The United States was in about the same situation as northern Europe in mid-March 2020. We northern Europeans are probably possibly better than the United States on infection tracing and we have a better social capital (political science term for citizens’ level of trust in authorities and other institutions). If we suspect that we have acquired the infection ourselves we seek contact with the right authority instead of taking protection in a bunker with an automatic weapon in our lap should someone intrude on our bunker. There is nothing wrong with weapons, it is American users of weapons that are failing in their heads. That is not how we Swedes would act if we had access to small firearms. In addition, at the time it cost more than a 1,000 US dollars to test for Covid-19 in some states. It probably reduced the number of confirmed cases.
The figures for Covid-19’s spread probably had little to do with how many were ill at the beginning of the pandemic, and more to do with how many infected people were intercepted.
Trump declared the British coronavirus more sympathetic to the United States because Britons were allowed to travel to and from the United States without restrictions for the next 30 days despite having as many infected per capita as did for example Sweden have. The number of known infections in the US was at the time over 1,200 and the numbers increased rapidly, but relatively few Americans had been tested so the number of cases was probably larger. We can only hope that the British travelers were all exemplary infection-free. It is also fortunate that no homeless person has yet been affected because they lack the money to consult a doctor, so fortunately it is a class issue and only the middle class and the rich are affected in the United States.
”In an extra televised speech to the nation, President Donald Trump announced that all travel from Europe would be stopped. The exception was travel from the United Kingdom and American citizens who had undergone careful examination. The United States imposed similar travel restrictions on China when the virus began to spread there, something the EU did not do, and Trump now blames the corona outbreak in the United States on European travelers.” Quote SR; Ekot on 12/3 2020
The United Kingdom otherwise had almost exactly as many infected as Sweden per capita. No, this is not about the risk of infection, it is politically and economically motivated.
It looks like Covid-19 is a seasonal and weather-sensitive virus. It should come as no surprise. If you look at the climate zones, you can see how the virus in mid-March 2020, in the big perspective, stayed within a certain zone. Interestingly enough, Spain did at first not have a Covid-19 outbreak to the extent that they had in Italy. The tourists in Spain are mainly northern European. Italy receives many tourists from China and Northern Europe and America. Australia has many Chinese citizens but they only had about 200 cases of Covid-19 infected in mid-March.
I would also like to say that the government in Sweden was right not to force the schools to close. We have passed the time when we could have stopped the virus from spreading in our society. Forcing the schools to close would only have created a panicked situation and the hoarding of toilet paper and other life necessities. The only good thing that could have come from forcing the schools to close is that we could have gained a few weeks of activity, so that we or others could have had time to produce and manufacture a vaccine on a large scale. But making a vaccine takes time. Distributing it and organizing the vaccination also takes time.
We could see early whose population panicked and hoarded the most toilet paper. From the Swedish supermarkets, during the first half of the year, only toilet paper was hoarded, and some shelves with canned jars were empty. I have seen live videos from the USA where all the shelves in the entire supermarket were completely empty.
We could have closed our borders but we have no border controls. But if we were to close our borders, we should do so by being selective with who we let into our country based on where the travelers recently came from, so that we damaged our economy as little as possible.
China caused its own panicked situation by enforcing drastic and draconian measures such as nailing down doors and windows in building complexes with, it is said, the people still inside them without the tennants having any exit route from the building.
If new measures are to be introduced, care should be taken to base these measures on virological facts, mathematics and algorithms now that we have a better grasp of the situation.
Israel had extremely low death tolls, around a total of 100 total until mid-April 2020. This is because the Israeli government from early on used Mossad as a torpedo to vacuum the global market for respirators and other medical equipment for its own population.
What I would like to say to the world regarding Covid-19, is that what your politicians should do is take responsibility and saying:
”We can not lock down large companies in our country in the coming months, it will hurt the economy too much. There is even a risk that civilization as we know it will stagnate permanently. We can not expect our doctors and nurses to have to decide who is allowed to live and who is to die, but we should not take any responsibility, about which group of people must risk death and who will be allowed to live? If we do not soil our hands with blood, then we can not be said to be statesmen.”
”Isolate the elderly and the people at risk, not the average worker.”
Which general would you prefer to put your life in the hands of as a soldier, the general who saves everyone and no one, or the general who orders military doctors to save those who have a chance to survive?
According to Trump, we Swedes, he claims, internationally or in the world are known as ”the herd”. It stems from something that was discussed in the United States recently – herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a sufficient group of people in a society have had the virus and recovered from it so that society gets an immunity as a group.
It is the rest of the world that is ”the herd”, we go our own way. But if he means that we are a nation, then he is right.
I’m not a social Darwinist, I’m a realist. If there was any other method that could really protect the people at risk without damaging the economy too much, I would advocate it. But no matter how we handle the situation, Covid-19 will spread in Sweden, just as it will spread in the rest of the world all the way into nursing homes and into the healthcare system, and has already done so. Few or no countries have succeeded in artificially stopping the spread of infection for any pandemic. The only thing one can hope for with restrictions on freedom of movement is to slow down the spread of infection, but at a high cost to the economy.
Reasonably, the only benefit of trying to postpone the spread of the epidemic in a country is that we then have time to prepare and have time to take action. We have three research teams that works around the clock to produce a vaccine. But we have failed to prepare healthcare for the effects of the epidemic.
The biggest risk to the economy are the oil-producing countries. They are sensitive to extreme economic downturns in the world. It could be that many of the oil-producing countries lack sufficient robustness in the economic system and that the oil taps are permanently shut off due to unprofitability so that oil traffic stops abruptly. Thus we should act proactively for Sweden and the Nordic countries.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell and his decision on how to handle the epidemic in Sweden has mostly been for the better. He has acted as a statesman and reasoned logically and rationally. I have got the impression that a majority of the Swedish people still have confidence in the way Tegnell has handled the matter. I have also got the impression that the Swedish people are well aware of what they should do to prevent the spread of infection and that they also have a high level of awareness about what measures have been taken by the Swedish Public Health Agency. And I believe that there is a great incentive for personal initiatives and personal responsibility among the Swedish people.
It doesn’t pay to argue that Sweden’s death toll was higher than the outside world’s because we document deaths more accurately than the outside world does. It may be true, but it will not stop those who are malicious towards Sweden from throwing back selected information and claim that Sweden certainly has a higher death rate per capita of the Covid-19 virus. The devil lies in the details!
How should one then respond to the outside world’s criticism? By proclaiming that Sweden intends to wait and see how the spread of infection has peaked in Sweden by comparing our data with the outside world. A contagion curve over time is comparable to the contagion curves of the outside world. It doesn’t matter how you have handled the spread of infection, the curves will be comparable when this is over, not before. What makes a difference is the extent to which countries’ healthcare workers have had access to face masks and other protective clothing and protective equipment as well as alcohol gel. One more thing comes into play. How different countries have handled their epidemic in different stages. And the social capital of a country plays a big role for what rate the infection spreads in. We can look at Somalis in Sweden. We can see it in our suburbs. These people largely lack social capital. ”Social capital” is a political science term that means; The degree to which citizens have confidence in the authorities and vice versa.
It is telling, however, that in the most recent Swedish peak to date, 4 November 2020, Sweden had turned the death curve to a low 4 deaths of 4,497 infected. By comparison, when Israel peaked again on September 30, they had 37 dead out of 9,078 infected. But then many of our oldest Swedes have sadly already died of Covid-19.
I understand why in the first half of the pandemic, people outside the group who had been traveling in risk countries and healthcare staff were not tested. It is perhaps mainly in China and Italy that test kits are manufactured, and these countries frequently tested their own population. But they had no overproduction on test kits and used that method excessively for their own part. We simply could not get enough test kits.
The number of deaths does not have a strong correlation with the number of infections. I wish that when this pandemic is over, people who suspect that they have had Covid-19 will continue to test themselves, even if it turns out that these people have not had the virus, but that they have had a completely different virus.
What do we gain from such a voluntary test then?
- First, we get a better picture of who is immune to a later epidemic, and the negative effects on society’s functions will then be less, as will as the risk of rapid spread of infection will be less.
- Secondly, we may find out how accurate the infection statistics are. Could it be that the infection came to Sweden earlier than we think? In February, we only tested Italian and Austrian travelers. But outside that group, the infection may have spread in the country already in December or January.
On April 17, 2020, Trump went on the air along with the entire professional infection control corps, and Mike Pence also participated. Trump said at the press conference that the United States would test millions of Americans for immunity to Covid-19. On April 18, an Israeli stock-conservative online media that I follow to keep up with the situation in the Middle East and Israel in particular, issued a statement saying that Mossad had helped Israel with the transport of a million protective masks and thousands of respirators to Israel. At the Swedish Public Health Agency, they said, the day after Trump’s statement, that Sweden ”currently has no plans to test people for immunity”. It’s a nicer way to say ”we made a mistake”.
Some time before these statements, Trump went out to the media and said that ”I have control over when we will open the economy.” I also understand why Trump was so careful to point out that ”frankly, I think one dead is too many” several times. He wanted to distance himself from Sweden’s alleged herd mentality and our alleged strategy with ”herd immunity”.
Sweden violates human rights when they sacrifice the elderly, international law researcher Katinka Svanberg wrote in a debate article in Göteborgsposten on 23 April 2020. Katinka believes that Sweden should introduce binding restrictions in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Firstly, it has not been established that binding restrictions in the long run will save more people. Secondly, no one in the government has said that Sweden strives to achieve ”herd immunity”. Sweden is not ”an experiment with herd immunity”.
The UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that everyone has the right to health and that the state must prevent epidemics: ”prevent, treat and combat all epidemic diseases and create conditions that ensure all medical and hospital care in the event of illness.”
Sure, but pretty much the whole world was fighting for the same few resources right then. Sweden does not stand out here, not in terms of prevention and treatment. We do the rest.
”EU:s fundamental rights include a general ban on discrimination. The elderly must not be discriminated against and must be treated with dignity.” Says international law researcher Katinka.
Here I agree with Katinka. But Sweden has no ”intentious ending of elderly life”. In Sweden during the Covid-19 epidemic, priority is given to care, ie. respirators, to those who have a chance to survive. It could be a 20-year-old who is considered not to have a chance to recover and therefore is not allowed to occupy one of the few and precious oxygen breathing assistive devices. But most of the time, unfortunately, these are really old people. It is not intentional to prioritize away many elderly people, it is intentional to prioritize those who can be saved first and foremost.
Katinka writes ”In March, Australia and Sweden had the same number of covid 19 cases, about 5000. After the Australian government shut down society, the infection curve fell from 400 cases per day to about 20 per day, which means that restrictions can be lifted before so that a British vaccine may be available in the autumn of 2020.”
Katinka points here to a figure of 5,000 patients in Covid-19 in Australia in March. But that is not true because it was 500 when Australia peaked at the end of the same month. And it was not until the end of April that the numbers dropped to ~20 ill per day in Australia. Sweden had 280 patients at the end of March. In a different climate, albeit we peaked later. In addition, Sweden certainly has binding restrictions, it is just that we have not implemented a special monetary fine or other penalties for violating the prohibition rules in Sweden. Sweden still has a high ”social capital”, which political scientists call the trust between government and the population. At least as far as Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Public Health Agency and Sweden’s citizens are concerned.
”But the right to life is not worth much if a pandemic rages freely,” writes Katinka.
It’s not like that.
”The right to protection against pandemics is part of the concept of human security which is part of a state’s duty to protect its population in urgent humanitarian emergencies… If the state fails to protect its population, it should receive help and advice from international experts, like WHO, or otherwise face international sanctions.”
Sweden reserves the right to act on its own initiative to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other epidemics within Sweden’s borders.
Finally, Katinka writes that she is worried about her 84-year-old father, who is ”from the time when ”folkhemmet” (state induced workers union) was built”.
I dare say that Katinka has her loyalty elsewhere than to Sweden, but if her father was involved in building the Swedish folk home, he deserves the best possible care. But it almost would not matter in which country he lives, he would at the time have problems getting respiratory breathing assistance.
In a political video channel on Youtube by Kim Iversen from the end of April 2020, it is stated with good cause that most people are infected at home or in other closed spaces, and that outdoor living does not give the same spread of infection. This shows that Sweden has not chosen the wrong path if it is true. It may not show that we have chosen a better path than the outside world in terms of the spread of infection because it would have happened in any case, but our path has been less harmful to society as a whole. My conviction is that, just as I concluded in this spread of infection, Anders Tegnell and the National Institute of Public Health had these factors in mind when we began to diverge from the outside world on how we should handle the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Sweden.
What is the difference between public transport in Germany and Sweden? Does Germany have public transport? Of course they have. But they do not have many buses, they have rail traffic, and it is probably the buses that are the worst villains. Each passenger touches the same places on the same poles in the bus to hold on to something when the bus starts to move even before people have had time to find a seat. And if you have to stand up during the bus trip, you have to grab the same poles as everybody else. Unlike Germany, Sweden has a lot of public transport by bus, and we were affected almost twice as much as the Germans in terms of the number of infections per capita. That is at least part of the explanation to Sweden’s high infection rate.
Sweden’s refusal to let Chinese owners into our ports has probably relieved Sweden’s strategically difficult situation. Russia may, or may not, want to see a Chinese sphere of influence in the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Bothnia or on the West Coast as welcome. The more we oppose Chinese interests in Sweden, the more it affects Russia. But they probably do not want us to know it, nor how it affects them. But that does not mean we can sit back and relax. China has reportedly recently set up a military base with the greatest possible obscurity somewhere in the Stan countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan. I do not think this is welcome in the Kremlin.
The Kremlin had hoped to see that Trump won the election in the autumn of 2020 and went all in with Russia to attack Sweden economically and (by Russia) later militarily. This would of course be an extreme situation and we are not there today. Trump has even wished Kim Young-Un well, and the man has threatened the United States with nuclear weapons. But Sweden’s anti-Trump sentiment Trump cannot swallow.
I understood from SR;Ekot that there was something called TINA in the financial world in the USA since the autumn of 2019. Tina stands for; There Is No Alternative.
Huawei sent threatening letters to the Danish Prime Minister:
”In Denmark, it is now reported that the Chinese tech giant Huawei in threatening terms in letters to two different prime ministers has tried to influence the country’s government.
It is the newspaper Berlingske that has read several letters from Huawei Denmark to both the former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the current Mette Frederiksen.
In the letters, the company writes, among other things, that it wishes to be involved in the expansion of the Danish telecommunications network of the future and that the media coverage of the company contains errors that it wants to clarify.
But in one of the letters, the company writes that if Huawei were to have problems in Denmark, it would seriously affect other Chinese companies’ willingness to invest in the country, something that can be interpreted as a threat.
The letter was written in March 2019 at the same time as the large Danish telecommunications company TDC was in negotiations about who would be awarded a contract for the 5G expansion in Denmark. In the same month, TDC switched from Huawei to Swedish Ericsson as a supplier of a new 5G network in Denmark. A decision prompted by a debate over Huawei’s relations with the Chinese government.
In an email to Berlingske, Huawei denies that the company had in any way tried to threaten the Danish government.
David Rasmusson, Denmark correspondent ”
SR; Ekot on Thursday 14 May
Of course, it depends on what you put in the concept of what a threat is. The real reason why China is bullying Sweden and refusing to sell face masks and other medical equipment such as respirators in these Covid-19 times, or selling defective equipment, is that they want to get rid of competitors to Huawei regarding 5G systems, and we do not allow it. The methods they use are communist authoritarian and should discourage all normal people from doing business with China in the future. They can do nothing against us from a military perspective, which would not automatically lead to immediate or imminent economic collapse for their regime, e.g. if they were to use nuclear weapons or explicitly threaten us with nuclear weapons.
We did not know until the autumn of 2020 if there would be a second wave of Corona. Nobody knew. We did not damage our economy that much, that is true, but then the big EU countries wanted to deprive us of our money just because we were smarter than them. That was solely the Germans’ idea. Our not-too-smart prime minister thought he was helping Sweden by answering the EU that all EU countries affected less severely than Italy and Spain should pay for the failures of these two countries. And I who thought that it was Sweden that was a failure? Note, traces of irony may appear in that comment. The Germans in particular should pay, I think that was the idea of our Prime Minister. I’m not saying anything bad about Italy or Spain, but I will take the opportunity to speak up against Germany.
A statistical comparison:
Sweden, 10 million inhabitants
Infected June 24 first peak 1,698
Infected November 4, second peak 4,497
Deaths Sweden 15 April first peak 115 deaths
Deaths Sweden 26 October second peak 12 dead
Germany, 83 million inhabitants
Infected March 28 first peak 6,294
Infected November 7, second peak 23,399
Deaths Germany April 16 first peak 315 deaths
Deaths Germany November 6 second peak 166 deaths
Israel, 9 million inhabitants
Infected April 1 first peak 120
Infected September 30, second peak 9,078
Deaths Israel April 15 first peak 13 dead
Deaths Israel 8 October second peak 47 dead
Iceland, 365 thousand inhabitants
Infected April 1 first peak 99
Infected 8 otober other 2 peak 106
Deaths Iceland April 1 first peak 2 dead
Deaths Iceland November 7 second peak 2 dead
Australia, 30 million inhabitants
Infected March 28 first peak 458
Infected July 30, second peak 721
Deaths Australia 7 April first peak 6 dead
Deaths Australia 4 September second peak 59 dead
United States, 328 million inhabitants
Infected April 24 first peak 36,741
Infected July 16 second peak 75,687
Infected November 6, third peak 132,797
Deaths US April 15 first peak 2,752 deaths
Deaths US June 25 second peak 2,466 deaths
Deaths US November 4 third peak 1,616 deaths
We can clearly see on paper that Sweden had its first peak in the death toll more than two months before we had our first peak in the number of infected. So we tested far from enough at this time and consequently we counted the spread of infection according to what the death toll looked like, more or less a guess work. We are also more rigorous in what constitutes a death in Covid-19. During the autumn spread of infection in Sweden, justifiably few people die from the virus, despite four times as many infections as during the spring spread of infection. Germany, Israel and Iceland have all succeeded better in protecting their inhabitants than Sweden has done. But our situation with a lack of equipment and test kits was probably worse than all these countries, at least as far as Germany and Israel are concerned.
Even if Sweden had closed down to the same extent as e.g. Germany did, we would not have relieved the health care system. There were many more who became infected and fell ill in Sweden than we had medical equipment for, and probably that would have been the case even if we had shut down our entire country. I’m mainly thinking of respirators. What we could have done, however, is to compete better for the little healthcare equipment that were available on the global market during the pandemic. This applies not only to respirators but also surgical masks, alcohol gel and body protection. If we had managed to do that, we could have saved more people. But unfortunately, the anti-Swedish incentives in the world are very tangible. People with positions of power in large parts of the world are largely trying to not only ignore our attempts to buy medical equipment but also actively oppose us by stabbing us in the back when they can about how we handled Covid-19. Even Germany does so, which is strange because we Swedes have done a lot of good for Germany. Not even Norway, Denmark and Finland miss a chance to strike a blow under our belts. But we will emerge victorious from this.
I believe that the number of deaths for some countries and some states in the United States, such as my own country, Sweden, is high because they, our politicians, never planned for an epidemic even though we have already had several Corona virus outbreaks in the 2000s. We had Sars, the Bird Flu and the Swine Flu. One of them is not a Coronavirus, but it does not matter to my argument. We must not learn that our leaders neglected to prepare for a new pandemic and in some cases even scrapped the stocks of medical equipment.
But the Chinese do not like the United States, Britain and Sweden because our governments have high principles against the totalitarian regime in China. For Sweden, we can take the example of Sweden’s support for the Chinese-Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who published controversial books in Beijing’s eyes, before the Chinese regime captured him in Thailand. So we were not allowed to buy the necessary medical equipment from China when we needed it the most, neither as a state nor when Löven delegated the purchasing assignment after he had noticed that the state of Sweden was not allowed to buy any functional medical equipment at all from the communist state of China. Our nurses often had to work with Covid-19 patients without a mask or protective clothing or with defective equipment that was not even made for virus protection. That is the real reason why Sweden had such a high death toll.
It is difficult to use the number of deaths in Covid-19 as a marker of how effective a state is, because China selectively decided which countries to help with the surplus equipment it had available or could produce. The fact that different countries had different conditions at the start of the pandemic also affected the outcome. Germany, for example, had a much more robust healthcare system and more existing equipment than many other countries, including Sweden. Sweden had no contingency stocks at all. Sweden can do better than that.
The number of patients in Italy was very high at an early stage. Italy is one of the leading manufacturers of test kits, alongside China. So they could test more and faster. Sweden could not test to the same extent. We had no test kits. We do not really know what the spread of infection looked like in Sweden. But we know how many dead we got, and there were many, especially in nursing homes. The Italians knew what the spread of infection looked like in their country, but they did not know who died of what because they did not have the same control over the cause of death as we Swedes had. It will thus be difficult to compare the spread of infection then.
Beijing was behind the fragmentation of the Western world in the wake of the Coronavirus, fear and confusion, by being selective with whom they helped. They exploited schisms between countries or at least did not oppose the development of schisms. It almost seems as if Beijing had prepared for the next pandemic that came from China, not by trying to prevent the spread of infection, but by planning to broadcast terror propaganda with e.g. film clips from inside China of people standing upright on the street one moment and collapsing dead the next. The horrors portrayed in various YouTube videos were partly genuine, but nowhere in Europe or the United States have there been reports of people standing up one moment and collapsing dead the next.
It was probably so that Stefan Löven and his government reacted to China’s hostile actions, when our government by legislation excluded Huawei from supplying telecom networks to Sweden’s 5G networks, and they are also being phased out of the 4G networks, as China is a security risk. To Say ”China’s hostile actions” is another way of saying that they are unreliable. The long-standing collaboration between Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and China will also soon end. In September 2020, the state-owned space company announced that it will not enter into new business contracts with Chinese customers. Existing contracts will not be extended either.