Sweden 1. Faith 0
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities
HERE’S AN ASTONISHING THING about Sweden: you can hardly tell, from looking at its government’s population statistics,1 that it has COVID-19.
It’s astonishing because the entire foundation of the claim underlying the world’s descent into COVID-19 madness and authoritarianism is predicated on two controversial claims: that COVID-19 is unusually deadly, and that coercion and authoritarianism are necessary and effective in controlling it.
And yet here is a country that hasn’t succumbed to madness and authoritarianism. And here is a country in which you can hardly tell that COVID-19 is present.
Discovering Sweden is like discovering intelligent life in the universe after being told there can’t be any. It falsifies COVID’s catastrophic claims, and reveals a great deal about the institutions driving them.
The number of people who die in Sweden, after making some adjustments for “good” and “bad” flu years, increases by about 1,200 every couple of years. That’s partly because the population is increasing, partly because the population is ageing, and partly because the population is changing through immigration. It would have been astonishing if the number of people who died in Sweden in 2020 hadn’t increased.
I say “after making some adjustment for good and bad flu years”, because it’s by obscuring this that COVID catastrophists have weaponised Sweden and, ironically, coerced it into being an element of their narrative.
Flu, like coronaviruses, is a winter seasonal infection. In every country, there are “bad” seasons when relatively many vulnerable people die, and “good” seasons when relatively few do. 2018/19 was a “good” flu season in Sweden.2 3
Consequently, the cohort of people who were vulnerable to respiratory infection when COVID-19 arrived in 2020 was enlarged by those would have died in an average or bad 2018/19 flu season, but hadn’t (‘A’ in Figure 1 above). Then, after COVID-19 arrived, it replaced flu as the cause of death in the 2019/20 flu-vulnerable cohort (‘B’, above). So the people in groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ who in 2020 would most likely have died of flu, died instead of COVID-19, or were mis-coded as having died of COVID-19.
This is important to understand. The core claim that COVID-19 is especially deadly depends in turn on the implicit claim that its deaths are in addition to normal deaths. No: the majority of its victims die from it instead of flu, cancer, stroke, dementia, heart disease, falling downstairs, or any one of an extended list of things that kill us when we’ve lived longer than the average human lifespan.
This explains why, simultaneously, many people appear to have died from COVID, yet overall death rates are not catastrophic. Here in the UK, the Government advisors estimate that up to two thirds of the fatalities in its vastly inflated prediction of 2020 COVID-19 deaths would have died that year anyway.4 COVID-19 arrived in the UK after an extended period of unusually low mortality: it contributed to a mortality rate in 2020 that was lower than it used to be every single year prior to 2008. In Sweden, you can hardly see it, if at all.
It also partly explains why coercion and authoritarianism have no observable impact on fatal infection rates.5 It’s not the openness of society that kills vulnerable people. It’s their vulnerability to all the other things that still kill them while they are locked down, and that coercion and authoritarianism has no effect on.
Using the same models used to justify imposing mandatory school and business closures, domestic confinement orders, and compulsory masks on UK citizens, UK Government advisors estimated Sweden would suffer 30,000 to 60,000 deaths in 2020 if they didn’t impose the same restrictions. Sweden politely ignored the advice. It didn’t impose “masks”, it didn’t significantly close schools and businesses, and it didn’t impose domestic confinement. At the end of 2020, had recorded 8,800 COVID-19 deaths.
Here’s the impact of those deaths on overall deaths in Sweden, in numbers:
The displacement of flu deaths from 2019 into 2020 is clearly visible. We’ve computed the two year average to accommodate the inter-year variation in flu deaths, and calculated the change in that.6 The overall increase in deaths COVID-19 contributed to, relative to the rising trend, is barely distinguishable from noise.
“Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life…Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”
— Voltaire, ‘Questions sur les Miracles’
Germans who keep refusing to quarantine could be put in detention centres under new Covid rules
— The Telegraph, 17 January 2021
Let’s remind ourselves of how one leading COVID catastrophists’ newspaper-of-record reports to its readers a death rate rise in Sweden that is barely distinguishable from noise, while inciting a McCarthyist witch-hunt against those who favoured Sweden’s approach:7
Their readers believe absurdities.
On the basis of absurdities like these, the UK Government is finalising plans to inject 12 year old children—without their parents’ consent—with unlicensed medical substances, designed to attack their immature immune systems in ways that are not yet fully understood, with observed but currently unquantified serious side effect risks, so that they can act as human shields for teachers and geriatrics.
It’s an atrocity.
There are no circumstances in a civilised society under which exposing children to harm to protect adults could be justified. But to the extent that it is, it is on the claim that this disease is unusually deadly, and therefore that such atrocities are warranted.
Sweden shows us it is not unusually deadly, and that they are not warranted. They represent for us the ending of “Lord Of The Flies”.8 As exhausted schoolboy Ralph lies on the beach, waiting to have his brains bashed out by the former Head Chorister (who comes to power by promising to slay an imaginary beast), he looks up to see a Naval Officer standing in the surf. Instantly, the children’s descent into madness and chaos is made shatteringly visible, even as the order of the adult world is restored. The spell is broken.
Sweden breaks the COVID-19 spell for us.
We should oppose COVID madness, coercion, and authoritarianism wherever we find it, and fight to rid ourselves of it until it has gone. It has no place in our world.
In the northern hemisphere, the winter seasonal respiratory infection season runs from July to June the following year, hence “2018/19”. Conflating the end of the 2019/20 season with the beginning of the 2020/21 season was one of many tricks that COVID catastrophism employs the UK to magnify the impression of COVID death in 2020.
The Public Health Agency of Sweden. “Influenza in Sweden – Season 2019–2020”, 2 October 2020 [link]
Is it a perfect measure? Of course not. But it doesn't need to be. COVID catastrophism makes an extraordinary claim—that we should live permanently under emergency authoritarian rule because this is an especially deadly disease. That claim demands extraordinary evidence—evidence that should “hit you between the eyes”. It doesn’t.
Geoghegan, P. “Now the Swedish model has failed, it's time to ask who was pushing it”. Guardian, 3 January 2021 [link]