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Sweden — going for herd immunity and using the 1918 Flu plan

It’s a big natural experiment

Swedish people are still going to schools, restaurants and gyms. Even the cinemas are running.  Apparently Sweden is taking the punt that there are many asymptomatic infections out there, despite having no data, and not doing any structured screening to get some either.  They are also betting that immunity to this form of coronavirus will last a lot longer than the coronavirus colds where herd immunity is irrelevant one year later.

All recommendations are made by the Public Health Agency.  Apparently they are learning from the 1918 influenza spread, and thus successfully “fighting the last war”. Swedish doctors are reportedly not happy about it. Probably because their idea of being doctors is not where you choose which 60 year old mother lives and which one dies, or where the doctors work round the clock and many of them get sick themselves, and some die. Gruelling is not the word.

Gatherings of 50+ people are banned, and the 70+ age group have been told to avoid social contact.

I predict that as the ICU units overflow, or even before, they will move to serious measures like the rest of the world as the inhumanity of the inadequate care becomes obvious. They will be dragged into tightening the rules daily as curves flatten everywhere else, but theirs continues to rise. People will hate it.

See Norway for example which appears to have peaked on March 27th. They are getting on top of the load. Currently Sweden has 4,700 cases and about 240 deaths. But Norway with the same number of cases has only 43 deaths, suggesting Norway is doing a lot more testing, or has a younger caseload.

In the last few hours Swedish authorities have updated their recommendations to vaguely warn people off peak hour buses, to postpone sporting matches, and to tell shops not to let as many people in, but not to let them queue tightly outside either. It won’t be enough. Though Swedish people are doing a part lockdown anyway voluntarily with passenger numbers down 50%. And unlike Italy, they don’t live in multigenerational homes, where teens can come home and infect grandma. Astonishingly 50% of Swede households are single occupants.

But the numbers still climb:

Peaking, Daily New Cases, Coronavirus, graphs, Spain.

….

 

As Swedes watch other countries plateau, politically, they will not be able to allow their own death toll to rise without following suit. Those pressures are growing rapidly.

The Guardian

Panic, though, is exactly what many within Sweden’s scientific and medical community are starting to feel. A petition signed by more than 2,000 doctors, scientists, and professors last week – including the chairman of the Nobel Foundation, Prof Carl-Henrik Heldin – called on the government to introduce more stringent containment measures. “We’re not testing enough, we’re not tracking, we’re not isolating enough – we have let the virus loose,” said Prof Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, a virus immunology researcher at the Karolinska Institute. “They are leading us to catastrophe.”

Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, who is leading the government’s handling of the crisis, advocates a strategy of mitigation: allow the virus to spread slowly without overwhelming the health system, and without recourse to draconian restrictions.

The government thinks they can’t stop it, so they’ve decided to let people die,” Söderberg-Nauclér said. “They don’t want to listen to the scientific data that’s presented to them. They trust the Public Health Agency [Folkhälsomyndigheten] blindly, but the data they have is weak – embarrassing even.

Sweden has the lowest number of acute care beds (general hospital beds) per capita in Europe. Interestingly, second lowest acute care beds is the UK, then Denmark, Spain and Italy. The highest number per capita is Germany.

Sweden with 10 million people has only 550 ICU beds which is about 1 ICU bed per 18,000 people (compared to 1 per 12,000 in Australia).

 

Peaking, Daily New Cases, Coronavirus, graphs, Spain.

Hospital beds per 1,000 people in Europe

The definitions of hospital beds and ICU beds are probably different around the world. The US has the lowest number of hospital beds per capita, but almost the highest in the world of Intensive Care Beds (1 per 3,000).

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Rating: 8.7/10 (32 votes cast)
Sweden -- going for herd immunity and using the 1918 Flu plan, 8.7 out of 10 based on 32 ratings

106 comments to Sweden — going for herd immunity and using the 1918 Flu plan

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    • #
      PeterS

      It’s always nice to have hindsight to see what we should have done. For now it’s too early to tell what approach is best. Some say we haven’t acted hard enough while others say we have over-reacted. Perhaps it’s a little of both depending on the specific restriction in question. In any case the damage has been done and we now have to start the rebuilding process. Let’s hope PM Morrison comes up with the right plan that will avoid Australia keep going down the tubes. One thing was for sure for some time. We were going down the tubes well before the pandemic hit. It just accelerated the process. The shock should wake a lot of people up. Time will tell if it works.

      41

      • #
        farmerbraun

        In hindsight we see that the NZ government didn’t seal the border , didn’t require quarantine, and didn’t require the non-essential people to go home and stay there, all the while insisting that they were doing all those things.
        In hindsight we see that they were faking the whole time.

        These were all conscious decisions I believe, but some believe it’s just general uselessness. It’s pretty hard to falsify that allegation of uselessness.

        30

    • #
      Craig Strange

      This analysis by Willis is faulty, at least by looking at his graph. The timing of interventions, not just a final number of distancing regulations is key to this sort of analysis….

      20

    • #

      Unfortunately Willis’s analysis is meaningless. My reply: http://joannenova.com.au/2020/04/ancient-technology-wins-quarantine-and-isolation-still-work/

      Quarantine and isolation is a textbook technique that even milkmaids in midieval times understood. Twelve days after nations get serious there is an obvious decline in growth rates.

      10

  • #
    robert rosicka

    What could possibly go wrong here ?

    21

    • #
      sophocles

      Indeed. Sweden’s Heroine, Little Greta, has claimed to have passed through the infection and come out the other side with only a little discomfort so it can’t be that bad, can it? Greta’s an X-Spurt so there’s no need for all the Xtra stuff.

      Thunberg as a surname is reputed to mean: a person or group who lived in[the] vicinity of or coming from an enclosed village, farm, or fenced area on hill or mountain.

      Yep, Greta’s mind is indeed well fenced.

      I guess we’ll just have to wait until some of the Swedish Ruling Class catch it and start dying — it will be the fastest about face in modern history.

      181

      • #
        farmerbraun

        Prince Charles has passed? I missed that.

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        • #
          sophocles

          Prince Charles?

          As in Charles Windsor?

          The English Prince Charles?

          The one hiding out … ah self isolating in Scotland? (like Bonnie Prince Charles before him …)

          He’s on the other side of the North Sea — sort of the Northern Hemisphere equivalent/version of Oz and NZ … but without the ANZAC treaties. As far as I know he’s still populating the world … and, as the anointed Heir, he’s not Pretending, either.

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          • #
            GD

            Prince Charles?

            But they reckon he’s beaten the virus and Camilla hasn’t caught it.

            That’s a positive for us oldies.

            40

            • #
              farmerbraun

              That was my badly expressed point ; that ruling classes do not necessarily die from Covid 19 , just like us.
              They probably fare much better than most.

              30

      • #
        GD

        Little Greta, has claimed to have passed through the infection and come out the other side with only a little discomfort so it can’t be that bad

        That’s about as believable as the claim that she can see CO2.

        81

        • #
          sophocles

          et tu GD?

          Robert summed it up perfectly with his “What could possibly go wrong here?”

          20

  • #
    • #
      sophocles

      Is the Austrian government sure, as in certain, there are adequate quantities of “basic masks” available to meet demand?

      Did China not clean them out over March?

      100

  • #
    Environment Skeptic

    In his recent well considered talk, Sam Vaknin postulates in part that we could have a partial lock-down. This makes infinitely more sense than full or no lock-down whatsoever. My gut tells me the hybrid approach is the way to go.

    The vulnerable and those with existing conditions should be locked down/targeted and not those who are relatively healthy/young and so forth. This makes perfect sense.
    From: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xO05rl1uYw

    “COVID-19: Mutating Viruses, Grandiose Doctors

    10,922 views
    •Apr 1, 2020

    81

  • #

    Swedish approach will mean acutely high infections and deaths early on, but the curve will end quickly (short spike curve), and so may well be rewarded with herd immunity.
    In other countries we’ll see a lower peak, but the pandemic will go on much longer (long protracted curve – with as many deaths) and may ultimately have to rely on immunizations for protection. I still favor Swedish model, but it’s not for the squeamish. They could pull it off if they manage to isolate/protect the vulnerable during the whole ordeal.

    91

    • #

      I quite agree on the long protracted curve Pierce, that’s the slow bleed deadly option that I’ve opposed from the start.

      But there is a third option — where we hit the virus hard, then have time to get armoured up and tackle it on much stronger terms with all the gear we need, plus some therapies, research and more training. In a couple of months we’ll know which forms of quarantine are most cost effective. We can do mass testing.

      The Let Them Die Fast option also assumes herd immunity is something worth achieving. It might be, but sometimes it’s worthless. With coronavirus-colds, immunity doesn’t last a year. Then we all get sick again? All that pain, and not much to show for it?

      Fighting this war unarmoured because we gave up at the beginning seems rather defeatist and callous to me. Some people seem pretty casual about locking up the over 70s for months, letting the odd 12 year old and 20 something die and assuming many people with high blood pressure won’t mind living in fear.

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      • #
        Bobl

        Not at all certain, the fast herd immunity option may well result in less overall deaths than the slow option because assuming vulnerable parties are adequately protected their exposure over time is short. We are headed for multiple long flat peaks where Sweden will probably have just one short peak. It’s much easier to protect vulnerable parties for 3 months compared with 2 years and they won’t go broke in the meantime. The way we are going we will probably have a Suicide rate greater than the Corona virus deaths because of the unbearable financial / family stresses being imposed by the government. For example there are already reports of custodial parents using corona to deny child access. We know that causes Suicides among non custodial parents.

        It’s the area under the curve.

        Not that I advocate that, this virus mutates quickly, I say move people into a physically distant quarantine area.

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        • #

          Bobl, Did I not say I don’t want the slow bleed option?

          Is the third option invisible? The area under that curve is vastly better than either of the first two killer options.

          The reality is that the inhumanity and pain of either of the first two horrible options means nearly every country that can afford to do the third option has ended up almost there — in various quasi forms of it, as I predicted they would.

          If they had started sooner and harder, we’d all be past the peak.

          41

          • #
            Bobl

            You did, and I agree, our government is expanding the area under the curve and we’ll pay both ways but even now we could geographically isolate and restart our economy while managing the infection pool with expanded testing, test everyone for 500 metres around every case as well as their contacts, (and 500m around any contacts found positive and contacts of contacts) eventually you’ll cover the whole infectious population and move them to the quarantine zone. No movements allowed out of any 500m grid that has had an infection for 2 weeks.

            This way we only lockdown hotspots and not the whole country remember 5000 infections 15269 towns.

            Even the hard and fast option does leave the bulk of the population open to later infection, no herd immunity. In the meantime we are waiting for a vaccine that historically has been unsuccessful … no vaccine for the common cold.

            It’s a tough call but frankly we DO need a strategy ( like I just outlined ) that can separate infectious people from the community without this economic turmoil and care guidelines for ordinary people to follow that just prevents the pneumonia because given the mutations so far I suspect this virus will now be with us forever, like the flu.

            00

    • #
      Rolf

      Immunity, works as long as there is only minor mutations. What if they have a hard time now and the come autumn and winter with a seasonal mutation like the yearly flu. Should Sweden go for herd immunity again ?

      Remember this virus is the same family and a mutation seem to have a high probability for now. Then any herd immunity achieved this time will not work next time.

      We also don’t know if long time effect on our body repairs fast or slowly. We know there might be damages and we don’t know the effect of these next time around.

      There is too much unknown to take a gamble like this. A governments first plight is to guard their people. I would argue the Swedish government failed already. Human rights include not to be part of any experiment without consent ! That is standard procedure at least when a new medicine is tested.

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      • #

        Does anyone know if SARS caused long term immunity, or if the SARS vaccine ever got past early tests?

        40

      • #
        truth

        The strategy we’re following finally now surely has to last until a vaccine’s available …and that’s not till mid 2021 at the earliest.

        If we all venture out again after the 6 months of this lockdown that the PM talks about..with the virus having picked off some of the old and other vulnerable people…but is still hanging around looking for hosts…with most Australians having no immunity …having tried to dodge exposure…surely the majority of Australians will be sitting ducks for the lurking virus.

        How can it be safe for the vulnerable to end their self-isolation unless the Hydroxychloroquine and other antivirals are as effective as we’re hoping for…or the virus itself loses steam?

        It would be useful to know how many healthy under-60s have died worldwide in this outbreak…and especially in Sweden.

        We don’t get enough information to know whether our strategy….after successive debacles…is reasonable or not…eg Sweden’s experience should be instructive but we don’t know if their high death rates are due to the health system inadequacies …the lax restrictions or the fact that they have very large ghettoes of possibly immune-compromised Muslim refugees….as France does.

        Many young and apparently healthy people died worldwide during the last bad flu season….did they not?

        00

    • #
      george1st:)

      Swedish approach will mean acutely high infections and deaths .
      Seriously , how high is acute ?
      What about the hospitals having to decide who lives and dies ?
      Normal emergency room casualties will be overwhelmed by the new stricken that could have been averted as in delayed .

      40

      • #
        farmerbraun

        What you say is true . It will happen.
        But where is the will to do otherwise?
        I cannot see it.
        In other news Scotty has overtaken Jacinda as they hit the back straight in the “Honestest Politician in the Universe” Stakes.
        Clever positioning around the first corner saw Scotty letting the rubes know that it’s six months minimum “lockdown”.jacinda stayed mum all the way around the curve , but let’s see what the nag has got in the tank.

        I’ve been thinking about the psychological effect of being declared non-essential. Then I remembered that psychologists are non-essential; so are sociologists.

        I’m not sure about population biologists. They’re quiet.

        I wonder how it feels to be a 90 year single female who is no longer free to visit family. Or someone fresh from kindy , with the flash Technology “degree”, who is decreed to be non-essential.
        It can’t feel good.

        But you can see how the State might suddenly need to employ lots of psychologists, in the Welfare department. And the medication is free.

        10

        • #
          farmerbraun

          I think that the herd immunity approach is universal. But some governments are pretending that they care , and so they do pretend border screening, pretend quarantine , and pretend lock-down because it’s a good look.
          The end result is the same.

          In NZ it just looks like a practice run for total lock-down in a severe economic catastrophe.
          Which might never happen.

          00

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Great example of why I haven’t watched TV for the last four years, only station surf the radio while driving and occasionally buy the Saturday papers.

          Good one Farmer, parody gets the message across:

          “In other news Scotty has overtaken Jacinda as they hit the back straight in the “Honestest Politician in the Universe” Stakes.
          Clever positioning around the first corner saw Scotty letting the rubes ,,,,,”.

          And the Message is ??

          Do It Properly.

          Even now after all this time we have medical staff, ambulance personnel, nurses, doctors still being exposed to primitive, substandard work practices.

          Worst thing about all this is the boaty border farce where 2700 high risk disembarkers flooded into Sydney. Startled citizens might be forgiven for thinking that it was done on purpose to give the COVO a bit of a pump start.

          Our governments in inaction.

          KK

          00

    • #
      America

      Yeah what you wrote about Sweden quick spike is exactly the opposite of what is occurring in Sweden but don’t let data and facts get in the way here…

      10

  • #
    ren

    Chinese county goes into coronavirus lockdown as country tries to get back to work amid fear of second wave
    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3078010/chinese-county-goes-coronavirus-lockdown-country-tries-get-back

    50

  • #

    It is possible that this virus simply converts a death that would soon have occurred anyway in a quiet hospital bed into one that, before it occurs, requires assistance with breathing via oxygen or a ventilator.
    In that case one would see that particular speciality overwhelmed whilst it becomes quieter than average in the rest of the healthcare system.
    Of course it would add some additional deaths because it is added on top of the average disease burden but such deaths occur from respiratory problems all the time. My wife lost a good friend many years ago, in her 20s, to pneumonia so such deaths are hardly unprecedented.
    The key is to observe how much of an increase in deaths occurs over and above the normal national death rate so that is the parameter to keep an eye on.
    At this moment the average death rate in the UK is running a bit less than normal due to a mild winter. It is likely to rise from Corvid 19 infections but by how much ?
    The issue, then, is whether any such rise is enough to justify closing down economic activity because that can also increase death rates from mental distress and problems in the supply of food and medicines worldwide.
    Is this really a problem for the UK NHS as a whole or just a burden on a specific specialised facility within the NHS ?
    Are we fighting a phantom and causing the cure to be worse than the disease?
    There is a reason why pneumonia was often referred to as ‘the old man’s friend’. It may have carried him off a bit sooner but saved him a load of suffering in the process.
    Something that alarms me is the idea of sick people in the process of dying quite naturally within a year or two being kept alive and aware artificially by means of painful, distressing, damaging ventilation when they might have preferred to pass away quietly under sedation.
    What are the current death rate figures in Oz ?
    In most of Europe the mild winter has resulted in a low influenza season which has created a pool of senior citizens who would normally have died already with flu imposed on top of underlying illnesses exposed to the depredations of Corvid 19 but in the end will the total death rate be much higher than normal ?
    Questions, questions.

    211

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      More good perspective.

      71

    • #
      Environment Skeptic

      Locking down the vulnerable (I call it a Partial hybrid lock-down) makes vastly more practical/logistical sense than full lock-down IMNEO (in my non expert opinion).

      By locking down the vulnerable, frail, those with pre-existing conditions, the need for hospital ICU’s would be significantly buffered. Mostly the healthy population without per-exisiting conditions are not going to need hospital treatment and should therefore not be subject to draconian measures…

      Sam Vaknin’s recent talk on youtube is a breath of fresh air.

      152

      • #
        WXcycles

        See if you still think that is a good logic 10 days.

        The Govt, economy, taxation and health care system raison-detre is only to benefit and needs the people.

        The people do not exist for the benefit and needs of a Govt, economy, tax system and health system.

        There is a valid order of priority.

        54

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Unbelievable.

          WX, did you read this before posting.

          Environment Skeptics comment is condensed wisdom, the like of which our Scomo and Jacinda seem incapable of assembling.

          Sadly we have leaders of the new world and not necessarily of their respective countries; but the biggest catch is that we voted for them.

          What does that make us?

          KK

          00

        • #
          farmerbraun

          “The people do not exist for the benefit and needs of a Govt, economy, tax system and health system.”.
          Yeah , right.
          Best you explain that to those who are more equal.
          Jeez Wayne :-)

          00

    • #
      Tanner

      Current death rate figures in Oz – about 160,000 people die each year from all causes. That is about 438 deaths per day!

      Influenza in 2019 – 310,000 cases with over 900 deaths. That is just under 3 deaths per day on average though it is higher in winter and lower in summer. So far in 2020 there were 17,910 cases of flu up to 23 March. 75% of flu related deaths are people over 65 with pre existing health issues.

      COVID-19 since 1st case in Oz – 4,864 cases with 21 deaths so far. That is just under 1 death per day. 100% of covid-19 related deaths so far are people over 65 with pre-existing health issues.

      130

    • #
      WXcycles

      In that case one would see that particular speciality overwhelmed whilst it becomes quieter than average in the rest of the healthcare system.

      When hospitals are overwhelmed no one will be getting good health care, not just (mostly) dying COVID-19 cases.

      At this moment the average death rate in the UK is running a bit less than normal due to a mild winter. It is likely to rise from Corvid 19 infections but by how much ?

      Stephen, you know better than this, on the current growth path factor of 1.327, on the 10th of April the UK reaches ~10,000 deaths in a single day. Just 24 hrs later on the 11th of April, it’s 13,000 die in the UK in a single day.

      The issue, then, is whether any such rise is enough to justify closing down economic activity because that can also increase death rates from mental distress and problems in the supply of food and medicines worldwide.

      Yes, it will be, at that point. I’ve been looking at the UK’s figures aghast for the past week, I can hardly believe how bad the peak will be there, if this continues unchecked like it currently is. The figures today are horrifying, UK has 29,474 total cases, 4,324 new cases, +16.0% new-cases of active-cases, and 7.98% deaths already! Sorry Stephen, you’re being much too pragmatic and relativist about this, mid-April will bring a genuine state of emergency, not just a declaration of one.

      Are we fighting a phantom and causing the cure to be worse than the disease?

      You really think it’s a phantom still? Seriously? Netherlands is gone already, Belgium is done also, France is a day behind, the UK is a day behind France, and Germany a day or two behind the UK. There is no ‘cure’ on offer here, just avoidance, or a survive verses died ‘digital’ outcome, your life is on or it’s off, 1 or 0.

      Something that alarms me is the idea of sick people in the process of dying quite naturally within a year or two being kept alive and aware artificially by means of painful, distressing, damaging ventilation when they might have preferred to pass away quietly under sedation.

      This is and always must be a personal level decision, not an unnecessary state policy decision. You can’t see that?

      What are the current death rate figures in Oz ?

      Extremely low, but I calculated the curve out and we’d reach Italy levels of deaths on ~14th of May, if we don’t lower the curve further from here. That would be a ridiculous national error and avoidable failure.

      In most of Europe the mild winter has resulted in a low influenza season which has created a pool of senior citizens who would normally have died already with flu imposed on top of underlying illnesses exposed to the depredations of Corvid 19 but in the end will the total death rate be much higher than normal?

      Yes, very much a YES.

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      • #
        sophocles

        There is a much cheaper, yet a probably highly effective, way which no one seems to want to consider. Why lockdown when it won’t be necessary?

        Instead issue every adult three months supply of Vitamin D3 tablets of 1000IU strength and repeat every three months. One tablet to be taken daily. Children can have half an adult tablet per day c. 500IU.

        According to English doctor John Campbell, (video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5yVGmfivAk speaking of the modern research into Vitamin D) that regimen will block — yes: prevent — around 70% of infections. At, say, 12c per tablet and 90 tablets for adults and 45 tablets per two children, per quarter (every three months) it will cost around $44.00 per adult per year and half that for each child per year ($22.00). Protection will cost c. $100.00 per 2 parent, 2 child family per year.

        Children make up about 50% of the population. For a population of 10,000,000, c. 5,000,000 will be children and 5,000,000 will be adults. That will cost c. $330 million per 10 Million population per year. It may only need three months (about $84million).

        The supplements will protect about 70% of those taking them. It seems then that about 30% of the population may need a few days off and of those, maybe 20% may/will need medical care. Hydroxychloroquine and a strong antibiotic (azithromycin?) can then be brought to bear on these.

        In those sort of quantities, vit-D tablets may well be far cheaper than my assumption, which will make the effort even less expensive.

        How many billions is the lockdown causing in lost economic activity?
        How much is it costing the hospitals and the medical personnel?

        Why suffer pounds of cure when ounces of prevention are available?

        80

      • #
        Chad

        Stephen, you know better than this, on the current growth path factor of 1.327, on the 10th of April the UK reaches ~10,000 deaths in a single day. Just 24 hrs later on the 11th of April, it’s 13,000 die in the UK in a single day.

        You should know better than to take such predictions from a “model” after the years of belly larfs we have had with the climate models.
        10,000 per day is so totally rediculous i cannot imagin how you might even think its possible
        I doubt even China has that level of mortality, even in secret.do you even stop to think before you post this rubbish ?
        Italy with far worse factors, chinese integration, age demographics, poor healthcare, etc etc, have never got anywhere near that level ,..and they believe they are past the worst.

        22

        • #

          Chad, how would you have any idea what the real death toll in China was?

          If a million people died in China (hypothetically) how would you know?

          10,000 per day is so totally rediculous i cannot imagin how you might even think its possible

          The only thing stopping that is the British people and what they did 4 – 12 days ago. As WX says, if the growth doesn’t slow, that is only 8 days away. The question is whether the UK changed the Ro with policy shifts that were effective between 4 and 12 days ago. If the action taken in that window is successful, the UK might avoid that horrible tally.

          Watch India, Turkey, Africa, South America.

          62

          • #

            A bigger question is how many in the (UK) have already had it with minimal symptoms.
            Charles and Boris don’t seem to have had much problem with it yet and soon we may be the first country to have an immune leadership.
            We really do need that antibody test.

            40

            • #
              Bobl

              There already are antibody (immunoglobulin) tests for SARS that work with COVID-19. They just aren’t using them. Not ready to look at immunity levels yet.

              10

          • #
            Chad

            Chad, how would you have any idea what the real death toll in China was?

            Jo, i dont know,…and did not claim to know,.. i just sited China as the accepted extreme for cv19 deaths.
            However, unlike some, i have learned to apply some common sense to any speculation , hence my comment.
            But, If the UK cv19 daily death rate ever reaches 10k, i will apologise to WXc ..
            ….and if it does not make 10k by April 10th, then i would expect similar from Wxc

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    • #
      truth

      From the comprehensive Annual Report on flu in the Netherlands in 2018/2019 flu season….for comparison….

      [ ‘Excess mortality gives an indication of the impact of any expected and unexpected events that potentially affect population health. Examples of expected events are heat waves, cold snaps, and seasonal influenza epidemics.

      • During the 2018/2019 influenza epidemic (of 14 weeks), increased mortality started in the 6th week of the influenza epidemic (week 3 of 2019).
      The 9 weeks thereafter (until one week after the influenza epidemic) showed intermittent increased mortality (5 weeks of increased mortality in weeks 3, 4, 7, 11, and 12 of 2019).

      • Mortality peaked in week 7 of 2019 with 3,249 deaths, which was 1,000 lower than the peak of 2017/2018.

      The mortality in week 7 showed an excess of 345 deaths above expected deaths.

      • Cumulative excess mortality during the 14 weeks of the 2018/2019 influenza epidemic was an estimated 2,894 (range in the previous 5 epidemics: 0 to 9,375 excess deaths), roughly half of the 5,757 average excess in the past 5 epidemics.

      • Excess mortality was estimated at 3,124 during the respiratory season (week 40 through week 20, and was on average 6,112 in the past 5 respiratory seasons).

      • Excess mortality was mostly observed in persons aged 75 years and older. ' ]

      https://www.rivm.nl/bibliotheek/rapporten/2019-0079.pdf

      Netherlands death toll as of today is 1339 with their first Covid-19 case recorded on February 26….their rate apparently still rising [after they closed schools and almost everything else including hairdressing salons on March 15..…except shopping facilities that remained open with distancing rules as here.

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  • #
    Boris

    Has anyone seen this open message to German Chancellor?

    He makes some very pertinent points.

    Corona-Krise: Offener Brief an die Bundeskanzlerin von Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi

    https://youtu.be/LsExPrHCHbw

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    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Words for Australia’s leaders to ponder.

      At the moment we have the usual Political/Media influence that has allowed politicians to be seen as “coming down hard” on the CV19 regardless of the usefulness of the action taken.

      The ensuing social/economic collapse caused by the Shutdown is going to be substantial with small businesses destroyed, banking and legal sectors asked to “hibernate”, self funded superannuation funds based on shares wiped out: what a future.

      It’s possible that there will be so many collateral damage victims of government “action” that Australian politics may be changed forever.

      We will shortly be a nation of unemployed people with a huge national debt who will never be able to trust government again.

      KK

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      • #
        PeterS

        The damage ha been done but look on the bright side. Our government will have to rethink their energy policy, namely dump it. We need a common sense and realist cone to help industry get back on their feet big time. That clearly means coal fired power stations galore.

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      • #
        WXcycles

        I remember my first day in Grade-1 at Mulgildie State School in QLD, the very first lesson was about safety and what to do and where to go if we hear the alarm and there is a fire and evacuation, etc. The number one point in that lesson was to leave all you possessions behind, nothing was more important than escaping with your life, everything else could be replaced, except your life. All this economic and moral relative-ism has lost sight of this most important first lesson in life. A prosperous economy is not more important than people. A contracting economy that still easily meets all the needs of everyone will be quite sufficient in an emergency, and will spring back thereafter.

        52

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          Talk about moral relativism.

          How much concern do you have for people who have worked saved and scrimped to build a future only to see it wiped out by misdirected government action?

          Farmers have been squeezed by government/bureaucratic arrogance, now it’s the city dwellers turn to join them in watching 20, 30 or 40 years work flushed down the drain .

          There was a better way to do this, but no, let’s play media politics and ignore science and process.

          KK

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          • #
            WXcycles

            Not buying that BS Keith.

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            • #
              farmerbraun

              You’ll never see soup kitchens and bread-lines in Australia , ever again.
              Yeah right.
              The kids don’t recognise those words “bread-line -whaddya talkin’ about? Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreaming.

              20

        • #
          Boris

          YXcycles,

          In war, deception, is the most efficient way to maneuver your enemy in to a position of weakness or even defeat him. Precisely because of the fear for your life you will comply with anything, even suspend reason!!

          They’ve been counting on that and it’s working out that way. You must keep your sword bright nonetheless.

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          • #

            In war, the enemy uses propaganda — in this case to pretend this virus has a low death rate, kills only the very old and infirm, and is “like the flu”. The Chinese hid the virus, hid their death toll, hid that it kills the young and healthy as well.

            I see the Chinese campaign has been very successful in making the West vulnerable. I see Chinese numbers and memes reported non stop in our media as if they were real.

            Skeptics might want to be, well, skeptical.

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            • #
              Boris

              I don’t know why my reply went to the bottom.

              00

            • #
              Kalm Keith

              Jo,

              I’m not going to respond to WXcycles.

              My thoughts on this matter are spread throughout the last few posts and obviously he has a single focus on the detail.

              It is on record that I do believe that the statistical comments have been less than scientific because, as with the global warming model, so many factors have been ignored/covered over or suppressed.

              In particular I have raised serious doubts about the use of simplistic statistics to compare Australia with Italy and then devise a plan of attack based on the Italian situation.

              Those who have read my previous posts may remember the “grandfather’s gardens analogy”?

              There are ways around our situation that could avoid shutting down the entire nation. These have been clearly stated and involve immediate quarantine for those infected.

              The reasons we are not using this sensible approach is that a lot of our PPE was passed through our borders to China by Border Force?

              Much easier for politicians to leave untested cases in homes and just Come Down Hard on “The Virus” that way. Perfect Media Image.

              I really don’t believe that the governments have any conception of the damage to businesses and lives that the Shutdown has dumped onto Australia.

              We can’t all work in academia or government and a lot of people will be scarred by this poorly coordinated action.

              I hope it resolves into something more actionable soon.

              I don’t think that the politicians have any idea of what a mess they are creating.

              KK

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              • #

                KK — Given that we don’t have enough masks, PPE, tests or beds then what ways could we use to get around this?

                The drastic action was necessary because our preparations were so inept. We left ourselves no options bar crushing the curve.

                If we had not done the drastic action then we would have continued with cases doubling every three days. From March 20th at 928 cases then with four doublings in 12 days we’d have 14,800 cases now. Our current quarantine has stopped 10,000 people catching this so far.

                Lucky we didn’t wait two more weeks for better data.

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              • #
                Chad

                If we had not done the drastic action then we would have continued with cases doubling every three days. From March 20th at 928 cases then with four doublings in 12 days we’d have 14,800 cases now. Our current quarantine has stopped 10,000 people catching this so far.

                Jo,
                That is not a very scientific conclusion ?
                In the world of AGW a dozen posts would have pointed out that it is correlation not causation with no means of verifying the linkage.

                30

  • #
    Slithers

    O/T
    How to create a market for dud Chinese medical equipment!
    Plunder the Australian stocks of good medical equipment then supply dud Chinese medical equipment.
    Australian Boarder Control have been seeing and confiscating what were certificated PPE masks, substandard or defective by the pallet load/plane load since end February. How many pallets did they not seize?
    The Chinese ship held up in Melbourne has many tons of medical equipment to unload. That ship was loaded in China, diverted to Taiwan then headed for Melbourne, fiendishly cleaver those Chinese.
    Could this entire sudden drive to import Chinese medical equipment be the tip of the scam to destroy western civilizations and leave the CCP world rulers?

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  • #
    Boris

    Keith,

    We are witnessing the wholesale destruction of capital in the derivative market. The whole global banking sector is insolvent.

    If this isn’t stopped we are going to see the destruction of the entire global economy and a new currency architecture will be imposed on us with green credits/debits entirely electronic which will be tied to our spending and investing behaviour.

    I suspect it will eventually morph into a social credit account which will be soft at first as long as we cooperate with the overall plan of smart cities etc…

    If this keeps going there will be many shortages and economic dislocations. The mechanism to manufacture, distribute, and buy goods will need to be centrally planned because money will be destroyed.

    We could see civil unrest and Marshall law follow this quasi house arrest.

    Problem is people are afraid to the point that they have stopped thinking. Nothing will be the same. I hope I’m wrong.

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    • #
      PeterS

      Boris, you are not wrong. The only unknown is the timing.

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      • #
        Boris

        I agree Peter.

        In my opinion the banking insolvency has been on the horizon for some time… It was papered over in 2008 and sold to the masses as solved. Their solution to the GFC was taking Lehman Bros. derivative portfolio which is linked to the rest of the derivative positions in the other major global banks and distributing it among those biggest banks and holding it “quarantined” – irony – but they knew that dealing with it would precipitate the biggest destruction of capital in history. That’s why they held it like that until they could roll out an alternative. But now they have devised a hasty plan – we didn’t buy into the green crap in time – to use the catastrophy for their new system.

        This scare has given them the plausible deniability and started the control op the populations with something that they will cooperate with and slowly ratchet up the house arrest to full lockdown to prevent any resistance. Resistance can’t organised or mobilise ordinary people in mass numbers with civil disobedience because most are now willing to take the risk.

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        • #
          Boris

          Sorry I was too quick to post. This is what it should read.

          This scare has given them the plausible deniability and started the control of populations with something that the population will cooperate with. Then slowly ratchet up the house arrest to full lock-down to prevent any resistance. Resistance can’t get organised or mobilise ordinary people in mass numbers with civil disobedience because most are now NOT willing to take the risk.

          This is like a mafia operation..Threats all around.

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    • #
      farmerbraun

      I really don’t see the queen of England going along with that; it sounds far too socialist for a monarch to contemplate.

      10

      • #
        Boris

        She’ll go along with what ever options the “owners” give her!!

        But she could always mobilise the Beefeaters to overthrow the owners.

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    • #

      Banks were always insolvent. It’s part of national policy.

      20

      • #
        Boris

        That’s right!

        It’s part of [inter-] national policy.

        … fixed it for you

        But now it’s extreme since the debts are so big and they are being added to hand over fist in trillions. It’s unstable ready to swallow the whole world.

        Last time I looked, which was a few years ago, the BIS quantified the global notional derivative value to be 5 times bigger than the global real economy. On the basis of the US the derivative value is 11 times bigger than the US economy. That’s the big sucking sound we hear when the media takes a breath and stops during their corona coverage

        20

        • #
          Kalm Keith

          MalEx444. Derivatives: of what?? Seven and a half Tonnes of Gold: sent to save the Reef.

          What can we do next.

          I know, we can turn The Flu into a new disease: let’s call it covo 19.

          Then we can sneak all the derivatives off to Wuhan to be burnt.

          Whatever happened to the Gold Standard?

          KK

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          • #
            Boris

            Whatever happened to the Gold Standard?

            The masters of the universe sabotaged it, albeit in stages.

            10

  • #
    Another Ian

    More exploring by Willis

    “Do Lockdowns Work??”

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/04/01/do-lockdowns-work/

    Take home message –

    “WEAR A MSK”

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    • #
      Bill In Oz

      1: Willis’ conclusion regarding masks is right ! . Unfortunately our Australian government still recommends that we NOT wear them

      2 : Willis does not include any data from Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Singapore and S Korea i in this post. Only Japan gets a mention on his charts.

      My conclusion is that he has tailored his data to suit his preconceived ideological conclusions ….
      NOT very Clever !

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      • #
        robert rosicka

        This might be surprising but some nursing homes are banning the use of masks by carers and nurses , the management don’t want to scare the patients !

        30

  • #
    Another Ian

    “Hydrothermal Therapy, Hot Baths, Cold Showers, Better Immunity”

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/hydrothermal-therapy-hot-baths-cold-showers-better-immunity/

    30

    • #
      Sunni Bakchat

      There’s method in the Scandinavian madness afterall. No mention of flagellation with birch tree branches!

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  • #
    Sunni Bakchat

    Seems all travellers returning to Australia are being placed into mandatory two week quarantine detention in capital city hotel rooms. Why aren’t these people being tested for Coronavirus? Is there not a test for this yet?

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  • #

    I would not be so quick to write off Sweden. There are huge risks with our approach that I have highlighted previously like the chance of a second or third wave situations. This is absent with the Swedish model.

    Other countries have the same curves as Sweden yet are practicing different methods.

    Time will tell but at least Swedens method does not destroy the economy and suggest far less suicides will result, these will never be counted as victims….but they are

    80

    • #
      farmerbraun

      If you were the King of Sweden , reliant on the health of the “cattle” to maintain a healthy economy and treasury, would you not do the same?
      It is only socialist governments that wreck , I mean “transform” the economy and let the cull of the aged and infirm happen , “accidentally” of course.
      Jacinda did try very hard to save the elderly , you know. Yeah right!

      30

      • #
        Chad

        Farmerb,..
        I think you got that backwards..
        Those practicing lockdowns are trying to prevent the elderly dying
        Swedens approach exposes all residents to the risk.

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    • #
      Rolf

      It’s not. A small mutation and you have to pay the price again.

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  • #
    Brad

    While I think the Swedish approach looks troubling they may well be considering the annual May suicide spike. In the end it’s about reducing deaths, no matter the official cause.

    10

    • #
      farmerbraun

      You can easily wreck the farm by having too many cattle.

      10

      • #
        Boris

        That’s the preoccupation that Club of Rome has – too many useless eaters, the ‘herd’ needs culling.

        They should be invited to lead by example, with the solution then we’ll follow later!!

        40

      • #
        Boris

        That’s the preoccupation that the Club of Rome has – too many useless eaters they claim, the ‘herd’ needs culling.

        They should be invited to lead by example with the solution by being culled then we’ll follow later!! :LOL:

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  • #
    John

    I for one applaud Sweden for volunteering to be the world’s taster!

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  • #
    Rolf

    The Swedish may be ok if we know there will not be a mutation for next season, and we also need to know the mortality rate when the health care system don’t cope. We also need to know the mortality second, third and fourth time around. Other issues is long time damage reported to heart, lungs and kidneys.

    If and when we don’t have the full picture it can’t be right to gamble. We will soon know a lot more and it seems there is a cure or vaccine around the corner. Then we don’t need to gamble and they who did may have payed a very high price for nothing.

    30

  • #
    Rolf

    However,
    if governments had enforced quarantine fast. That’s actually all they needed to do if they had acted early January. Stopped the WC-19 express coming from China and countries not enforcing quarantine. Then there would be no big deal. Life could go on as usual. Just lock out China from start and everyone would be fine. That is one of the reasons Chinese were lying, hiding, censoring. They are so dependent on their trade they can’t afford it to slow significantly. Now it will anyway, both in short time and long. They will be the big looser and maybe that will somehow force a change in that country.

    Right now there is a huge PR machine against the US. One post on Weibo cheering when american death numbers rose got 400.000 likes yesterday. They also spread the idea of US military was the origin and purpetrator releasing the virus in Wuhan.

    If the Chinese leadership was not still afraid of the US a new Pearl Harbor may not be far away with both Pacific carriers docked. They are fully capable of attacking when sailors are hit with WC-19 and probably would see it as a gift from heaven. Such is the mood in China right now. They bully them selves to believe they are so good. Only Chinese could stop this virus, look what is happening in Europe and US. (That is the common talking point).

    Chinese people living abroad now take the other side. They fully see and understand what’s going on. In January and February they bought masks and anything helpful and sent to China. This usually happens every time something happens in China. SARS, or earthquake, the same. Next time they will not send one dime. (At least who I know).

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  • #
    Craig Strange

    “But the numbers still climb:”

    It is impossible to evaluate the herd immunity strategy success within 2 years as it about a long term plan to deal with reoccurrence.

    The only comparison that can be made is with the “this virus isn’t a threat” concept which if Sweden doesn’t peak soon, would be considered soundly debunked (if any more evidence was really needed).

    So all the comparisons to Sweden’s current numbers CANNOT tell us anything about which strategy is best, at least for a couple of years.

    30

    • #

      We’ll never know. Soon the ICU wards will fill, Swedes will start dying at 5 times the current rate. Swedish docs will have to tell previously healthy 70 year olds that they don’t have a bed for them. Nurses will hold their hands from within plastic bags, maybe let them say bye to their families via a mobile phone. Then freezer trucks will take away the victims of “the 1918 Flu Plan” who died from the callous mismanagement of a totally different virus, by bureaucrats who thought the Chinese told them the truth.

      Red tape was never so deadly.

      But the Swedish rulers will cave in to the public fear and dismay like every other modern country on Earth has.

      The Herd Immunity Plan will work in any nation where humans are not human, or poverty means there’s no other choice, or where leaders are brutal dictators.

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  • #
    Boris

    Jo, the truth is we don’t know the real numbers of positive or negative results, false positives or false negatives. Nor do we even know if the tests are reliable.

    WHO and other agency numbers at this stage are not reliable. Not that I’d be satisfied with WHO documentation. I see them just the same way as I see the IPPC.

    But I grant you it could be more complicated than everybody is thinking.

    One thing I do know is that the euromomo data shows a relatively normal death rate for the EU compared to the last few years.

    But the speed of the announcements of new developments and new numbers being bandied about from agencies and media makes me sceptical.

    40

    • #

      We know freezer trucks are carting away the bodies. We know doctors and nurses are dying.

      We know kids as young as 12 and 13 are dying, the marathon runners are knocked down for a month. We can kill more people or make a decision based on the statistics we already have, flawed as they are.

      Then if it turns out there is a cure, we will have done the right thing.

      If it turns out there were far more asymptomatic infections we can stop any day and then discuss what it cost to save some lives.

      30

      • #
        Boris

        We know freezer trucks are carting away the bodies. We know doctors and nurses are dying.

        We hear this reported in the media but that isn’t the same as knowing.

        Let me give you just one example of many that are known and there are likely more we don’t know about.

        Just a few days ago it was revealed that the news from Ireland that nurses had died of Cov-19 was false even though it was widely reported in the media to be the case.

        It was the Irish National Health Service (NHS.ie) who issued a public statement to correct the record that it was false. NHS.ie assured that commenting on patients medical circumstances etc was not its policy but that in this case it was in the public interest to do so.

        The psychological effect that the false report has had on most people has had its intended effect. So now it doesn’t matter that the truth has been made public, it doesn’t have the same impact in the reverse as the initial false report. Regrettably, almost no one has heard the correction.

        20

      • #
        Boris

        Here are a few more examples in this compilation which shows that what is being reported is not the reality on the ground.

        https://youtu.be/5pIMD1enwd4

        Naturally it would behoove us to reconcile these things with the facts.

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  • #
    Senex

    Sweden is heading for a disaster. The intensive care places will be all full by Monday, according to their estimates. In 1990, they had several thousand respirators available, and the military had around a thousand more in reserve. Far fewer remain today.

    FHM (the Public Health Authority) estimate that 60% of the population need to be infected to achieve herd immunity. Sweden’s official population is between 10 and 11 million, but unofficial estimates put the number of people living in the country over 12 million, thanks to a large number of “paperless” migrants. If the fatality rates from Italy and Spain apply to Sweden, that means that they are prepared to sacrifice a few hundred thousand people to achieve herd immunity. Given that a disproportionate percent of the fatalities so far have been among the less productive groups in society (the elderly and unemployed migrants – many deaths in the Somali community in Stockholm suburbs), a cynic could be forgiven for comparing the handling of COVID-19 to a revival of the old Institute For Racial Biology that was finally shut down at the end of the 1970s.

    Sweden is woefully unprepared and short of PPE and test kits. I take their official figures with a huge grain of salt because they are only testing those who are admitted to hospital for COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms not severe enough for hospitalization are not tested, and not identified in the statistics.

    My sister-in-law is an operating theatre nurse at a large regional hospital in southern Sweden. She and her colleagues were given rush training last weekend and reassigned to intensive care of COVID-19 patients, of which there are four so far at that hospital. They are so short of protective equipment that they only get masks and face shields when performing lung aspiration on the patients. Are we worried? You’d better believe it.

    30

    • #
      Chad

      …….If the fatality rates from Italy and Spain apply to Sweden, that means that they are prepared to sacrifice a few hundred thousand people to achieve herd immunity

      OR…. if the results from Australia’s testing of “high risk” samples are used instead, with 2.0% os the tests returning +ve results ( yes, 98% unaffected !), and only 1.0% of that 2% ending in ICU, and less than half those ICU patients dying…
      ….then Sweden may expect only 2,400 intensive care patients and 1200 deaths !,
      … How do you like them numbers ??

      Why do people pick an extreme outlier as a example ?

      10

      • #
        Environment Skeptic

        Those numbers look good Chad while we wait for a random epidemiological study to find out the true rate of infection out there. Talk about living in the dark ages of science….sheesh!

        But there is hope in my non expert opinion..

        From https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924857920300972
        SARS-CoV-2: fear versus data
        Author YanisRousselabAudreyGiraud-GatineauacdeMarie-ThérèseJimenoeJean-MarcRolainabChristineZandottiabPhilippeColsonabDidierRaoultab

        “Highlights

        •Comparison of incidence and mortality rates of four common coronaviruses circulating in France with those of SARS-COV-2 in OECD countries.

        •As of 2 March 2020, 90 307 patients had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 worldwide, with 3086 deaths (mortality rate 3.4%).

        •As of 2 March 2020, among OECD countries, 7476 patients had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, with 96 deaths (mortality rate 1.3%)

        •As of 2 March 2020, in France, 191 people had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, with three deaths (mortality rate 1.6%).

        In OECD countries. the mortality rate for SARS-CoV-2 (1.3%) is not significantly different from that for common coronaviruses identified at the study hospital in France (0.8%; P=0.11). [my bolding]

        •The problem of SARS-CoV-2 is probably overestimated, as 2.6 million people die of respiratory infections each year compared with less than 4000 deaths for SARS-CoV-2 at the time of writing.

        10

  • #
    Senex

    Meanwhile, across the bridge in Denmark, business leaders are calling for massive investment in the “green economy” to revive the country once the COVID-19 crisis is past.

    Parasites. Governments are going deeper and deeper into debt trying to deal with the outbreak, and they are basically squawking for even more wasted subsidies.

    40

    • #
      Kalm Keith

      “business leaders are calling for massive investment in the “green economy” to revive the country”.

      Send money our way!

      00

  • #
    America

    No thorough analysis of why Sweden’s infection rate per capita is much lower than those in the US, Germany, UK, Italy, etc at same point in time in pandemic. The single data point about 50% of Sweden’s households being single occupant doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. See the UN report on household size and composition, it shows Sweden and Norway with the same average household size of 2.2 and Italy with an average household size of 2.4. Norway has 40% single occupant households, Italy 31%.

    Is providing a single data point really the thorough scientific process you want to go with? A bit shameful IMO. You have totally lost your objectivity and integrity. Maybe take sometime off to get a grip…

    00