Monday, April 27, 2020

Do Lockdowns Save Many Lives?; Lets Take a Look at Sweden

Sweden as most of the US is locked down.
T.J. Rodgers, the founder of Cypress Semiconductor, writes in The Wall Street Journal:
Sweden is fighting coronavirus with common-sense guidelines that are much less economically destructive than the lockdowns in most U.S. states. Since people over 65 account for about 80% of Covid-19 deaths, Sweden asked only seniors to shelter in place rather than shutting down the rest of the country; and since Sweden had no pediatric deaths, it didn’t shut down elementary and middle schools. Sweden’s containment measures are less onerous than America’s, so it can keep them in place longer to prevent Covid-19 from recurring. Sweden did not shut down stores, restaurants and most businesses, but did shut down the Volvo automotive plant, which has since reopened, while the Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif., was shuttered by police and remains closed.

How did the Swedes do? They suffered 80 deaths per million 21 days after crossing the 1 per million threshold level. With 10 million people, Sweden’s death rate‒without a shutdown and massive unemployment‒is lower than that of the seven hardest-hit U.S. states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Louisiana, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey and New York—all of which, except Louisiana, shut down in three days or less. Despite stories about high death rates, Sweden’s is in the middle of the pack in Europe, comparable to France; better than Italy, Spain and the U.K.; and worse than Finland, Denmark and Norway. Older people in care homes accounted for half of Sweden’s deaths.

We should cheer for Sweden to succeed, not ghoulishly bash them. They may prove that many aspects of the U.S. shutdown were mistakes—ineffective but economically devastating—and point the way to correcting them.


  1. Not very interesting:

    1. Way too early to make assessments; let's see over the next 12 months how Sweden, Mexico, Brazil do re deaths, vs more economically restrictive countries;

    2. Part of Sweden's low rate, is due to the lack of testing, as has been the case in U.S.;

    3. It is still an unknown if approaching herd immunity, as is the goal in Sweden, if antibody's provide much protection. Still early, but number of cases of re-infections.

    4. Evidence is starting to accumulate that 25 - 50 year-olds are dying from strokes & cardiovascular events, caused by covid-19. The virus does not only target the elderly;

    5. Re Sweden, the question is not so much lock down or not, but how have people responded. So far, Sweden GDP is estimated to decline between Italy's & Spain's, so not significant economic benefits.

    As the Chinese curse, we are living in interesting times.

  2. The post from MikeQED is what fear ignoring objective data looks like