all. And anyone who has any knowledge or imagination, knows it is not the rich kids who have suffered the most, it is the poorer children. Some of these children will never see the inside (or outside) of a classroom again… they have been lost from the system. This is happening in the West and is happening to a much higher degree in Africa where I live. Entitled?

Last edited 3 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

Schools in UK have been open for children of key workers and those classed as vulnerable at risk. I hope the schools are able to identify those children. Some schools will also take in the children who are having huge difficulties learning at home, but I suspect it is up yo the individual school and circumstance. Poor children inevitably slip through the net in this issue and many others. UK needs to address why so many socially/economic deprived children get left behind Covid or no Covid. I am concerned about children’s social development and mental health and every effort must be made to address this. It’s why I worry about the young generation being told their education is ruined and that there is nothing for them afterwards. We need to do all we can to encourage them and not demoralise them. That is more my point. Passing the negativity down the line won’t necessarily help. Don’t write them off – they’ve had enough to deal with already.

Daryl Jones
Daryl Jones
3 years ago

First, I don’t think he is talking to the children, and second, if missing a year or two of school doesn’t matter, why do we spend obscene amounts on public schools? We’re constantly told that without more funding, children will be left behind and won’t be able to compete in the global marketplace, blah, blah, blah.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago
Reply to  Daryl Jones

No one is saying the disruption doesn’t matter. Everything that happens in the world matters in one way or another. You again have missed my point. Passing the negativity down will not help – and children pick up very much on atmosphere. Not sure what your rant about public schools is? In UK these are the private education establishments so really don’t understand what you are blah blah blahing about.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

Covid and lockdown sceptics seem almost desperate for there to be bad outcomes longer term, almost as if theyre trying to compensate for all their errors over the past year in predicting how the pandemic would pan out.

Indeed, Giesecke is essentially saying “I got it wrong now, but I think I’ll be right because something bad will happen in future”.

Meanwhile, US economy performing strongly and it looks like poor Americans will benefit long term from huge changes in attitudes in favour of a decent social safety net and healthcare for all.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Obviously a freak, but good luck to her. Most of her contemporaries face a far bleaker outcome.
Darwinian Self Selection as we say.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

She’s 60!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Comprehensive Education?

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

No

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Good.

Claire Olszanska
Claire Olszanska
3 years ago

I did though. A stonking massive comprehensive. Set me up for life.

Nigel
Nigel
3 years ago

As a Brit married to a Swede and living in Sweden I have supported Gieseke and Tegnell’s approach throughout and have been annoyingly amused reading the reactions of the rest of the world’s largely uninformed pronouncements on the Swedish Approach. The only serious mistake Sweden has made has been nothing to do with G ‘n T as I call them. It is the political decision of the craven Swedish government to tie itself to the disastrous EU vaccination programme even while its two largest members, Germany and France are busy circumventing it. Already causing hundreds more unnecessary deaths why hasn’t Prime Minister picked up the phone to do a deal with the Swedish chairman of AstraZeneca to save Swedish citizens’ lives? My wife and I, both over 70, only managed to get our first jab of AstraZeneca yesterday and a vague indication of getting the second jab at the end of June. Meanwhile all our friends and relatives in the UK and US have long been vaccinated many of them twice. This is the real scandal and who will be held responsible either at the EU or the national level for the additional deaths? Unfortunately in Sweden there is no evidence that there will be political repercussions either for the government even less so for the its continuing EU membership.

Thomas Jordan
Thomas Jordan
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel

Do you think that if every European country had procured vaccines separately, there would have been enough vaccine for everyone to have the same rate of vaccinations as the UK and the USA? It seems to me that the basic problem is the difficulties in expanding production of vaccines rapidly.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

In the beginning we didn’t know what we were dealing with. In a few weeks enough data became available to begin to understand that the COVID19 was a Corona virus. “It is a viral disease like all other diseases. More dangerous than some of them, but it’s not unique”.
The problem with this virus is that it was politicized. It was seized by a political ideology as a means to force their political agenda. High ranking party members announced early on in January 2020 that the pandemic was “their opportunity”. These are people who believe the end justifies the means and will do anything to achieve their end.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

It was seized by governments and acquiescent, unthinking members of societies.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Burns

”Build back better” Davos February 2020 by Dr Edwin Schwab-Strangelove ”mein Fuhrers I Am Walking@” Apologies to Peter Sellers..

Matt Harries
Matt Harries
3 years ago

I’m in no way capable of dissecting the modelling or the subsequent avalanche of data on my own, without deferring to more learned individuals and institutions. So criticism of anyone presenting these things needs to be given the necessary caveats, specifically that I am only recycling sometime else’s opinion on something that I can’t give an accurate, informed view on myself.

What Ferguson said so memorably, was that it was decided, after witnessing the acquiescence of the Italians, to follow the Chinese model of top-down psychological manipulation to essentially frighten a cowering populace into obedience. I consider that a turning point in the way I regard our government and every word that comes from their general direction.

Let the scientists, mathematicians and more independent minded, principled journalistic bodies investigate and disseminate the subsequent findings of future enquiries. I wait with baited breath, if not in anticipation of transparency.

But I will certainly not forget the day we were so casually shown that our government are entirely willing to follow the previously unthinkable Command & Control approach upon their own people. I learned so much about both this country’s government and its people on that day.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
3 years ago

Back last year in Hamburg, Pr Putsch, against Robert Koch institute’s advice, autopsied 100 people who had died with a Covid infection and were rated Covid deaths. Age ranged from late 20’s to over 90.
Not one died of COVID …..when they all died with COVID.
Sweden where I spent 3 months last year right at the beginning of this crisis and again one month ending this week…….is the only country that preserved the welfare of its people.
Here in France where people are pretty much number the champions of neurosis, there has been absolutely no social life, child and domestic abuse like you would not believe it and despite Macron’s promises, there is no end in sight …….top of it, people refusing to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca when they first refused to be vaccinated with Pfizer. In short, a padded cell right in the heart of Europe.
Walking through the streets of Stockholm is a bliss compared to Paris or any other french city, enjoying a meal in a restaurant a welcome break……shopping normally without having to discover that washing machines have suddenly become…….non essential items, therefore cordoned off in appliances stores……a return to normality.
Swedes who whinge and wish for tougher measures don’t know what they are wishing for and the rippling effects it would have on their society.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

You might want to check the statistics for Sweden’s ICU units. They have had exactly the same problem as the NHS, except initially Sweden discouraged the elderly from being taken to hospital (they were given palliative treatment in homes), which is why the average age of Swedish ICU patients was so much lower than in the UK.
As for your questioning of Covid fatalities, I refer you to the work on excess deaths by world class statisticians such as Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter.

Mark Stone
Mark Stone
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Its still too soon to use excess death numbers. 100000 extra deaths in 2020 is 1/6th more than the previous average for 5 years. Compared to the last 20 years its is average. If we have some tens of thousand fewer deaths per year for the next 5 years we might find that there have been no extra death from COVID. Its just that those who were likely to die of a nasty respiratory disease have done so a bit earlier than usual. It’s a horrible mathematical function but life years lost to COVID might very well not justify lockdown etc.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stone

I’ve been checking the ONS crude death figures every week for a year. There were less deaths (Total) in England and Wales for 2020, than any of the previous ten years, barring 2019, which was particularly low.. There is no sign of those 90.000 plus “excess” deaths reported by the government and BBC.. We have been conned.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

https://oronu.wordpress.com/2021/01/29/mortality-statistics/
This shows that there was an increase, but not enough to justify any of the nonsense we have had to endure for over a year now.

Last edited 3 years ago by colinkingswood4
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

No conning here.
ONS. Deaths registered monthly in England and Wales
2010 to 2019 range : 492,214 – 541,589
… total deaths from all causes in England and Wales, as of week 51 (week ending 18 December) is 592, 525 deaths. This is the latest data available.
Remember final death stats for 2020 won’t be complete until at least May 2021 because of a 5 month delay in coroner’s cases.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Really?….what excess deaths would that be then?
Sweden crude death rate. deaths overall per 1,000 population. 2020 shows the lowest death count ever. Where is the pandemic? DATE VALUE CHANGE, %
2020 = 9.1-0.25 %
2019 = 9.1-0.35 %
2018 = 9.2-0.41 %
2017 = 9.2-0.49 %
2016 = 9.2-0.56 %
2015 = 9.3-0.64 %
2014 = 9.3-0.74 %
2013 = 9.4-0.83 %
2012 = 9.5-0.92 %
2011 = 9.6-0.99 %
2010 = 9.7-1.07 %
2009 = 9.8

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Where / how on earth do you generate these figures ?
From Statista all deaths Sweden :
2011 – 2019 range 88,976 – 92,185
2020  97,941 (provisional)
Eurostat Number of deaths by week (absolute number) – interactive graph shows a pattern that would square with the Statista figures
Ourworldindata has a series of interactive graphs which show plenty of all cause excess mortality. Try “Excess mortality during COVID-19: Number of deaths from all causes compared to previous years, Sweden”
EUROMOMO z scores : Weeks 1 – 11 in minus territory, 12 – 34 in plus territory (up to 12.93), 35 – 45 in minus territory, 46 to end of year in plus territory (up to 6.56). 21 weeks in minus territory 31 weeks in plus territory.
Who are you kidding ?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

2019 was a very low mortality year compared to other years (meaning many vulnerable people did not die), so combining 2019 and 2020 you get an average figure that is perfectly reasonable for a country in the middle of a global pandemic. You really are an alarmist, aren’t you.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

E G-L just gave you the figures. For years 2011 to 2019 the highest was still below 2020. What’s alarmist about that?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Nope. I just read the data and I don’t use averages / means without many caveats because it is such a slippery / useless statistic to use without knowing the shape of the distribution and all the inputs.

Bengt Hansson
Bengt Hansson
3 years ago

My two big take home messages from Giesecke april 2021 are:

  • “…there are many democratic rules and freedoms that have been curtailed. I think that may be one of the dangerous results of this pandemic.” Let that message sink down.
  • Perhaps vaccinate childs against Covid-19 in the future. A far reaching measure.
Hayden McAllister
Hayden McAllister
3 years ago

When is “covid” not covid? In the USA the CDC have admitted that 96 per cent of people registered as “covid deaths” did not die because of covid! Will this make the Big Pharma Bill Gates funded main-stream news?
https://ourtube.co.uk/watch/QJDYCVPMV2G2M5M
And we constantly hear so much of vaccines. But virtually nothing of successful, early use preventative home treatment. High dose Vitamin D & C and Zinc. Hydroxychloroquine + Zinc, or Ivermectin. ((HCQ doesn’t work when Big Pharma sponsors the trials – but works very well in unbiased hands.)) It would stop most hospitalisation, and by all accounts HCQ and Ivermectin work against “variants”. There is an urgent and important debate to be had to take “health” care out of the hands of the Medical Mafia aka Big Pharma and find the best and most appropriate treatment for whatever disease needs to be treated. This should not be a profiteering gravy train for no liability vaccine makers pushing an experimental vaccine with humanity as the lab rats in phase three of the on-going trials. There are already – in the UK – over 800 deaths from covid vaccines and thousands of adverse reactions from the vaccine – found under “Vaccine Analysis Reports” hidden deep (why?) in Govt files. No mention to patients about the possibility of pathogenic priming where corona vaccination (in all animal trials over the past umpteen years eventually made the animals sicker). A compassionate caring health system is sorely needed that gives the right medicine to the right person at the right time. Profiteering Big Pharma is clearly not fit to be an advocate of the Hippocratic Oath.

Last edited 3 years ago by Hayden McAllister
dermot wilson
dermot wilson
3 years ago

And the irony is the guinea pigs who serve as experimental data have little recourse. What moral compass indemnifies billionaire companies while practicing their drugs and vaccines on an uninformed citizenry!

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago

If the CDC had actually said that, you’d think there’d be a link to the statement on their website, rather than a far-right network’s video that misrepresents the statistics.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
3 years ago

One other comment on vaccination. It is obvious that one should vaccinate the vulnerable: i.e. those over 60 or those with co-morbidities that predict a severe outcome of a COVID infection. But vaccinating those who are young and healthy, and at minimal risk of severe consequences (i.e. deaths) following infection, seems problematic. Particularly worrisome is the reported increased incidence of disseminated intravascular coagulation that has led to stopping or pausing the AZ and J&J vaccines. The key, however, is whether this is due to the vector (i.e. the adenovirus vector for AZ and J&J) or to the actual spike protein. If the latter then similar blood clotting/bleeding disorders should be observed for the mRNA vaccines. If one looks at the VAARS database it would appear that the same types of clotting/bleeding conditions have indeed been observed with the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Unfortunately, it would appear that the mRNA vaccines are being protected by the NIH and the FDA. Perhaps not surprising given the involvement of the NIH in development of the Moderna mRNA vaccine.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago

Johan Giesecke says: He has been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab, and would be happy for everyone to take it: “If we really want to get down to small numbers — we won’t eradicate it, but to small numbers — then I think even children should be vaccinated… I can’t see why not.”
Does this guy have a clue what he’s talking about?
If children and others aren’t seriously affected by SARS-CoV-2, why should they be subjected to years of COVID-19 vaccination throughout life? This would interfere with their own natural and effective immune response.
How can Giesecke suggest this?
The vaccine industry is setting up the global population for COVID-19 vaccination for life. According to media reports: 
The CEO of Pfizer says people will likely need a third dose of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine within a year of being fully vaccinated.”The likely scenario is there be a likely need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months,” Albert Bourla said. And from there, there will be an annual vaccination. But all of that needs to be confirmed. And again, the variants will play a key role.”*
It’s mind-boggling that this is being accepted at face value, with no critical analysis…
* Third vaccine jab ‘likely needed within a year’ Pfizer CEO says

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Small taste? This is the real deal and it is only going to get worse.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
3 years ago

I’m constantly dismayed at comments that call Sweden’s approach ‘irresponsible’. It seems like anything less than an administration taking full control of people’s lives is acceptable to such people. It seems remarkable that so many people are not just OK with this, but applaud it. A state that calls for cooperation and protects the sovereignty of the individual, and communities, is now the outlier. We’ve gone from being adults to infants.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Powell

I think Sweden knew the character of its people well enough to put in appropriate measures for Sweden, ie they did not need to be so overly authoritarian to be effective. The character of UK is different and I feel a more authoritarian approach was justified in the early days, still far less authoritarian than many other EU countries. What is disappointing in UK is that we have not found ways to reduce the authoritarianism in our approach, ie allow more personal decision making based on a better understanding of risk. What is also disappointing is Sweden’s approach has become more authoritarian over time, when it was designed to endure over time. Sweden’s approach is still far less authoritarian than UK.

stephen archer
stephen archer
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I believe that there a lot of misconceptions regarding the view of Swedes as conformant and trusting people. In general they are definitely more trusting where a fair majority have probably followed the Covid guidelines and accepted the fairly stringent measures imposed although lighter and less idotic than some of those in the UK. There is however a large section of the population who are not so conformant, the younger generations including teenagers and some of the affluent middle class who give the impression of being immune and carrying on as normal. As Tegnell and others have stated over the last few weeks with steadily increasing case numbers and hospitalisations, it’s not a question of implementing further measures (deemed to be largely ineffective) but instead adhering to the measures already in place. There’s not a lot more he can do other than imposing lockdown and police state enforcement which will thankfully never happen and wouldn’t make any difference in the long run. Crowding in ski resorts, private parties (one reported on today with 20 infected out of 20), students ignoring guidelines on distancing, celebrations with 100+ guests in immigrant communities have been some of the reasons in addition to the infection spreading in care homes and hospitals.

Last edited 3 years ago by stephen archer
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

It is hardly surprising that those at less personal risk are becoming less compliant. Arguably this is as it should be. If you look at Swedish excess deaths they are getting something right and have been throughout the most recent rise. The ultimate answer is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Sadly for Sweden it is caught by the EU policy of making sure all EU countries do equally badly, despite any sovereign advantages they may have (AstraZeneca is Anglo Swedish).
https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&minPopulationFilter=1000000&pickerSort=asc&pickerMetric=location&hideControls=true&Metric=Vaccine+doses&Interval=Cumulative&Relative+to+Population=true&Align+outbreaks=false&country=GBR~ITA~DEU~SWE~HUN
Hungary stuck 2 fingers up and bought Russian, but has yet to see the beneficial effects (would not really expect to see much yet). It also looks like the Germans are also beginning to break ranks and get ahead of the rest by relatively recently vaccinating at almost the same daily rate we are. They are also talking to Putin about Sputnik. Despite this week, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen taking the stance of claiming the EU will soon begin making sure all vaccines they use are made 100% within the EU. Only using 100% EU vaccines is however, not possible at the moment, because a UK firm in Yorkshire, Corda International, is the company which provides a number of essential competent parts for the Pfizer vaccines upon which the EU is relying. Just more proof if we needed any that the EU does not give a toss about the peoples of its member states and would much rather undermine UK out of abject fear that we will succeed without them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Adrian Smith
stephen archer
stephen archer
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

agreed on issue of personal risk but these groups and the UK variant are fuelling the infection spread affecting others more vulnerable

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Good article. The Swedish approach much better than the U.K.,we need rid of SAGE, PHE et al.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago

Had you ever been to a police state (Russia China, Albania in the 60s, Iran and Turkey), you’d realise how ignorant it is to describe this country as being one.
I imagine were you to be in France, Germany or Italy during a lockdown you’d find it to be a far more authoritarian experience than in the UK.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Hear hear. The hysteria among some commentators is not productive to an informed discussion.
The UK measures have had overwhelming popular support, and have been scrutinised by the independent courts. Rather than some kind of mass-incarceration/dictatorship emerging, it seems far more likely that had the UK population decided en masse to ignore the rules, the government would have been forced to change its policy. Some say the UK population were cowed into subservience by a government exaggerating the risks, others say that the population saw the real-world evidence from all over the world and decided on balance that social distancing was the lesser of two evils. Reasonable minds can disagree.
I’m not saying there aren’t reasonable and serious concerns regarding civil liberties, but we need to be rational and have a sense of proportionality.

Last edited 3 years ago by Eva Rostova
Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

It’s worth noting:
Singapore, one of the world’s most densely populated places, made it a crime to be too close to another person.
In Spain the lockdown last year was quite strict (NB don’t know if it still is PL), with more than 100,000 fines handed out for breaches of rules (people are on board as mobile phone footage shows residents applauding from balconies as joggers are arrested). Although, it is said some are hiring out their dogs so stir-crazy neighbours can walk outside without fear of being fined.
Professor Leila Choukroune, director of the University of Portsmouth’s Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship, said liberal governments were walking a “tightrope” having to balance the inherent freedoms with the need to tackle what is now a global threat.
Professor Jimmy Whitworth, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said for some Western leaders – including Boris Johnson – imposing wide-ranging restrictions on freedoms “goes against the grain”. It is, he said, a possible reason why many European governments were slow to lockdown communities until the scale of what they were facing became abundantly clear.

Last edited 3 years ago by Martin Tuite
idazbiro
idazbiro
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

I am a little bit confused by your comments stating that Spain has had a strict lockdown for a year. I live in Madrid, and I have not experienced anything like that. All shops, restaurants, bars, schools have been opened since June 2020 up to now!

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  idazbiro

Hi idazbiro,
I came across the information here:
How and why has the approach to coronavirus differed in Asia and Europe? Cultural, social and political differences have altered how each country has tackled the crisis thus far
By Steve Bird ; Dominic Gilbert ; Henry Samuel ; Sophia Yan ; Nicola Smith ; James Badcock and Julian Ryall Daily Telegraph  28 March 2020 • 7:00am
 “European countries were slow to impose lockdowns. While the UK is only now seeing police enforce the regime, France, Spain and Italy now even have military units now enforcing the policy.
“The government in Spain, a country consisting of folk who vehemently defend their liberties, dithered over any lockdown. It refused to cancel marches for International Women’s Day earlier this month. Hundreds of thousands of people took part. Two female cabinet ministers and the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tested positive days after attending the Madrid event.
“Now, the lockdown is stricter, with more than 100,000 fines handed out for breaches of rules (people are on board as mobile phone footage shows residents applauding from balconies as joggers are arrested). Although, it is said some are hiring out their dogs so stir-crazy neighbours can walk outside without fear of being fined.”

Last edited 3 years ago by Martin Tuite
pauline.k
pauline.k
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Just because lockdown was popular in that most people fell for it ie were terrorized, does not make it right.

pauline.k
pauline.k
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

But the government, establishment and authorities have acquired powers hitherto unheld and seem to want more. Surely you must admit this is not healthy. Perhaps you like being ordered around by the powers that be – it gives you an unwarranted sense of security.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
3 years ago
Reply to  pauline.k

“An unwarrented sense of security”? Don’t be silly.
Perhaps you think we should have followed the example of Brazil: 7 April 2021 • 10:10am The country of 212 million people has registered an average of 2,757 Covid-19 deaths per day over the past week, the highest by far worldwide.
It has recorded 160 deaths per 100,000 people, behind countries such as the Czech Republic (254) and the UK (187) but still one of the 10 highest rates in the world.
Miguel Nicolelis, professor of neurology at Duke University and the former coordinator of the pandemic response team for north east of the country said: “It’s a nuclear reactor that has set off a chain reaction and is out of control. It’s a biological Fukushima.”
“Brazil now is not only the epicentre of the pandemic worldwide, it is a threat to the entire effort of the international community to control the pandemic on the planet,” he added.
President Jair Bolsonaro, doesn’t believe in lockdowns and regards the Wuhan virus as a little flu” and those afraid of it as “sissies”. A nutter in my opinion.

pauline.k
pauline.k
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

Try and be less long-winded next time. On second thoughts, don’t bother.

Daphne A
Daphne A
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

While I understand your point, we have been prohibited from leaving the country for months now. That, to me, is the mark of a police state. You cannot escape even if you disagree with the policies of the country you’re living in.

Ernest DuBrul
Ernest DuBrul
3 years ago

“People were willing to give up more freedom than I thought they would. It worries me — there are many democratic rules and freedoms that have been curtailed. I think that may be one of the dangerous results of this pandemic.”
It is this, and not the deaths, that is the damage that Covid has wrought.
Why politicians and the media portrayed the virus as an existential threat? Why the narrative spun by only a select few scientists was considered to be the only narrative? Why opposing views and those who spoke them were maligned and silenced? Why politicians and the media chose to be ruled by science and then only one questionable sub-discipline? Why people in liberal democracies were willing to curtail their freedoms in the face of an selectively dangerous virus?
These are all pressing questions for future historians to address.

Julia Waugh
Julia Waugh
3 years ago

The takeaway:
“We have kept democracy. We have trusted people. I think there are a number of benefits from not having a severe lockdown and more of them will come as we do research on this in the future.”

peter.azlac
peter.azlac
3 years ago

You are making a mistake when you try to claim the Swedish strategy was wrong, it was not. The Professor was correct when he said lockdown would not make a difference, as several studies have shown. The latest data shows deaths per million in the UK at 1866 versus 1359 for Sweden but ONS has recently stated that 25% of the UK recorded deaths from Covid-19 were not from this disease. So, correcting the figure we get 1399 versus 1359 or no difference within the margin of error. The difference is that Sweden did not trash their economy, destroy jobs and lives or remove citizen’s freedoms, and nor have they ended up with almost 400,000 persons waiting for operations and a death rate from other causes linked to the lockdowns that are equal to those from Covid-19 or destroyed the education prospects of children all based on false data from SAGE and a Prime Minister lacking the ability to make rational decisions.
I live in Finland part of the year and there are many differences with Sweden – a large country with a more dispersed elderly population largely in rural areas in small care homes , more persons living in single households, a culture where they do not mix much outside family, frequent use of sauna, foods fortified with vitamin D, an exercise culture with a lot of cycling to work, low numbers of high risk immigrants living in crowded conditions and even the towns are more dispersed with more persons living in suburbs giving a low population density and probably important a good health service that correctly diagnoses real Covid-19 cases and not with Covid-19 plus highly trained personnel in care homes. Also they were very quick to isolate Helsinki when Cov-2 first arrived there to stop the spread to other parts of the country and this was helped by the fact that most international flights are from there and not other parts of the country. As the Professor said it any and all of these factors but I would put money on the high levels of vitamin D and exercise giving them a good innate immune response.
On vaccines the curves for the UK and Portugal can be overlaid yet Portugal has only vaccinated one sixth of the numbers of persons as the UK and in both cases vaccination coincided with the down slope of the Gompertz curve. So whilst one hopes it is the vaccines that have caused the drop in the UK I would not celebrate too soon, especially as the Indian and South African variants have now arrived against which the Pfizer and AstraZenneca have considerably lower efficacy, especially for those vulnerable elderly and immune suppressed who did not produce high antibody counts from the vaccines.
When one talks about how many persons have been infected you cannot use antibodies as one does not expect antibody levels to last beyond weeks when T and B cells are the main determinant of resistance and these have not been measured.
There is evidence that lock downs and vaccinating the elderly and immune suppressed are the cause of the mutations. As such the strategy adopted by the UK and other countries will be self defeating. It is notable that the most dangerous variants have arisen in the countries where the vaccines were tested and those areas or countries with the hashes lock downs, like California.

Last edited 3 years ago by peter.azlac
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  peter.azlac

Well said.

Paul Reidinger
Paul Reidinger
3 years ago

An important theme unmentioned in this discussion is the fear-mongering by government and media. It has been deliberate, shameless, relentless and continues unto this very hour. It is extraordinary to think that Western governments, nominally democratic, have gone out of their way to terrify their populations. Fear is a long-lasting poison that will be with us for many, many years, warping human interaction, warping whole societies. I regard official fear-mongering as psychopathic and criminal. If dramatic steps are not taken to dismiss and punish the perpetrators and change laws and constitutions to ensure that lockdowns etc can never be imposed by fiat again, then I’m afraid we are lost. To claim that these measures and behaviors have been successful and are a legitimate basis for a “new normal” is insane. They should be the basis for prosecution a la Nuremberg.
The author and beneficiary of all this, btw, is unmistakably China. The virus came from China, the first fearsome images from China, the totalitarian methods from (totalitarian) China. China is in better shape than a year ago, while the once-free West is in disarray. China has called these shots. They have played their hand with great skill. They have conned us into slitting our own wrists. Who is the global hegemon now, the USA or China? I submit that the answer is obvious.

arthur brogard
arthur brogard
3 years ago

This is a great shame. This is a destroyed man. Lost his confidence, lost his strength, frightened.
Sweden followed the same curve as others. That’s the point. Right there. End of discussion. He doesn’t say this. Doesn’t try to protect himself.
And then he goes on to say he can’t see why not vaccinate children! With realms of evidence children are virtually proof against the thing and don’t infect adults!
He’s simply saying do what you like, I’m stepping to one side.
When attacked on the grounds of discrepancy between Sweden and other nations he doesn’t point out that across the world there’s an enormous – fantastic wouldn’t be too strong a word – difference in the apparent potency and spread of the virus. Meaning that there are factors, very large powerful factors, in play that we know nothing about! Nothing! That’s an immense argument. He makes no use of it at all.
He’s a beaten frightened man and this Freddie Sayers now reveals himself somewhat, I think.
The world has descended into madness. There is no other way to describe it. We daily see Youtube clips of outdoor meetings – dignitaries, leaders, police, whatever – and there’s people sitting on stages, rostrums, metres away from everyone else and wearing masks! Please – where is the sanity in that??
But it is the norm today all around the world apparently. All around the world!
Sweden stood out against that illogical unreasoning hysterical insanity and he should be proud of himself and his nation for it.
And the ‘facts are in’ at this stage so they do this interview but he fails to protect himself with any reference to excess deaths which I believe I saw a video about the other day saying the UK the excesses are being followed by a trough which is indicating that as you’d expect the figure will recede towards the norm when seen over a longer period.
And in fact the figures remain highly questionable – highly, no nit picking, but highly – because we have the famous zero influenza deaths which are hidden in there of course and we have all deaths with any positive pcr which is quite truly and quite scientifically and unarguably not a true indicator of disease. And there’s more. But that’s enough. But he doesn’t seek to protect himself (and reason, sanity, science, truth, individual freedoms) with any of that.
He doesn’t protect himself at all. That’s a great shame. An even greater shame that he doesn’t protect the Swedish path which was reason, calm, science, sense, truth, preservation of national character and individual rights.
It is a shame. A shame.

Last edited 3 years ago by arthur brogard
stephen archer
stephen archer
3 years ago
Reply to  arthur brogard

I have to agree with your observation. He completely folded on rightfully defending his earlier assertions and even his wrong predictions. It was the same in his interview on Swedish TV a week or so ago. Considering he was part retired when Covid broke out and since then has been subjected to abuse on social media, apparent death threats and criticism by some of his peers (the 22) in Sweden it’s not surprising that he’s a changed man. He’s also a man of few words which was apparent in his first Freddie-interview, which makes it impossible to counter the barrage of assertions which Freddie had assembled this time. Not only a shame but a tragedy for a man more competent and respectful than most in this nightmare we are living through

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago

Given the alarm about COVID-19 during the past year, I’m confused by the statement below from Public Health England, can someone please clarify?
Status of COVID-19 – As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK.
The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCIDcriteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID. (My emphasis.)
See: High consequence infectious diseases (HCID) Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England.

Last edited 3 years ago by Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Subsequent summaries don’t even mention COVID-19, see: High consequence infectious diseases: monthly summaries These reports detail high consequence infectious disease (HCID) events that are detected during PHE’s epidemic intelligence activities.
Am I misinterpreting this? With all the alarm about COVID-19, why isn’t it classified as a high consequence infectious disease?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

Government statement on that below:
“Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.”
From Full Fact Website.

Elizabeth Hart
Elizabeth Hart
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I included that info in my first comment about the HCIDs…
My point is, there has been extreme alarm about COVID-19, panic about ‘cases’ and deaths etc, and yet it’s not considered a high consequence infectious disease by Public Health England, and mortality is considered low overall…so what is going on?!?!

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

It’s been obvious since summer 2020 – the politicians are doing everything they can to con the sheeple.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Hart

The hospitals are no longer bunged up with Covid cases and probably won’t be again, until maybe autumn 2021

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Why are they not “bunged up” with that astronomical number of cancer patients and others we heard much about? Or is that another myth?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Because admitting patients to a hospital isn’t something you turn on like a tap.
The bottleneck seems to be diagnosis – that includes tests and investigations like CAT and MRI scans – all slowed down because of cross infection concerns.
The 3 pals I know of who have been battling cancer over the last year have all continued with their treatment unrestricted.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

So we have a Catch 22 scenario?
Turn up for a CAT scan and get Covid?
Rather like the recent past when attending for a MRI scan meant C-difficile or MRSA was more than a possibility.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

Another reason to get vaccinated.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Agreed.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

Fergusons’s model predicted 96000 deaths in Sweden by May 2020 unless strict Lockdowns were immediately put in place. Death from all causes in Sweden for the whole year was 98000 (!)
Here is an article, which is also my source, diving deep into Sweden’s official statistics for 2020.
https://softwaredevelopmentperestroika.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/final-report-on-swedish-mortality-2020-anno-covid/

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
3 years ago

To my eye, it really doesn’t matter what one does. If you lockdown you just prolong the agony but in the end the area under the death curves vs time ends up being the same.
As an example, if one looks at the deaths per million for Sweden, the US and Germany one finds some interesting things. The situation last March/April was clearly different between these countries with Germany having many fewer deaths/million. But look at the second season from Oct 20 to the present: The curves for deaths/million are basically superimposable for the US, Germany and Sweden, including the so-called bumps for Thanksgiving, despite the fact that neither Sweden nor Germany celebrate any holidays over the Thanksgiving period. In other words, now that COVID-19 is endemic, the results in terms of deaths/million are much the same no matter what one does. Peaks may come a little earlier as in France and Austria, but the end result is the same.
The other fascinating finding is that if one compares the US and Germany from oct 20 to the present for number of cases per million, the curves for Germany are about a 1/3rd of those in the US, despite superimposable curves for deaths/million. Given that healthcare in Germany and the US are comparable, and there is nothing that is being done differently in the US vs Germany in terms of hospital treatments, it follows that the difference in cases/million is simply attributable to the amount of testing. For example, Germans may only go and get tested if they are really ill or need to go to hospital, while in the US a lot of healthy people are being tested and asymptomatic positives (many of which are likely to be false positives if 35 or more cycles of rtPCR are used) are adding to the numbers.

colinkingswood4
colinkingswood4
3 years ago

When people point out that Sweden had higher number than it’s neighbours, its worth noting that Norway and Finland’s “lockdowns” were very mild. They were closer to Sweden that to mainland Europe by a long way. Denmark was a bit more in line with mainline Europe. Finland basically closed schools and public buildings and that was all.

pfidopia
pfidopia
3 years ago

First, thank you Freddie and Unherd for allowing me to keep my sanity over the past year. I’m glad I found you at the start of the pandemic. As a Ph.D. microbiologist with over 30 years of experience, including working with SARS CoV2, Sweden is one of the few that got this right. Aside from all the easily measured collateral damage that will be accounted for in the coming years (e.g. suicides, over-doses, deaths from neglected “other” diseases, etc.), there will be other far-reaching collateral damage, such as epigenetic effects and societal costs of lockdowns, that will be harder to trace back to these terrible lockdowns.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  pfidopia

NYTimes reporting today that suicides fell 5% in US in 2020.

And Sweden’s press today reporting delayed routine medical care as they are too overstretched by Covid patients.

Not sure the facts fit your narrative…

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

It’s early days, give it time, be patient.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

You’re willing things to get worse in the face of evidence that Covid deaths and economic damage is reducing?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

No, I’m just sceptical, as you should be.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago

I wish commentators here better understood the meaning of scepticism.

pauline.k
pauline.k
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Perhaps you need a dictionary too.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

routine care delayed 2 weeks now in some — not all regions.
Mostly in Uppsala where they have a bad shortage caused not by bad covid but bad local council decisions resulting in not enough health care.
Even there non-routine things – like cancer — not at all.
Of course it it is annoying to have to have your hip replacement surgery delayed 2 weeks. I totally understand. But some surgeries, mostly cancer ones, cannot wait. I understand that, too.

Dave Tagge
Dave Tagge
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

That may be a mismeasurement.
I’ve looked at the underlying information. (I would post a link, but that triggers moderation hiatus. Google “US 2020 deaths by category”).
U.S. suicides in 2020 were down ~3,000 in raw numbers. “Unintentional injuries” – which notably include drug overdoses, plus various other categories (e.g., traffic accidents) – were up ~19,000. It’s the category where you’d expect to see unidentified suicides.
Here are the 5 year totals for the sum of those two categories, unintentional injuries plus suicides. Unintentional injuries account for ~80% of each year’s total.
2020: 237k
2019: 221k
2018: 215k
2017: 217k
2016: 206k

Rohan Loveland
Rohan Loveland
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

Your disinformation (and false narrative promotion) is noted, Eva.
Released this week by the Centers for Disease Control, the figures show that at least 87,000 people died from overdoses from October 2019 to September 2020. This amounts to a 29 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. 
NYTimes – yeah, right.

pfidopia
pfidopia
3 years ago
Reply to  Eva Rostova

I would add that the total numbers of suicides won’t tell the full story. We will also need to look at demographics. There is no shortage of headlines about young kids in a mental health crisis.

Last edited 3 years ago by pfidopia
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Is there any research going on into how countries with initially high recorded covid death rates are now seeing them fall markedly, whereas those with initially low recorded covid death rates are often now seeing quite the opposite?

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

In Brazil they keep going up. Hence Giesecke’s rowing back from claims of herd immunity without vaccines.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Brazil is an interesting case because they are responding differently to other non hard lockdown countries like South Africa – refer second wave. Both have a ‘wild, mutant’ variant but SA’s epidemic curve plummeted. No vaccines, close living conditions, inconsistent restrictions that could not make a blind bit of difference.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

“People were willing to give up more freedom than I thought they would. It worries me — there are many democratic rules and freedoms that have been curtailed. I think that may be one of the dangerous results of this pandemic.”

Yes. I live in a place where control of the virus has been remarkably effective, in part because most people are pretty diligent about doing their part, which is a good thing. But at the same time, lack of awareness or consideration of the trade-offs for democracy has been a little worrying, and seems to point to a society with a dangerous kind of passivity to its leaders.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Norman Powers
Norman Powers
3 years ago

Glad I’m not the only one who noticed that. This sentence was really surprising. Where did those numbers come from? The IFR of 0.2% seems largely unchallenged since the Ioannidis paper, with the Imperial College figure of 0.9-1.1% being widely recognized as far, far too high. Quite a few other authors have come out with ranges in the 0.1-0.3% range too, it’s not just Prof Ioannidis’ meta-study that claimed that. In fact the higher numbers date from January 2020, when virtually no mass testing was being done! IFRs do fall over time as more mild cases are discovered and a lot of mild cases were discovered over the past year.
Of course like all COVID statistics this one is built on a sandcastle because of the way COVID deaths are defined. Even 0.1% is likely too high if you insist on a definition of “people who are killed by COVID and would have lived otherwise”. It just isn’t a deadly disease as the experience of Sweden shows (age adjusted mortality equal to ~2012, when nothing much was happening).

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

What is the point of this debate? People in Florida and in nearly all the rural areas of the USA are living normal lives and ignoring this nonsense. Are the numbers even real? Do we even know how all these people died? Carl Heneghan has presented evidence care home residents were dying of thirst during the coronavirus. Deaths from diabetes, dementia, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc. all up. Why are Finland and Norway numbers better? Maybe they didn’t murder their elderly. Look at what happened in NYC. They were literally murdering people at the start of this by intubating everybody. Do we even know if the care they are providing ever improved? They shut down hospital care and according to Fauci there are no treatments for this only a vaccine. The majority of doctors have gone along with this nonsense. I suggest people choose their doctors carefully. The for profit health care system has been a complete failure and left the population at the mercy of oligarchs and big pharma. That is the real danger we face. Covid is the excuse to bring Western populations to their knees. Unfortunately it has been a remarkable success for the powerful.

Eva Rostova
Eva Rostova
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Please cite sources.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Not sure about NYC intubating ‘everybody’ but apart from that it pains me greatly to upvote your comment Dennis.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

The IFR is an almost useless statistic, particularly with Covid because in order to calculate an accurate ratio you need to know how many people are infected in the population at a specific time. This can only ever be an estimate with Sars Cov 2 as you are relying on a random seroprevalence sample of the population.
Also most notably with Covid 19 the IFR changes according to how old you are – the risk of catching and dying from Covid19 varies 10,000 fold from the age of 1 – 100.
Quoting an overall IFR for Covid is a perfect example of a meaningless mean.

Francis L
Francis L
3 years ago

Intra country comparisons using a snapshot of cases per million is highly misleading because most countries case counts are incorrect!! France, for instance, vastly understated cases in January and February as so many people were virtually “locked down” at home that they were not being tested.
Lockdowns may delay or defer cases but,absent full vaccination, they do not stop an endemic virus from spreading.
Until a country’s CFR begins to approximate its likely IFR, cases can only give you an idea of trends. Sweden, Denmark and the UK are among those with CFR close to likely IFR. Elsewhere, in more populous European countries, cases are still being seriously undercounted.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
3 years ago

There are those who don’t like the government response. There are those that do. There are those that don’t like the government regardless of viruses and those that do.
I am yet to see anyone either pro or against lockdown change their mind. Like Leave and Remain their heels are dug in.
Sweden with its population mainly in and around cities has lost over 13,000 people. London, watching the news, seemed deserted with over 14,000. Both have similar population sizes. We locked down making London virtually a population island.
Take this back to the first paragraph and guess who’d vote Sweden. Add Scotland’s 9000 with 5.5 million population far worse per million and guess who’d still vote Sweden? Personally, I like Sweden far more than the other two but I’m not sure they’ve done so much better compared to us and never Norway and Denmark, of Scots sized populations.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler