Spread the word! Sweden’s vindication is complete.
It was really complete by mid-April, the vindication, when new deaths stopped growing. And all signs pointed towards vindication all along.
The pro-Panic side could always say “wait and see,” darkly implying that Sweden’s Corona-Apocalypse was coming. Any day now. We’ll have no more of that. By late April, the game is over.
(Update, May 22: )
See also updated graphs for June 5 in the comments.)
The Panic-pushers are now discredited. If nothing else, Sweden has discredited them. The anti-Panic side is therefore vindicated along with Sweden.
It is time to go on the offensive. It is time to punish the guilty. It is time to reverse the results of the “Corona Coup d’Etat.”
But as for now, it’s reached time to review of “the Swedish coronavirus natural experiment,” as it stands as of this writing. A review of this historically-not-so-remarkable, two-month-long flu-virus epidemic as told through two graphs and accompanying table; the rest of the post will elaborate on what you see in the graphs. This follows up extensively on the Sweden section of Part III in this series.
- The end of the epidemic in Sweden is now in sight, without anything close to the predicted catastrophe;
- The pro-Panic, alarmist predictions/guesstimates (e.g., pro-Lockdown extremist Neil Ferguson) were far too high, off by about two orders of magnitude, i.e, 50x to 100x too high;
- The epidemic in Sweden passed through the population naturally, as every other flu-virus does, and caused losses among the weak and elderly at a similar rate to a usual bad flu strain;
- The Panic and the Shutdowns were therefore completely unnecessary;
- We should have followed the Swedish approach;
- With the data now in, there is less and less room for further dispute that Sweden was right; most remaining pro-Panic holdouts will likely disappear with the warmth of the Sun in May.
There are a lot of implications and ancillary commentary possible. I want to focus here, though on showing, as clearly and directly as possible, what the epidemic looked like in Sweden in observed-reality, then compare it against the pro-Panic side’s wild mid-March projections, which look embarrassing at the least, reckless, irresponsible, bordering on criminal, given that they triggered the destructive shutdowns…
The story of Sweden’s triumph is told in two graphs.
I created these graphs using the latest data from the Swedish Health Ministry (April 29) and the Imperial College / Neil Ferguson predictions from his tragically influential March 16 paper “coronavirus catastrophe” which did so much to bolster the pro-Panic side, to our collective loss.
(Update: These graphs were created May 22; see comments for the latest June 5 update):
(See originals here and here.) [Update, May 2: See a comment below for the latest graphs.] [Update: May 5: See comment update for latest graphs and extensive comments.] [Update: Friday May 8, the largest update of the week: See a comment below for graphs and table.]
[Graphs updated in new post, May 10: Given the progress of the epidemic in Sweden, we can make calls on the final scope of the epidemic; see Part XI:
[Updated graphs and table: Friday May 22; see comments.]
The first graph is the actual, observed data, from the daily updates from the Swedish Public Health authority (the Folkhalsomyndigheten). The second includes the estimates from the Neil Ferguson paper (published March 16) as applied to Sweden.
A few notes here:
- The numbers for observed deaths is essentially final through April 25;
- The curve for coronavirus-positive deaths is pegged to date of death; likewise, ICU intakes are pegged to the date a patient actually entered an ICU;
- The numbers can and do adjust (e.g., with +/- a small number of deaths which were mis-dated being corrected to the true date of death); the small adjustments seldom or never change the way the curve looks any earlier than “Date of Update minus 4 days;”
- I did not include the April 27 and 28 data, which, as of this writing, is partial;
- These death totals by day encompass both “deaths with the virus” and “deaths from the virus,” which means the true impact of the epidemic is somewhat less given the well-known “deaths with vs. deaths from problem.”
The first graph, therefore, is observed reality. I will return to the first graph in a moment.
Having established what the Swedish epidemic-curve looks like in the first graph, the second graph is the more relevant. The exact same information from the first graph (the blue curve, observed/actual coronavirus-positive deaths by day) is displayed on a graph along with the Neil Ferguson wild projections from mid-March, “one person’s guesstimate” that did so much damage. It is now clear that Ferguson’s blunder was in publishing this wildly speculative study; he should have consulted with other experts first.
The second graph is based on a similar effort made eight days ago by Rob Slane; it applies the US fatality-rate estimate, given that the US and Sweden have similar population densities, on the UK’s timetable, given that we believe epidemic may have been seeded earlier in Sweden than in the US. Ferguson provided no estimates for the “swamped hospitals effect” that he predicted, which was central to his reasoning in arguing for the “Lockdowns,” but he implies collateral losses would be high, meaning ordinary health emergencies could not be treated; potentially this could double both curves, making prediction vs. reality into “mountain vs. molehill.”
I will also return to the second graph in a moment.
First a word on Sweden’s response:
Sweden’s Triumph Over the Corona-Cult
When the dark clouds of the CoronaPanic were looming in late February and early March, most found it hard to resist the then-building international chain-reaction of Panic. At the national level in the West, Sweden alone distinguished itself, from beginning to end, and led the West’s best response to this flu-strain pandemic.
“We, the Swedish government, decided…in January that the measures we should take against the pandemic should be evidence-based. When you start looking around for the measures being taken now by different countries, you find that very few of them have any shred of evidence basis…”
— Dr. Johan Giesecke, world-renowned epidemiologist, adviser to the Swedish government, and the man who hired Anders Tegnell to direct the Swedish coronavirus pandemic strategy, speaking April 17
The anti-Panic side argued for this approach all along. All but the most panic-addled and committed of the pro-Panic side were beginning to recognize, by the second half of April, that Sweden was right, that there was no need for the shutdowns, that this flu-virus is not fundamentally different from any other flu-virus in its behavior. (See also Part III: Just the Flu Vindicated.)
The anti-Panic side also argued throughout March that our governments were going down a fool’s path of potentially catastrophic overreactions. Despite numerical strength, the anti-Panic side completely lost the initiative to the pro-Panic side, the un-skeptical and anti-skeptical lockstep-media’s drumbeat.
It was here that Dr. Ferguson, or “Doctor Frankensson,” showed up on the scene with his wild “guesstimate” about millions of deaths, which was based on little to no evidence. The pro-Panic study he released on March 16 is seen as key to the caving in of anti-Panic forces in several countries including the US.
It should be said that Ferguson was not alone among a handful of academics on the pro-Panic side making wild guesstimates of Corona-Doom. Even as late as April 15 one group predicted “52,000 to 182,000 deaths” for Sweden as a result of the epidemic and the Swedish response to it (“Intervention strategies against COVID-19 and their estimated impact on Swedish healthcare capacity,” lead author Jasmine M. Gardner). This “up to 182,000 deaths” was another reckless estimate, about in the Ferguson range, which by April 15 had been untenable for weeks. I can only guess at possibly psychological reasons why Jasmine Gardner published such a pro-Panic study as late as April 15, against the best data.
Propped up by the hatchet-jobs by Ferguson and others, the evil deed of shutdowns and “Lockdown” were all-but-complete across the West by March 23. The unnecessary shutdowns go on, as of this writing, as do the effects of the “corona coup d’etat” and the unnecessary major recession, and more, all of which will have unclear effects for the coming few years.
As for Sweden’s triumph over the “Corona Cult,” the lesson is less “Sweden was smart and we weren’t,” even though that is true on the surface level. A suitable way to phrase and conceptualize what happened was that a coup d’etat or rather series of coups d’etat occurred in March 2020, with various stages of the coup occurring throughout the month and differing by specific locality; but after a coup d’etat inevitably comes martial law for a time, which was also reality in late March and April for most of the West.
Except not in Sweden. Sweden had no Corona Coup d’Etat. Sweden maintained a no-shutdown policy, kept schools and businesses all open, treating this flu like every other flu.
Revisiting “Just The Flu”
All flu-viruses behave in a similar way: They mutate somewhere; eventually, given conditions to do so, they spread; if they begin to spread, they follow a predictable arc, they begin to make some people ill; they kill a small number of the most vulnerable.
This is what flu-viruses do, and always have.
We are very much better at treating them now than in the first half of the 20th century (see Part III, sections 5 and 6), but they still kill.
The now-all-but-complete data constituting the epidemic-arc for the coronavirus epidemic in Sweden indicates that the Wuhan Coronavirus is, and always was, a ‘regular’ flu virus; it looks exactly like every other flu virus in its epidemic arc, carries no alarmingly higher fatality-rate, and affects the same vulnerable group as other flus.
Looking back at the first graph in this post, note that the vertical lines designate Sundays, and so the period between two lines represents a seven-day window:
You can see that the “hit” of increased deaths lasts three weeks (in the fifth, sixth, and seventh weeks in the graph) [See comment below for updates on the “three-week hit”]. The three-week duration for noticeable “hits” from any particular flu virus, before it burns out and fades, has been known for decades (see Wittkowski); in the worst flu seasons, there would be several of these bad flu strains active in succession, causing several peaks on top of an already high level of activity in the general period of late fall to early spring.
This coronavirus ran its normal course in Sweden, as it started to do in the US, and elsewhere, in Q1 and into Q2 2020. It would have been a totally unremarkable phenomenon (given that we ignored the bad flu strains several times in the 2010s; see Part III section 1), if not for the media-directed Panic around it.
As of this writing (April 28/29), Sweden is probably already at herd immunity in localized areas, especially in Stockholm County where the local epidemic started, and will be at herd immunity nationally by early May. We can therefore pronounce the epidemic in Sweden “already over.”
Evaluating the Coronavirus Epidemic Arc(s) in Sweden; Dating the Peak
With the epidemic-arc in sustained decline as of mid-April, coronavirus-positive deaths stood as 2,427 as of this writing, perhaps rising to as high as 3,000 to 3,500 by the (imminent) end of the epidemic.
This means up to 0.03% of the total population will have died during this period while positive for the virus. In the period mid-March to mid-May, something a little over 0.15% of the total population is expected to die anyway (the normal death rate); a number of new babies equivalent to about 0.10% of the living population is expected to be born. (Yes, the number of new babies is definitely lower than deaths; Sweden has long now had deaths exceeding births, along with the rest of us in the West; another story…).
Even without going into the “deaths with vs. deaths from” problem, this raw number, suggesting up to one-fifth of deaths in Sweden were positive for this particular flu-virus while dying, looks unremarkable and like a typical peak-flu-event. I wonder how many would be positive for another given flu virus, upon death, in other times?
Dating the Peak
With the epidemic arc now all-but-complete, we can date the peak with confidence. Sweden’s coronavirus-positive deaths peaked broadly between April 2 to 23 (actual deaths over 75 most days).
(Update, May 5: The narrow peak, or “peak of the peak,” as measured by the rolling-average was April 7 to 16.)
[This section updated May 5.] The sum of coronavirus-positive deaths in this twenty-two-day peak period of April 2 to 23 was: 1,937 [as of May 5] for an average of 88/day.
New deaths broke 100/day on four separate days between April 7 and 15, but deaths have been in steady, sustained, and clear decline since then. Measured in terms of five-day rolling average, deaths declined at a rate of 3/day in the two weeks from April 14-28, towards less than fifty per day by the end of April.
On the downward slope of the epidemic curve, deaths have averaged about 60/day for the down-slope period April 20 to 30 [as of May 5]; they will likely be under 25/day by mid-May, as the epidemic curve works it was back towards zero.
Next we can date the peak for “ICU intakes.” Measured in terms of a three-day moving-average for respiratory-disease patients positive for the Wuhan coronavirus and admitted to ICUs, ICU-intakes peaked March 29 to April 14, at about 40/day. The ICU-intake curve peaks about five days before the deaths curve peaks, which is entirely unsurprising and in line with what we know of epidemiology for respiratory diseases.
Here is a table of the data as it existed on April 29:
Because deaths are a lagging indicator, we can also say with reasonable confidence that the transmission phase peaked in the first half of March, probably something like two weeks before the ICU-intake curve’s upswing begins (the third and fourth weeks in the graph). This is the same story for lots of other countries; all the lockdowns came after the epidemics were already running their usual and inevitable course. (See Part III, section 9, and a forthcoming post here, for discussion of when Germany’s transmission phase peaked and began to naturally decline; it is certainly well before the lockdown order.)
The sharper peak for the ‘Deaths’ curve than for the ‘ICU-intake’ curve is explainable by the “culling effect,” that the epidemic took some of the weakest, those already at death’s door; most of these would otherwise have died in coming weeks or months even if they had never had contact with the Wuhan coronavirus, or any other flu-virus; whatever the effect of the infection was, it did no more than move up death slightly in many cases. This culling-effect also puts light downward-pressure on deaths in the coming months.
Oh, and it turned out that Swedish hospitals had plenty of spare capacity even during the peak; the Ferguson predictions (on which more again shortly) had anyone foolish enough to take a Swedish-style response ending up with lots of non-virus excess deaths due to those “swamped hospitals.”
Here is a comment from Swiss Propaganda Research‘s “A Swiss Doctor on COVID19” series on the Swedish case:
The average age of death in Sweden is also over 80 years, about 50% of deaths occurred in vulnerable nursing homes, while the effect on the general population has remained minimal, even though Sweden has one of the lowest intensive care capacities in Europe.
Despite the low intensive care capacity, Sweden has never even approached its limit. It reportedly was at 50% capacity ca. Apri 20 and has hit as high as 70% capacity; the number of people in intensive care is reportedly stable (at 549 on April 29).
How much of Sweden’s aggregate-expected-life-years did the Coronavirus epidemic cost?
(Section updated May 22 in line with newest data/graphs.)
This is a calculation I proposed in Part III, section 3. The sum of Sweden’s coronavirus-positive deaths as of this writing is 2,427 [update, May 22: to hit 4,000 in late May]. It may rise to ca.
3,500 [update, May 22: With all indicators in decline for several weeks, the newest data suggests a final total that may reach 5,000 or possibly even slightly higher total corona-positive deaths] by the end of the epidemic, as the curve completes itself and returns to circa zero.
The aggregate-lost-life-years to these
3,500 5,000 (or so) corona-positive deaths in Sweden between March and June 2020 will be minuscule, given the average age profile in their late 70s, 80s, and 90s. Deaths are certainly not among the most healthy of that age-group, and indeed many being terminal patients in the first place. (See Part X: The Deaths With vs. Deaths From problem in Sweden).
The aggregate-life-years number can be estimated something like this:
Sweden total resident living population: 10,4000,000 @ 45 years expected life left (for the average resident) = 468 million aggregate-life-years for the total population, plus 575,000 expected new births in the five-year period Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2024 @ 85 expected life years each = 50 million more aggregate-life-years; adding the two, we have society’s currently-living and soon-to-be-living population has as much as 520 million aggregate-expected-life-years to live.
Coronavirus-positive deaths, which could total
3,500, 5,000 may average @ 5 expected-life years each, including many with <1 expected-life-year and others with somewhat more, but very few with decades left ahead of them. Multiplying the two, sum of aggregate-life-years lost to this flu-epidemic we can now say looks to be <20,000 25,000.
– Living and soon-to-be-living aggregate expected life years = 520 million
– Of which, loss to the Wuhan Coronavirus =
= Wuhan Coronavirus will cause a loss of ca.
0.0035% 0.005% to the population’s expected remaining life-years, a rate which will hold for other countries regardless of their policies.
The surprising thing is, this represents a net loss of just one day in the life of a person who lives to age eighty-five (update, May 22: Now it looks like 1.5 days — that is 36 hours — in a normal, full, first-world lifespan today; it will very unlikely exceed 2 life-days). In other words, if you have lost at least one day to the Corona-Panic in any form, you have already been a net loser from the extremist Corona Shutdowns, based on these numbers. In countries in which the epidemic was worse, it could sum to two or three days, but unlikely any more.
The fact is that all life is limited and therefore all our time in these earthly bodies is valuable; “time is the one thing,” it is said, “that money can’t buy;” that is to say, when your time comes, no Shutdown-fanatic can buy you more time; as Jesus said through a parable (Luke 12:19-20):
In “Lockdown” countries, many will end up losing an equivalent of many hundreds of days of their lives to the effects of the Corona Response, which Sweden proves was wholly unnecessary. Considering the recession and social disruptions, which are ongoing, a net-loss equivalent to hundreds of life-days will probably be about the median for the Lockdown countries; this before factoring in things like suicides, worse health outcomes as a result of recession, and a decline in fertility associated with a major recession and job-loss period. Some could lose thousands of life-days’ equivalent; an unlucky few (say a prime-age suicide induced by the effects of the Corona Response) could even lose tens of thousands of life days.
Therefore the Corona-Panic can now be confidently said to be hundreds of times worse than the actual virus threat ever was, as a conservative estimate. It could plausibly even be thousands of times worse, when all things are factored in. A disastrous overreaction. The case of Sweden proves it.
When will “Sweden was right” become common knowledge?
The pro-Panic holdouts will be forced to admit that Sweden was right by early May, or mid-May at the very latest given a “narrative” lag time. But that is only among thinking people.
Most people can be conned along by pro-Panic forces and those who would “instrumentalize” the pro-Panic remnants and keep the embers of Panic burning bright, by just saying, “Sweden has had more deaths,” ignoring the unseen effects of the extremist lockdowns across all aspects of life.
The pro-Panic side feeds on Innumeracy, and lies. As such it is possible a bitter, pro-Panic holdout element will never admit Sweden was right. But the majority of thinking people will.
Could “we” have been Sweden, too?
The problem is, at the critical moment the people in charge of guarding the metaphorical asylum let a coalition of wackos, fanatics, misanthropes, and panickers take over the asylum, and the asylum guards (those in charge of keeping sane policy) were tied up and kept in a closet for a while.
Speaking of experts being ignored or silenced: Knut Wittkowski identifies the critical period in the policy catastrophe as March 10-15 for the US (it would be earlier in some parts of Europe), when experts were sidelined, the media disgraced itself by pushing for and creating a shockingly destructive and unnecessary Panic, and extremists took over.
Wittkowski wrote on April 21:
The point of decision (at least in the US) was around March 10-15. At this time, there should have been a discussion involving epidemiologists who could question the Frankenssonian predictions. If that discussion would have had, we would not have had a shutdown.
Wittkowski’s “point of decision” must be a translation of the German Entscheidungspunkt, the critical moment in some development, the point of no return. A poetic way some have been known to express this is with Caesar’s alea iacta est when he crossed the Rubicon. The Corona-Rubicon crossed, the damage is done. It is our task now to try to reverse the damage, starting with identifying the guilty and asking, “Why?”
Why did they push the Panic? What was Neil Ferguson’s role in the pro-Panic coalition?
The underwhelming reality stands in contrast to the alarmists’ predictions of mid-March (with holdouts still predicting maybe 180,000 deaths into mid-April; e.g., the Gardner prediction published April 15), and one important question remains, relevant to the “Coronavirus Deaths in Sweden, Projections vs. Actual” graph:
Recall again that the prediction of “swamped hospitals”-related collateral deaths could well double the implied excess deaths curves, potentially meaning a one-time population loss of up something like 1.5%, above normal deaths of ca. 1.0%, meaning 2.5% could die whereas 1.0% would die in a normal year. In fact, final mortality for 2020 might rise from 1.00% to 1.02% (all else equal) in Sweden, maybe not even that high; using these round numbers, this would mean Ferguson overestimated deaths by at least 75x, a tentative estimate we could make given the now-all-but-complete Swedish dataset.
The question is, what led Ferguson make such reckless predictions? Wittkowski deals with this in his latest interview (April 28). It’s bad this question is so hard to answer and leads quickly into “conspiracy thinking.”
Ferguson was so wrong as to leave one wondering: Was it a sudden fit of panic and no one running a sanity check? Was he/they drunk or otherwise intoxicated when preparing this absurd “millions of deaths” report? Was the report outsourced to team of dunces? Were the dunces intoxicated?
More seriously, and potentially disturbingly, to what extent might have the “millions of deaths” apocalypse predictions have been a conscious hoax meant to incite panic and empower the “Corona Coup d’Etat” faction?
The Panic-pushers are largely not guilty as individuals, but those like Ferguson who had key roles at the top are definitely guilty: Ferguson may single-handedly be responsible for a more staggering amount of net human misery than any other single individual now living; a remarkable burden to bear. He should be ashamed. He and the other pro-Panic ringleaders should be internationally humiliated over this. Do not forget.
Ferguson and other pro-Panic fanatics and ringleaders are the villains in this grand story (a smaller-time villain will be profiled in a future post in the works). But there are also heroes, one of which is a country which has been the topic of this post.
By way of conclusion, on Sweden,: To use a phrase where it is justified, let me say:
Hail to you, Sweden.