Author Topic: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison  (Read 14773 times)

Offline S209

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Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« on: April 22, 2020, 03:16:17 AM »
Denmark and Sweden are next door neighbors, and both recorded their first Covid-19 death a day apart (March 11/12).  This is true apples to apples. Before you go down the density path, let’s point out that Denmark ranks 65th vs. Sweden’s 91st in world’s densest countries, so Denmark is more dense. I challenge you to find a better comparison, factoring in climate, location, political viewpoint, culture, etc.

There is only one gaping difference (that we know of today): their social distancing approach. Denmark was one of the the first in Europe to lock down, and one of the harshest, while Sweden was one of the last and is still not fully locked down.  Let’s see how they compare.

Total corona deaths:
Denmark: 370
Sweden: 1,765

Note: the total deaths number is skewed, because Sweden has nearly double the total population of Denmark. Nevertheless, even after adjusting for population, Sweden is at nearly triple as you’ll see in the next stat. That’s aside from the jolting fact that Sweden’s deaths per day is still sharply on the rise while Denmark’s is nearly down to nothing.

Corona deaths per million:
Denmark: 64
Sweden: 175

New corona deaths on April 21:
Denmark 6
Sweden: 185

Total corona patients in the ICU:
Denmark: 81
Sweden: 515

Active corona cases that we know of:
Denmark: 2,625
Sweden: 13,007

Mind you, it’s not because Sweden is testing more- on the contrary, Denmark has conducted 6,000 more tests than Sweden, which after adjusting for population size is nearly double the tests per million.

As of today: Denmark is starting a gradual reopening of the economy, albeit ready to put the brakes on immediately should they see a sharp rise in infections. The reason? New infections and new deaths have been dramatically slowing down for more than 2 weeks already as of late April. Descent started in March.

As of today: Sweden has been putting consistently harsher measures in place. The reason? They see a consistent doubling of new infections and deaths, still sharply rising as of late April. In all likelihood this will continue for months.

I didn’t do this with California/NY, Israel/Italy, Taiwan/UK, Singapore/Spain, South Korea/France, etc. These two countries are really really similar and were hit in really similar fashions and at a similar time frame. The data is really hard to refute.

Again, we don’t know everything. But we do know that the suffocatingly overwhelming evidence points to extreme social distancing being really effective and the only proven solution to this virus thus far. The stricter and faster, the better.

Will there be a second wave? Will we discover a cure or vaccine? Will it go away “like a miracle”? Will the virus mutate and kill us all, leaving only those who acquired immunity? Alternatively, will the virus erupt in a worse form inside those of us who were already infected at another later date like in chickenpox (can erupt as shingles years later)? Only G-d knows the answers to these questions, for now. But if we’re focusing on today, on the 45,000+ deaths already in the US (still sharply rising, btw- over 2,800 deaths today!), on all of the lives (of people we know and love! Many deaths of people we know well!) we can be saving now as we ramp up testing, data on how and how fast transmission occurs, research on immunity potential, procurement of medicine and evidence of treatment protocols.. there is only one true hishtadlus. SAVING LIVES IN FRONT OF OUR EYES.

I might point out now that significantly more people have died of corona in the last 5 weeks in the U.S. than car accidents all year 2016 (which sported the highest number of car fatalities on record).

It’s also useful to point out that literally every single extra interaction during an outbreak greatly increases the likelihood of the actor and his/her close family and social circle getting and spreading the disease. Looking to others doesn’t matter: some people will always break rules, laws, etc. and unironically, those people will suffer from outbreaks disproportionately. It’s just math. I’m pretty sure Darwin has a theory about that.

I don’t want to be mekatreg on niftarim so I’ll keep this general- anecdotally, it’s highly likely that you’ll find a strong correlation between those who weren’t serious/didn’t follow the rules early or well enough and fatalities or serious illness later on in our communities. I will not point to specific examples but I have done a bit of research to the extent that I was able. You can use a rolling timeline of people falling ill/dying to see who was later in the cycle. Obviously this isn’t true of everyone, not close, but there is a strong correlation between late cycle illnesses and rule breakers.

There. I think I’ve provided some enlightening empirical evidence which begin to show the efficacy of social distancing.
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Offline AsherO

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2020, 07:24:03 AM »
Nicely done, @S209.

Not having done any research , I wonder where Norway fits into this. I’ll offer anecdotal guesses: Smaller population than Denmark/Sweden, but hit much harder (cases/deaths). Earlier first infection, less social distancing at first, so they locked down but too late. Wealthier country, but unprepared at the medical infrastructure level because it was lean and didn’t have sufficient contingencies for this situation. Also, more travel, especially to/from Italy. Those are my guesses.

Back to SE/DK:

If the virus magically stopped today, and we could analyze the effects on life and economy of SE vs. DK, would there be a hypothetical argument to be made that SE came out of things ahead and DK’s measures were “too drastic” to “only” save 111 lives per million? We don’t shut down countries to prevent the spread of flu, granted COVID-19 isn’t flu, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

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Offline srap

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2020, 07:39:34 AM »
Nicely done, @S209.
...

Back to SE/DK:

If the virus magically stopped today, and we could analyze the effects on life and economy of SE vs. DK, would there be a hypothetical argument to be made that SE came out of things ahead and DK’s measures were “too drastic” to “only” save 111 lives per million? We don’t shut down countries to prevent the spread of flu, granted COVID-19 isn’t flu, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.
I have to believe that DK too its drastic measures based on the empirical and statistical evidence of what was happening worldwide as opposed to "what if" we were going to magically stop the ball midcourt.  IOW, since their decision was made for the long term effects, it may not be a fair comparison to judge final results before this is over.

Offline Yehudaa

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Offline AsherO

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2020, 07:46:52 AM »
I have to believe that DK too its drastic measures based on the empirical and statistical evidence of what was happening worldwide as opposed to "what if" we were going to magically stop the ball midcourt.  IOW, since their decision was made for the long term effects, it may not be a fair comparison to judge final results before this is over.

Granted. But assuming both countries are past their peak, and assuming will continue consistent with their current data, the arguments might be similar (both for and against) after all the cards have fallen.
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Offline aygart

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2020, 08:03:42 AM »
Granted. But assuming both countries are past their peak, and assuming will continue consistent with their current data, the arguments might be similar (both for and against) after all the cards have fallen.
There is always a possibility of things not leading where the data says it should it off things changing. The only way to make a good decision is based on the data known at the time. If there is something which later tells you otherwise it was beyond human ability to account for that.
Just because things turned out a certain way doesn't mean you were right.

Offline AsherO

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 08:07:42 AM »
There is always a possibility of things not leading where the data says it should it off things changing. The only way to make a good decision is based on the data known at the time. If there is something which later tells you otherwise it was beyond human ability to account for that.

Of course, my point is that Sweden is lauding themselves for their relaxed approach, and while hashkafically we value life differently than they do, by their own measure they might be making the “right” decision.
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Offline yuneeq

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2020, 08:10:26 AM »
Great write up @S209 !

Granted. But assuming both countries are past their peak, and assuming will continue consistent with their current data, the arguments might be similar (both for and against) after all the cards have fallen.

I would not make such assumptions.

Offline AsherO

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2020, 08:18:54 AM »
Great write up @S209 !

I would not make such assumptions.

We’re discussing it today. We can either say we can’t say anything because it hasn’t played out yet, or we can make assumptions about what would happen if...

Let’s just be on the same page about the fact that we’re discussing the merits of one policy over another, and we’re doing so without the benefit of hindsight.
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Offline yuneeq

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2020, 08:34:20 AM »
We’re discussing it today. We can either say we can’t say anything because it hasn’t played out yet, or we can make assumptions about what would happen if...

Let’s just be on the same page about the fact that we’re discussing the merits of one policy over another, and we’re doing so without the benefit of hindsight.

I’m saying you can’t assume Sweden is past their peak if there’s nothing pointing towards that. New cases are still growing. Additionally, even if in hindsight they are right, the risk/reward ratio at the time they made their decision was insanely high and the wrong move. I am also quite suspicious of the new studies claiming that Covid has already infected most of the population. 

Offline Proisrael

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2020, 09:04:13 AM »


Will there be a second wave? Will we discover a cure or vaccine? Will it go away “like a miracle”? Will the virus mutate and kill us all, leaving only those who acquired immunity? Alternatively, will the virus erupt in a worse form inside those of us who were already infected at another later date like in chickenpox (can erupt as shingles years later)? Only G-d knows the answers to these questions, for now. But if we’re focusing on today, on the 45,000+ deaths already in the US (still sharply rising, btw- over 2,800 deaths today!), on all of the lives (of people we know and love! Many deaths of people we know well!) we can be saving now as we ramp up testing, data on how and how fast transmission occurs, research on immunity potential, procurement of medicine and evidence of treatment protocols.. there is only one true hishtadlus. SAVING LIVES IN FRONT OF OUR EYES.



Sweden never claimed that they would have less deaths and infections on the front end. They were looking for herd immunity, which they seem to be getting as per https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/22/no-lockdown-in-sweden-but-stockholm-could-see-herd-immunity-in-weeks.html

That is the key. Nobody thought that social distancing wont help. The question is if that is sustainable long term and if not what options do you have. They decided immunity is best. That might work.

Also as a side note. Social countries dont care as much about life as us in Western Capitalistic Conservative countries do. So the death of the weak and the old does not scare them.


Offline Ergel

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2020, 09:07:37 AM »
If in the end of the day, you are talking about 1000 extra deaths, I don't see how lockdowns make more sense for that than for car accidents.
Obviously, that hasn't been the case in many hotspots, which have been hit with exponential death growth. The question is, if Sweden is really on it's way to herd immunity, did they make the wrong decision? And beyond that, the question is why do they have so many fewer deaths per capita than NY?
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2020, 09:10:58 AM »
If in the end of the day, you are talking about 1000 extra deaths, I don't see how lockdowns make more sense for that than for car accidents.
Obviously, that hasn't been the case in many hotspots, which have been hit with exponential death growth. The question is, if Sweden is really on it's way to herd immunity, did they make the wrong decision? And beyond that, the question is why do they have so many fewer deaths per capita than NY?

Herd immunity from what, exactly?
Please wear a mask.

Offline AsherO

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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2020, 09:36:30 AM »
Sweden never claimed that they would have less deaths and infections on the front end. They were looking for herd immunity, which they seem to be getting as per https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/22/no-lockdown-in-sweden-but-stockholm-could-see-herd-immunity-in-weeks.html

That is the key. Nobody thought that social distancing wont help. The question is if that is sustainable long term and if not what options do you have. They decided immunity is best. That might work.

Also as a side note. Social countries dont care as much about life as us in Western Capitalistic Conservative countries do. So the death of the weak and the old does not scare them.

On the contrary, it can be argued that until we have vaccines or effective treatment, herd immunity is the best way to protect the at-risk population (such as the elderly) without confining them indefinitely.
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Re: Denmark and Sweden: An apples to apples comparison
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2020, 09:49:03 AM »
On the contrary, it can be argued that until we have vaccines or effective treatment, herd immunity is the best way to protect the at-risk population (such as the elderly) without confining them indefinitely.
But the road to herd immunity is paved with dead people.