UPDATE: Sweden will reach herd immunity at around 71,610 deaths.
Liberalism is the ultimate comorbidity:
The UK has had more Coronavirus deaths than the following countries COMBINED— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) May 1, 2020
The UK has 67m people. The others around 270m people.
UK's update:— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) May 1, 2020
– Number of new cases up
– Number of new deaths up
– Number of new people tested up
– Over 900,000 tests completed so far
I’ve been watching this play out on FOX News.
I think I have figured out why Tucker Carlson has recently become so obsessed with Sweden. It is because conservatives and libertarians have always preferred to do nothing about the coronavirus.
Back in February, the private equity and hedge fund billionaires who finance Trump made the call to “ride it out” and treat it like it was “just the flu.” This was the narrative on FOX News in February and early March. FOX News only briefly deviated from this narrative in mid-March, but has since reverted to its original position and Sweden has been plucked out of its context in Europe to push that narrative.
As a nationalist and populist, this was initially confusing to me because Sweden didn’t look like much of a success story in fighting the virus. It has one of the highest death tolls in the world. Unlike the United States, China was blindsided by the virus and crushed it in three weeks. In Taiwan, the health minister broke down in tears when the eleventh case was confirmed. Taiwan closed its borders and regulated international flights and as a result only 6 people have died there. Hong Kong closed its border with China and only 4 people died there. No one has died in North Korea, Mongolia or Vietnam.
Why isn’t Tucker Carlson touting South Korea or Singapore as a success story? Only 248 people and 16 people have respectively died there from the virus. Why isn’t Tucker Carlson showcasing the success that Australia and New Zealand have had in eradicating the virus after taking the extraordinary step to close their borders? Only 93 and 19 people have respectively died there from the virus. New Zealand has even declared victory over the virus after eradicating local transmission.
What is it about Sweden that has attracted so much attention from conservatives and libertarians?
It is certainly not the deaths to recoveries ratio.
It is not the case fatality rate.
The CFR of COVID-19 in Sweden is 12.26%. There are only four countries in Europe where it is higher: Belgium, France, Italy and the UK. In contrast, the case fatality rate in Norway is 2.71%. In Australia and New Zealand, it is 1.37% and 1.28%. The case fatality rate in the United States where 64,503 people have died is only 5.89%. The CFR in Sweden is TWICE what it is here and this is somehow reassuring?
Sweden stands out from its neighbors in Northern Europe in that is doing much worse than all of them. Why isn’t Norway hailed as a success story? Deaths are 79 per million in Germany compared to 263 per million in Sweden. It is 33 per million in Hungary, 17 per million in Poland, 39 per million in Norway and 39 per million in Finland, 79 per million in Denmark, on 22 per million in Czechia.
Here’s why none of these countries are touted by Tucker Carlson on FOX News: Germany has a universal multipayer health care system and imposed a strong national lockdown. Norway and Denmark went into lockdown. China and Singapore went into lockdown. Australia and New Zealand went into lockdown and closed their borders. All of these other countries like Hungary, Vietnam, Mongolia, North Korea and Taiwan closed their borders to deal with the virus. South Korea and Singapore have used what Tucker Carlson decries as Big Tech surveillance state tyranny to fight the virus. The Czechs required the public to wear masks and that alone brought down the virus far better than Sweden’s approach.
Sweden’s response to the virus has also been severely misrepresented by conservatives and libertarians. Sweden is full of Swedes who trust and obey the government. Large numbers of Swedes work from home anyway. The situation in Sweden is in no way comparable to what the “Liberty or Death” conservatives and libertarians want to do here in the United States after ending the lockdowns.
Note: Even Donald Trump rebuked Bill Mitchell on Sweden.