According to a Swedish doctor Sebastian Rushworth, COVID kills fewer people than seasonal flu. He says COVID has disappeared from the emergency room of the large hospital in Stockholm after four months burning through the Swedish population. Sweden took a non-aggressive approach to the pandemic.
“Non-essential businesses have remained open, people have continued to go to cafés and restaurants, children have remained in school, and very few people have bothered with face masks in public.”
With life continuing pretty much as normal, the Swedish economy is understandably in very good shape. Businesses didn’t lay off employees, education was uninterrupted and the Swedish government is not propping up the unemployed.
“Covid hit Stockholm like a storm in mid-March. One day I was seeing people with appendicitis and kidney stones, the usual things you see in the emergency room. The next day all those patients were gone and the only thing coming in to the hospital was covid. Practically everyone who was tested had covid, regardless of what the presenting symtom was. People came in with a nose bleed and they had covid. They came in with stomach pain and they had covid.Then, after a few months, all the covid patients disappeared. It is now four months since the start of the pandemic, and I haven’t seen a single covid patient in over a month.”
The Swedes are still testing but the tests return negative and oddly, antibody tests return negative too, but Rushworth has a theory about that.
“The reason we test for antibodies is because it is easy and cheap. Antibodies are in fact not the body’s main defence against virus infections. T-cells are. But T-cells are harder to measure than antibodies, so we don’t really do it clinically. It is quite possible to have T-cells that are specific for covid and thereby make you immune to the disease, without having any antibodies.”
Of course Swedes died.
“In total covid has killed under 6,000 people in a country of ten million. A country with an annual death rate of around 100,000 people. Considering that 70% of those who have died of covid are over 80 years old, quite a few of those 6,000 would have died this year anyway. That makes covid a mere blip in terms of its effect on mortality.”
Rushworth says trying to avoid the virus merely delays its inevitable spread.
“I am willing to bet that the countries that have shut down completely will see rates spike when they open up.
If that is the case, then there won’t have been any point in shutting down in the first place, because all those countries are going to end up with the same number of dead at the end of the day anyway.
Shutting down completely in order to decrease the total number of deaths only makes sense if you are willing to stay shut down until a vaccine is available. That could take years. No country is willing to wait that long.”
The direction we are heading puts us in and out of lockdown for years to come but Ardern’s government will be loath to admit failure when their election campaign rests on the premise that they successfully handled the pandemic.
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