Did Sweden Get It Right?

Sweden — land of the free, home of the brave

“Cui bono?”
“To whom is it a benefit?”

Many axes are being sharpened on the grindstone of pandemonium. The government is (as usual) using this pandemic as an excuse to take even more power from the people. Corporations are using it as an excuse to get bailed out from their bad decisions. Individuals are using it as an excuse to not work. I am sure all of this is building toward the justification of even more drastic measures, to be taken for our “safety.” It reminds me of the lead up to the Iraq War. Endless fear-mongering. Shameless disinformation. And a war on anyone heartless enough to question the “narrative.” Those people couldn’t get close to prime time.

I also remember watching, with horror, John Pilger’s documentary on the embargo of Iraq prior to our invasion. When one considers the policies that democratic nations put in place to deprive the average Iraqi of vital food and water, it only seems logical that they fought us tooth and nail when we launched a full-scale assault on their country. Let us not forget the coup that was launched against Saddam that we never supported — the leaders and participants were rounded up and exterminated.

It’s almost as if the global leadership of the “free” world is more interested in the perpetuation and expansion of war, disease, and poverty, rather than their redress.

I asked in my second post on the present crisis why China had not published more positive statistics than they did. They usually, after all, lie to make themselves look good. There is no such thing as journalism in China — only propaganda. The truth makes it only when it makes the Communist Party look good.

In my last monthly newsletter (which you can sign up for here), I sent out this interview of one of Sweden’s chief (former) epidemiologists. He argued strongly against lock-downs of any kind. This is the route that Sweden has taken as nation.

And it is working out for them. This post outlines exactly how over-blown this entire crisis has become. My initial position on this crisis was caution until more data became available. However, as data has accumulated and the economic harms have come home (and they will claim many lives, probably more than the pandemic), it has become increasingly clear that locking down the entire country was an over-reaction. The media is ignoring these statistics. After all, the more fear they can monger, the more of their rags they can sell. Still, there are many factors muddying these waters that are worth discussing.

  1. Most patients who are dying from the virus are already ill. We, as a society, have become increasingly unmoored from the realities of “health.” Health does not mean a lack of health “problems.” It does not mean a normal body-mass index. It means being robust and physically fit. This also implies being able to rest and recover well. Appearances can be deceiving. This is artificially inflating the death toll. The Chinese data was alarming, because many younger patients died as well. We can see from the rates in places that are less polluted just how toxic China’s environment has become. Likewise, rates of smoking may explain elevated death rates in Italy.
  2. It is well known that many people who die of “flu” (or any infection) are already dying of something else. Someone with late stage cancer who is dependent on oxygen and IV fluids is just one infection away from death, no matter what we do. One of the questions that always comes up on death certificates in winter time is what to attribute the cause of death to. Was it flu? Heart failure? Pneumonia? Were those infiltrates in the lungs fluid? A bacterial infection? An old scar? It is hard to know. It is also, largely, academic. When it impacts the actions of free, healthy people, however, it becomes a vital matter of policy. When what I put on a death certificate can change the fate of the small business down the street, then it is important for these records to be policed and regulated properly. I strongly advocate that they should not be politicized in this way. The statistics on influenza deaths are routinely used as fear-mongering propaganda to justify yet another big-pharma money-maker for which the evidence is questionable. COVID is just another excuse for them to drum up business for a new vaccine.
  3. These other diseases have not taken a day off. We should compare the impact of this virus to the estimated, expected mortality, in the absence of the virus. The number of deaths per day in 2020 are comparable to those in 2019. As of this writing, approximately 66,000 Americans have died of this virus. Compare this to the fact that every year, 2.8 million Americans die. This means that approximately 240,000 people die every month in America. Has this number increased dramatically in the first half of 2020?

This is where the data from Sweden is quite revealing. They have not suffered the number of deaths that were anticipated by the now infamous Imperial College model (a model that will live in infamy for a long time).

Photo by Jonathan Brinkhorst on Unsplash

It is worthwhile to ask if we are comparing apples to oranges. There are many differences between, say, the United States and Sweden. What metrics might we quickly use to draw some comparisons?

Are Americans sicker than Swedes? The average life expectancy of Americans is approximately 75. For Swedes, it is 80. Americans are fatter than Swedes, but not by much. The average American body mass index is 28.8, while that of the average Swede is 25.8. However, the average American is younger than the average Swede. The median age in America is 38, while in Sweden it is 41. Urbanization rates are also similar — 82% in the United States and 87% in Sweden. I drew all of this data from Wikipedia — I assume it is reasonably correct.

The simple fact is that the numbers do not add up to more deaths this year than last year. Arthur Firstenberg breaks this down in his most recent newsletter. Sign his petition to subscribe. If this pandemic is worth shutting down the entire country over, shouldn’t the number of deaths be higher, rather than the same?

Here are a few other numbers that are worth chewing over.

Sugary drinks are linked to 184,000 deaths per year. Where is the furor to ban these toxic beverages? The number one and two purchases with food stamps? Junk food and soda. The government is slowly disabling and killing everyone who is on food stamps, by creating a food system in which they invariably buy unhealthy food. As for the rest of us, only the wealthiest and best educated know well enough or can afford to eat healthy, fresh, nutritious food.

The entire country has been shut down, without a shot being fired. People will lose their jobs, their homes, and their savings, because experts who might have known better chose to act over-zealously. I favored caution initially, in the absence of data. What I find ironic is that if half the measures we have enacted so far had been enacted sooner, this all might have been avoided. The data is now quite clear that this lock-down is doing more harm than good. Those at higher risk of death from the virus should still exercise caution, but the time for a return to normalcy has come. Sweden is leading the way. They are, at this moment, more free and more brave than any other Western nation, in preserving their liberties in the face of danger.

“The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it.” — Hippocrates.

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