Friday, September 11, 2020

FT - Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment

 The controversial epidemiologist believes lockdown is ‘using a hammer to kill a fly’. Could he be proved right?


For many Swedes, their state epidemiologist has embodied a rational approach as other countries have appeared to sacrifice science to emotion. “I wish I were coming with you to see him,” one of Sweden’s leading chief executives confided to me just before I went to see Tegnell. “The way he has stood for what he believes in while the rest of the world does something else is admirable.”


FT - Anders Tegnell and the Swedish Covid experiment


15 comments:

Peter Pan said...

Lockdown was about as efficient as trying to kill a fly with a hammer.

Ralph Musgrave said...

The second chart on that article shows some strange things going on. E.g. death rates in Sweden (despite its cavalier / relaxed attitude to Covid) is similar to the UK, but the loss of GDP in the UK due to Covid is DOUBLE that of Sweden.

Matt Franko said...

Trump deranged nutter scam...

NeilW said...

I have a feeling Tegnell is going to come out of this as the hero, and quite a lot of other people with egg on their faces.

Marian Ruccius said...

and Stalin "made the trains run on-time."

Marian Ruccius said...

Ralph Musgrave and Neil Wilson: compare apples to apples: Sweden to Ontario (similar economies): so far Ontario is doing better with a shut-down: about the same GDP growth and less than half the Swedish deaths, with a population vastly more diverse and a third greater. Tegnell should be fired.

Peter Pan said...

Doug Ford's Ontario is comparable to apples?

Marian Ruccius said...

Peter Pan: well he wasn't in long before COVID, so we are really still looking at Kathleen Wynne's Ontario, are we not?

But that is not my point: Sweden and Ontario have similar mixes of industrial and natural resource industries, similar demographics (in terms of age), similar population sizes (Sweden's population is about two thirds of Ontario's). Stockholm and Toronto have been going through similar housing bubbles in recent years. And so-on.

And Ontario should have greater challenges -- a more diverse population with more international contacts with China, Italy etc., social supports not at Sweden's levels, and it is not a currency issuer, unlike Sweden.

Despite this, with its shut-down and staged recovery, Ontario is doing substantially better than Sweden. Maybe that is just luck. I doubt it.

Peter Pan said...

Well, they are doing substantially worse than the smaller Canadian provinces. Maybe that is just bad luck.

When we look at world rankings in deaths/pop, they are a mix of countries with lockdown and laisser-faire policies. There's no way to separate the two. You can argue that the countries are different, or that some lockdpowns were botched.

The huge variance in deaths between countries is inexplicable. I doubt the answer to that riddle has to do with science.

Dougie driving out to his cottage to check on the plumbing, is how I'll be remembering Ontario's lockdown.

Marian Ruccius said...

Peter Pan: based on your argument there is remarkably little to recommend Tegnell's approach. One couple conclude that the superiority of Sweden's health and social supports may have resulted in overconfidence on the Swedish government's part. And one cannot conclude that Tegnell's approach was justifiable on merely economic grounds. Unless, that is, you think that protecting housing prices is your only goal.

Marian Ruccius said...
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Marian Ruccius said...

Peter Pan: based on your argument there is remarkably little to recommend Tegnell's approach. One could conclude that the superiority of Sweden's health and social supports may have resulted in overconfidence on the Swedish government's part. And one cannot conclude that Tegnell's approach was justifiable on merely economic grounds. Unless, that is, you think that protecting housing prices is your only goal.

Peter Pan said...

I wouldn't recommend an approach that ends with a majority of deaths in nursing homes. This is what happened across Canada, and in Sweden. The root of the problem is the way we deliver assisted-living and palliative care.

Marian Ruccius said...

Peter Pan -- very true, another similarity between the province and the country. I was not particularly recommending Ontario's or Canada's approaches (and comparing Quebec to Sweden provides different results). The point was merely that comparing the UK to Sweden makes no sense -- and comparisons to similar jurisdictions does not lead one to the conclusion that Tegnell's approach was the correct one.

Peter Pan said...

If Sweden is anything like Canada's political class, no one will be held accountable for their incompetence. Which means we can expect more "errors" in the future.