Do not judge Sweden until the autumn. That was the message from its state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell in May and through the summer as he argued that Sweden’s initial high death toll from Covid-19 would be followed in the second wave by “a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low”.
Now the autumn is here, and hospitalisations from Covid-19 are currently rising faster in Sweden than in any other country in Europe, while in Stockholm — the centre for both the first and second waves in the country — one in every five tests is positive, suggesting the virus is even more widespread than official figures suggest.
Even Sweden’s public health agency admits its earlier prediction that the country’s Nordic neighbours such as Finland and Norway would suffer more in the autumn appears wrong. Sweden is currently faring worse than Denmark, Finland and Norway on cases, hospitalisations and deaths relative to the size of their population.
…The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 is doubling in Sweden every eight days currently, the fastest rate for any European country for which data is available. Its cases per capita have sextupled in the past month to more than 300 new daily infections per million people, close to the UK and way ahead of its Nordic neighbours.
Here is more from Richard Milne at the FT. To be clear, it seems that many of the Swedish deaths are due to a “dry tinder” effect, so in relative terms they are not doing as much worse than you might think. Other parts of Europe may well catch up to them, at least on a “tinder-adjusted” basis. But if you are just asking which predictions of which model are being vindicated here, it is that the herd immunity obtained through a partial neutralization of super-spreaders is temporary rather than permanent.
To be clear, I did not predict this (or its opposite), but rather for many months I have been saying we need more data from Sweden to draw a conclusion. Now we have more data.
1. Were the experts too slow to embrace travel restrictions? (NYT) And the Covid culture that is German (short video).
2. Does personality drive moral judgement?: Polite deontologists and curious consequentialists.
3. My rewrite of this thread: doctors hate highly beneficial but somewhat inaccurate testing methods that lower their status and good feelings about themselves.
4. Further results on “dry tinder” in the Nordics: “My results show that a large share of the excess mortality in Sweden in April 2020 may be partially explained by a vulnerable, elderly population due to very mild flu seasons in 18/19 and 19/20 as well as very few deaths during the 2019 summer compared to earlier years and compared to other Nordic countries.”
5. The state that is California: “”I miss when it was just a pandemic and depression,” my mom told me.”