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Wed May 13, 2020, 02:55 AM

"The false promise of 'herd immunity' to beat COVID"

"If the United States were to throw open the economy and bet on creating herd immunity without a vaccine, the death toll could run into the hundreds of thousands."

By CST Editorial Board, May 12, 2020

Much more...


The article quotes experts from JHU and notes that herd immunity did not work in Sweden.

21 replies, 1515 views

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Reply "The false promise of 'herd immunity' to beat COVID" (Original post)
Duppers May 13 OP
Post removed May 13 #1
appalachiablue May 13 #2
Duppers May 13 #3
Celerity May 13 #7
Celerity May 13 #4
PSPS May 13 #5
Celerity May 13 #8
SunSeeker May 13 #6
Celerity May 13 #9
intrepidity May 13 #10
ismnotwasm May 13 #16
LAS14 May 13 #18
Celerity May 13 #19
LAS14 May 13 #20
Celerity May 13 #21
mitch96 May 13 #11
llmart May 13 #12
mitch96 May 13 #13
Bayard May 13 #14
LAS14 May 13 #15
Wounded Bear May 13 #17

Response to Duppers (Original post)

Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:03 AM

2. Aka 'Sacrifice the weak' policy of Nazis eugenics program,

and Ayn Rand's libertarian 'survival of the richest'

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:07 AM

3. Most apt comparisons.

Thanks, appalachiablue.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:45 AM

7. Hitler's debt to America

The Nazis' extermination programme was carried out in the name of eugenics - but they were by no means the only advocates of racial purification. In this extract from his extraordinary new book, Edwin Black describes how Adolf Hitler's race hatred was underpinned by the work of American eugenicists



As America's eugenics movement gathered pace, it inspired a host of imitators. In France, Belgium, Sweden, England and elsewhere in Europe, cliques of eugenicists did their best to introduce eugenic principles into national life; they could always point to recent precedents established in the United States.

Germany was no exception. From the turn of the century, German eugenicists formed academic and personal relationships with the American eugenics establishment, in particular with Charles Davenport, the pioneering founder of the Eugenics Record Office on Long Island, New York, which was backed by the Harriman railway fortune. A number of other charitable American bodies generously funded German race biology with hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after the depression had taken hold.

Germany had certainly developed its own body of eugenic knowledge and library of publications. Yet German readers still closely followed American eugenic accomplishments as the model: biological courts, forced sterilisation, detention for the socially inadequate, debates on euthanasia. As America's elite were describing the socially worthless and the ancestrally unfit as "bacteria," "vermin," "mongrels" and "subhuman", a superior race of Nordics was increasingly seen as the answer to the globe's eugenic problems. US laws, eugenic investigations and ideology became blueprints for Germany's rising tide of race biologists and race-based hatemongers.

One such agitator was a disgruntled corporal in the German army. In 1924, he was serving time in prison for mob action. While there, he spent his time poring over eugenic textbooks, which extensively quoted Davenport, Popenoe and other American ethnological stalwarts. And he closely followed the writings of Leon Whitney, president of the American Eugenics Society, and Madison Grant, who extolled the Nordic race and bemoaned its "corruption" by Jews, Negroes, Slavs and others who did not possess blond hair and blue eyes. The young German corporal even wrote one of them fan mail.


Here Comes the Master Race

War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create A Master Race


EUGENICS -- the idea of manipulating human genes to the end of improving individuals, groups or entire populations -- is strongly associated with the Nazi programs of sterilization, euthanasia and genocide. But during the first third of the 20th century, eugenics movements flourished in many nations, including the United States. In the last few years, newspaper articles have called attention to -- and prompted official apologies for -- state-mandated sterilizations done legally to rid society of its alleged human trash, the ''weak'' in the title of Edwin Black's new book, notably in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon and California. Black is the author previously of ''IBM and the Holocaust,'' a work strongly suggesting that the company, with its punch-card machines, knowingly assisted Hitler's brutalities. His ''War Against the Weak,'' apparently written with similar intent, is a muckraking book about a subject incontestably awash in muck. In the vein of the genre, it is a stew rich in facts and spiced with half-truths, exaggerations and distortions. The most pungent ingredient is its central thesis: eugenic doctrines and policies favoring ''Nordic superiority'' were in fact invented in the United States, were developed in alliance with American wealth and power, and were then exported, inspiring Hitler and achieving their ultimate realization in the Holocaust.

Black pursues his thesis across largely familiar ground -- the eugenic theories that attributed costly physical conditions and socially deleterious behaviors to genetics, accounting for many of them as expressions of ''feeble-mindedness''; the claims in the United States that such deficiencies occurred with particularly high frequency among African-Americans and immigrants from eastern and southern Europe; the respectable standing of eugenic science at leading universities, state agencies and institutions, public interest organizations and research installations, notably the Eugenics Record Office, which was part of what became the department of genetics at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and which was financed in the main by the widow of the railroad magnate E. H. Harriman and in part by grants from the Rockefeller philanthropies. Black rightly observes that eugenic research into heredity combined ''equal portions of gossip, race prejudice, sloppy methods and leaps of logic, all caulked together by elements of actual genetic knowledge to create the glitter of a genuine science.''

The eugenics movement provided a biological rationale for the Immigration Act of 1924, which discriminated against immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, and for laws in a number of states that restricted interracial marriage. It scored a major victory with the case of Buck v. Bell in 1927, in which the United States Supreme Court, by a vote of 8 to 1, upheld the constitutionality of Virginia's eugenic sterilization law, with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. writing for the majority that the principle that upheld vaccination for the good of the community's physical health could sustain cutting the fallopian tubes for the benefit of its social health. Black has used the considerable work on eugenics, assiduously checking sources, including my own, and drawn on original published and archival materials in the United States and Europe, collecting some 50,000 documents, he tells us, with the aid of numerous volunteers working in several dozen repositories. If he covers what is in the main a well-known story, he adds to it substantial new detail, much of it chilling in its exposure of the shameless racism, class prejudice and cruelties of eugenic attitudes and practices in the United States. Some American eugenicists argued for killing the ''unfit,'' and a few indeed practiced it by subjecting newborns to euthanasia (not a merciful death for those in pain, Black points out, but a painless death for those ''deemed unworthy of life'').

In support of his main thesis, Black stresses that European eugenicists were linked with their American counterparts through international organizations, meetings, correspondence and visits several made to the United States, some to work at the Eugenics Record Office. German eugenicists praised American policies, research and writings and incorporated accounts of them into their works. In ''Mein Kampf,'' Hitler himself praised America's sterilization laws and immigration restriction act. Black also emphasizes that beginning in the 20's and continuing well into the Nazi period, the Rockefeller Foundation provided sizable funds for research at three eugenically oriented research institutes in Germany. All, he writes, would ''make their mark in the history of medical murder.''


The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics



But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing. Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed "unfit," preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the Twentieth Century's first decades, California's eugenicists included potent but little known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate and Polytechnic benefactor Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles M. Goethe, as well as members of the California State Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents. Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists hailing from such prestigious universities as Stamford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.

Stanford president David Starr Jordan originated the notion of "race and blood" in his 1902 racial epistle "Blood of a Nation," in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood. In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation's social service agencies and associations. The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, trumped up confinement or forced sterilization. The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California's quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as the Pasadena-based Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations--which functioned as part of a closely-knit network--published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis. Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863, Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people only married other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton's ideas were imported into the United States just as Gregor Mendel's principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenic advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man.


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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:18 AM

4. Herd immunity was never the primary goal here in Sweden. I keep seeing this posted over and over

Last edited Wed May 13, 2020, 04:52 AM - Edit history (1)

and it is simply incorrect. It has come up over and over again because some officials have started talking about Stockholm (where we live) reaching this level by the end of May. That has been misconstrued by so many to think that the drive for herd immunity is the principal core strategy, when it is not.

Hallengren: Sweden Not Pursuing Herd Immunity


Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, explains the country is not pursuing a policy of ’herd immunity’ when it comes to coronavirus and that looser restrictions in Sweden are being used because of how long they may have to stay in place. She tells Daybreak Europe’s Caroline Hepker and Roger Hearing it is too early to make comparisons about which countries have made the right policy choices in addressing the pandemic.

Running time 11:20

(Audio at the link.)

more on the false charge of herd immunity being our basic strategy

Sweden hits back at Trump's 'herd immunity' criticism


Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde has dismissed criticism by U.S. president Donald Trump concerning the country’s outlier strategy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. “He has used a factual error,” the minister said in an interview on broadcaster TV4 on Wednesday. Her comments follow Trump’s remarks a day earlier when he told reporters that Sweden is trying to achieve “herd immunity” and “is suffering greatly” from not doing enough.

The Nordic country is under intense scrutiny as it continues to experiment with a laxer policy response to the virus despite an accelerating death toll. Restaurants, shopping centers and primary schools all remain open in Scandinavia’s biggest economy. “Some countries seem to think that we aren’t doing anything, but we’re doing a lot of things that suit Sweden,” Linde said.

President Trump’s comments have also drawn the ire of Sweden’s top epidemiologist. “If you compare the situation to New York, where I have a relative working, things here are working well,” Anders Tegnell said in an interview with state broadcaster SVT. Meanwhile Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Lofven has said he sees no reason to respond to Trump, according to Swedish newspaper Expressen. “I have spoken lately to about 10 heads of state and I note that we are all following the same lead strategy,” Lofven said.


The vast bulk of foreign reporting simply ASSUMES that if we are not in total lockdown then that instantly means we are going for herd immunity. That is a pure logical fallacy, one that goes by multiple names: the Either/Or Fallacy, also sometimes called the Black-and-White Fallacy, or the Excluded Middle, or a False Dilemma/False Dichotomy.

Swedish Governments are by design granted far less sweeping powers than many nations, and although there have been multiple bills passed in the Riksdag that give it (the Government, in our case refers to the PM and his/her cabinet, not the Riksdag, ie parliament, as a whole) broader powers, it is not an overarching command and control schema of of power allocation. Norway, Denmark, and Finland do not operate under similar constraints to the level that we do.

The overall Swedish model is based off multiple rationales. Foremost is that due to the socio-political make-up here, there has been, for over a century, a very high level of reciprocal trust between the Riksdag, the Government. The vast majority of Swedes will inherently follow whatever guidelines the Government sets out as parameters. Also, along the socio-cultural vein, Swedes tend to naturally practice a higher level of native social distancing than most other nations. Around half of Swedes live by themselves. The vast majority of younger Swedes move out of their parent's homes as soon as they are able. It is in stark, stark contrast to many of the other cultures globally, where it is extraordinarily common to find 30 year olds, even 40 year olds and up still under their parent's roof. A simple multi-nation trip to South America, for instance, will positively confirm this.

Another factor in our approach has already been stated as well. Long term sustainability, especially if a a vaccine is not found within a year or more. Many of the nations who underwent a severe holistic lockdown will (as I see talked about here all the time) simply have a guaranteed second, and then third wave of dramatic impact. They are but delaying the inevitable unless a vaccine is quickly developed (which is not at all guaranteed.) The Swedish model attempts to control the ongoing caseload to a point where our healthcare system is not completely overrun. In this they have so far been fairly successful.

In terms of economics, we are going to see a vast contraction in the economy, mainly due to the fact that we are export-driven, and the rest of the world is in economic chaos. Finland, Denmark, and especially Norway are very well off nations, even more than Sweden, and are all half our size. They can quite possibly pay off a lot of the damage to their internal consumption superstructures (ie the smaller business and firms overall.) Sweden has relied on a more balanced approach (ie less government outlays due to milder restrictions, thus less need of massive for almost universal propping up of all firms who went into total lockdown in the other 3 main Nordic nations.) IF this pandemic continues on into 2021 or dog forbid even 2022, even those other 3 Nordics will be hard pressed to keep most all of their native businesses whole. The money will run out, even for Norway (although they are positioned better than probably any other nation on the planet due to their insane amount of wealth in their multiple Sovereign National investment and Pensions Funds (they have enough to literally give every adult citizen well over 1 million dollars (US dollars) and still not completely deplete their reserves.)

We shall see what happens in terms of COVID-19 spread in the other three main Nordics, as they are now starting to open up again, albeit they are probably a months or two away from being at the Swedish level. I suspect that IF they start to see a dramatic uptick in cases and deaths, they will go back and shut down again. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.

Another huge myth, pushed by cheap, shoddy journalism is that it is the Wild West here, and basically the entire country is running around like banshees with zero mitigation actions. This is utter tosh.

see this article for further drilling down:

'The biggest myth about Sweden is that life is going on as normal'



Sweden to shut bars and restaurants that ignore coronavirus restrictions


now I shall deal with the very bad aspects of what happened, as I am in no way trying to sugarcoat anything

Our large fail, a horrid tragedy (and the main reason we are so badly off in terms of deaths per million compared to Denmark, Norway, and Finland) was our nursing homes. They account for as much as 70% (there is a shedload of argument here atm, some say it is even higher, some say it is lower,, around 50%, but certainly it is higher than our neighbours) of our deaths en toto. We (unfortunately) had a FAR more lax system in terms of visitation/protocols and in terms of higher staff turnover than the other Nordics do with their elderly-care homes. Those arguments and finger-pointings are now the hottest topic in the whole country atm. They fucked up bad.

Several days ago, on SVT (our state TV,) a group of doctors and healthcare experts (these fall into the group that say it is around 70% of all deaths) said we if had similar nursing home deaths and overall elderly deaths per million rates that Denmark has, our deaths per million OVERALL (for all age cohorts) would only be a wee bit higher than the Danes. They said we would be at around 110-120 deaths per million versus the Dane's rate of 90pm (which will soon cross 100.)

They also said that other Nordics are being far more conservative than Sweden has been with their COVID-19 death attributions so all the other Nordics have higher death rates than they are letting on (that war of words has been going on for months, and has gotten REALLY nasty at times, especially with Denmark versus Sweden, quelle surprise), All the other Nordics have a very hostile stance in regards to Sweden in terms of our refugee/immigration policy. That group (the refugees/immigrants) have also be really hard hit here as well, as they do not practice social distancing to a level anywhere near to what the native Swedes do, plus they are less well-off income wise, and also health wise (for a number of reasons.)

Refugees/immigrants also make up a much, much higher percentage of of the Swedish population than they do in Norway, Denmark, and especially Finland. In the past 23, 25 or so years, we have taken in the US-equivalent of well over 50 million refugees, the vast bulk post 2002 (starting with the 2003 US-led 2nd Iraq war, and continuing on with all the other US/UK/NATO-led ME shitstorms like Libya, Syria, etc) Before that is was the Balkan wars that the US/UK/NATO (we are NOT in NATO) also played a huge role in. Before that it was all the other US shit-stirs (the murder coup against Allende in Chile (when Chile played Sweden in football a couple years back at Stockholm's Friends Arena, 80% of the giant stadium was Chilean), the multiple Central American murder coups and wars, various African coups, etc.) This has been going back to the staring major event, Operation Ajax in 1953, when the CIA led the coup d'etat of Mossadegh in Iran and installed the murderous thug Shah and his SS-style SAVAK into power. It is why we have a shedload of Persians (Iranians) here (and they have integrated in more or less wonderfully over the past 67 years they have been migrating here), but that is a LONG discussion for another time.

Finally, to reiterate, many of the stories I have seen pushed also erroneously try and paint a picture that there are no restrictions (or very little) in place at all (my 'Wild West' analogy above), and certainly do not do any sort of deep, nuanced dive into what actually happened, why it happened, and what's happening at present, here on the ground.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:36 AM

5. Go on a speaking tour at funerals. I'm sure this will be well received by the grieving.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #5)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:50 AM

8. that rebuts nothing that I posted, and is basic argumentum ad passiones

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:38 AM

6. Tegnell acted as if there was no such thing as asymptomatic spread.

They actually advised nursing home staff not to wear masks unless with an obviously sick patient:

Its advice to the care workers and nurses looking after older people such as Bondesson’s 69-year-old mother is that they should not wear protective masks or use other protective equipment unless they are dealing with a resident in the home they have reason to suspect is infected. 

“The worst thing is that it is us, the staff, who are taking the infection in to the elderly,” complained one nurse to Swedish public broadcaster SVT. “It’s unbelievable that more of them haven’t been infected. It’s a scandal.” 


Surely Tegnell was aware of asymptomatic spread. Sweden's handling of nursing homes is unfathomable.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #6)

Wed May 13, 2020, 04:17 AM

9. yes, as I stated, our handling of the nursing homes was atrociously bad, a huge and tragic fail

you stated

Surely Tegnell was aware of asymptomatic spread.

Actually (shockingly) Tegnell and others at the top, since January, at the beginning, and STILL, as of today, deny asymptomatic spread is an significant issue, another massive cock-up IMHO.

It is a major part of the huge amount of elderly deaths.

here is an article from February 3, 2020



The Public Health Agency of Sweden reacted less charitably. “The sources that claimed that the coronavirus would infect during the incubation period lack scientific support for this analysis in their articles,” says a document with frequently asked questions the agency posted on its website yesterday. “This applies, among other things, to an article in [NEJM] that has subsequently proven to contain major flaws and errors.” Even if the patient’s symptoms were unspecific, it wasn’t an asymptomatic infection, says Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. “Asymptomatic means no symptoms, zero. It means you feel fine. We have to be careful with our words.”


an article from May 7th

Sweden tells people with COVID-19 symptoms to isolate for two — not 14 — days

Sweden believes that asymptomatic transmission is not a significant factor in the spread of coronavirus, but the WHO says people should self-isolate for 14 days


The two-day self-isolation period is built on the agency’s long-standing position that asymptomatic transmission is not a significant factor in the spread of coronavirus, and falls far short of that recommended by the WHO, which says people should self-isolate for 14 days.

“I agree more with the WHO’s recommendations,” Lennart Svensson, a professor in molecular virology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet medical university, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper yesterday. “We know that you can secrete the virus more than 48 hours after you have last had symptoms. I think it is better to be over-cautious than to be on the edge because then you risk outbreaks at the elderly care homes, for instance.”


more (April 21)

‘Closing borders is ridiculous’: the epidemiologist behind Sweden’s controversial coronavirus strategy

Anders Tegnell talks to Nature about the nation’s ‘trust-based’ approach to tackling the pandemic.



Can you explain Sweden’s approach to controlling the coronavirus?

I think it has been overstated how unique the approach is. As in many other countries, we aim to flatten the curve, slowing down the spread as much as possible — otherwise the health-care system and society are at risk of collapse.

This is not a disease that can be stopped or eradicated, at least until a working vaccine is produced. We have to find long-term solutions that keeps the distribution of infections at a decent level. What every country is trying to do is to keep people apart, using the measures we have and the traditions we have to implement those measures. And that’s why we ended up doing slightly different things.

The Swedish laws on communicable diseases are mostly based on voluntary measures — on individual responsibility. It clearly states that the citizen has the responsibility not to spread a disease. This is the core we started from, because there is not much legal possibility to close down cities in Sweden using the present laws. Quarantine can be contemplated for people or small areas, such as a school or a hotel. But [legally] we cannot lock down a geographical area.


Researchers have criticized the agency for not fully acknowledging the role of asymptomatic carriers. Do you think asymptomatic carriers are a problem?

There is a possibility that asymptomatics might be contagious, and some recent studies indicate that. But the amount of spread is probably fairly small compared to people who show symptoms. In the normal distribution of a bell curve asymptomatics sit at the margin, whereas most of the curve is occupied by symptomatics, the ones that we really need to stop.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed May 13, 2020, 04:32 AM

10. Thank you for that informative post

It's nice hearing from someone on the ground there.

Stay safe

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed May 13, 2020, 02:07 PM

16. Then I apologize, I've been assuming.. I guess, that it was

I thought I read it from the architect of the policy, but perhaps was mistaken. I assumed the pay off would be in lower deaths during a second wave.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #4)

Wed May 13, 2020, 02:26 PM

18. If the phrase "herd immunity" hadn't been co-opted by the far right...

.... maybe we could talk about these things more easily.

I understand "herd immunity" as being a state where there are very few new infections because so many people have immunity, either because of vaccinations (a long way away) or infections (shorte, looser mitigation, peaky curve, or middle range, stricter mitigation, a flattened curve.) If that is the definition, then we all want it. The differences lie in how long we're waiting to get it. I also understand it to be an epidemiological concept, not a political one.

I also understand that whether there is a peaky curve or a flattened curve, there will, ultimately, be the same number of cases. (Although maybe not the same number of deaths, depending on the resilience of the health care system.)

I didn't really understand why you and the people in the links objected to "herd immunity" as being a goal. Is it a matter of motivation? Is it because you want to make clear that the goal for Sweden was protection of children's education and livlihood, particularly for the poorer populations? And not some crass capitalistic desire to keep business open? If so, I think it's loading too much on the term "herd immunity," and ceding the ownership of the phrase to Trump and friends.

I also understand that allowing infections to spread sooner rather than later does not mean that elderly and otherwise vulnerable should not be protected. You did an admirable job of explaining what was needed and what Sweden neglected for too long. But if we all understood that to be a part of not choosing avoidance as the only goal (and it's postponement, not avoidence), then, again, what is wrong with trying to achieve "herd immunity" sooner rather than later?

In other words, what do you and those you cite understand by "herd immunity" that you want to be so clear that it's not what you're seeking?


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Response to LAS14 (Reply #18)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:41 PM

19. because going for a straight herd immunity approach is not what they did, simple as that

That would entail basically just letting people run riot, and that, I can assure you, is NOT at all what has happened, breathless and doomy global press articles falsely claiming just that, aside. We badly bollocksed up our nursing homes, that is the main tragedy so far for us. It is inexcusable, and is a the subject of tremendous rancor here, internally.

Rightly or wrongly (time will tell) they chose a path to try and strike a balance, and a sustainable path in terms of not overwhelming our healthcare system, not bottling up the virus's potential targets (the ones at low risk for death and/or serious health issues) that would more than likely truly ensure a much larger 2nd and even 3rd wave (according to their analysis) and also not completely blowing out the internal consumption side of the economy (which has worked worked for Q1, as our GDP has dropped much less than most other EU states.) That said (the econ part) we are already getting spanked hard due to the fact the global supply chain superstructure is in a shambolic state, and we are export-driven, so we are deffo going to see a big downturn come Q2, Q3, Q4, unfortunately.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #19)

Wed May 13, 2020, 03:59 PM

20. OK. Given that definition, I'd totally support Sweden's denying it.

"just letting people run riot,"

It's just that, in my mind, and Thomas Friedman's (though I'm not sure he used the phrase), the approach always involves protecting the elderly and otherwise vulnerable. Never "just letting people run riot."

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Response to LAS14 (Reply #20)

Wed May 13, 2020, 04:18 PM

21. I meant the non high risk people running riot, the at risk would still be sequestered

'The biggest myth about Sweden is that life is going on as normal'

Life in Sweden is absolutely not going on as normal, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin told The Local as she warned the government was prepared to take stronger measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.


April 24th, 2020

Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister, Environment Minister and co-leader of the Green Party. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Sweden has been the subject of huge international attention during the coronavirus crisis given the decision not to impose the kind of strict lockdown similar to those imposed across Europe and in the United States. It has banned events of more than 50 people and barred visits to retirement homes, but has mainly relied on guidelines for social distancing and has stressed personal responsibility in the battle to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But in an interview with The Local, Deputy PM Isabella Lövin said it was wrong to suggest the more relaxed approach meant it was business as usual in Sweden. "The biggest myth and misconception is that life goes on as normal in Sweden," she said. "It absolutely does not." "We have seen Easter travel decrease by 90 percent, we have businesses going bankrupt, a record number of temporary layoffs, and a lot of unemployed people."

Lövin said the tourism industry in Sweden had been hit "incredibly hard" by the crisis caused by the pandemic, which has been linked to over 2,000 deaths in the country. "A lot of small businesses are on their knees because production is down or has decreased a lot. It is not business as usual in Sweden but the opposite, things are very, very tough." While there is no complete lockdown in Sweden Lövin said the impact of the health authorities' advice has led to a similar kind of changes in habits and way of life that other countries have seen.

"If you look at people's behaviour it is a very big difference compared to a normal situation. A lot of people are working from home, a lot of people have called in sick with minor symptoms," she said. As part of the official guidelines to the public the Swedish government and health authorities have been urging people suffering even minor coronavirus-like symptoms not to go to work, to lower the risk of spreading the virus.


'We're working day and night to save jobs in Sweden... but we can't make guarantees'

It may take months or even years before life in Sweden can fully return to normal after the coronavirus crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin tells The Local. Here at The Local, like many other people who are able to work from home, we have been doing so for the past month. What about you, how has your daily life changed during the coronavirus outbreak?


Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

Just like everyone else who has the opportunity to work remotely, I am doing a lot of that at the moment, with telephone and video calls and so on. All international travel is of course cancelled and so is travel within the country, so life is very different right now. And at the same time we are working incredibly hard, the government has negotiated and put forward support packages of more than 100 billion kronor ($10 billion) and the preparatory work to rapidly put together all of those reforms and proposals is very intense.

Isabella Lövin and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in a video meeting. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Regeringskansliet

I bet there are a lot of meetings. Do you get regular updates from the health agencies as well?

The party leaders have discussions every week and the Public Health Agency and National Board of Health and Welfare are there to give us updates, about everything from the infection situation and the situation for healthcare, healthcare material and the situation in Sweden's municipalities and administrative regions. I have to say, it is incredibly impressive how the Swedish healthcare sector has been able to mobilise during this time. The number of beds in intensive care units, ventilators and protective equipment – things that there was a lot of concern about in the early days – have increased, especially intensive care beds.

The strategy has always been to first curb the spread of infection and secondly to ensure that the healthcare system has enough resources so it does not get overburdened. The second part has so far succeeded. We still have intensive care beds available, quite a lot of them, so we have managed to increase that capacity. It should be noted that healthcare staff are doing heroic work at the moment and are under a lot of pressure, but so far we have managed to ensure that Covid-19 patients – and all our other patients – get the intensive care they need.

You recently met with Ahmed Abdirahman, founder of politics festival Järvaveckan in northern Stockholm, who raised concern after it emerged that immigrant communities in some of the suburbs were overrepresented in the number of coronavirus cases. What did you learn in the meeting?

It was a good meeting, and it was about listening to what the situation is like in Järva and what kind of support they need to handle this situation, and also the lessons we need to understand why the infection spread so fast, especially in Järva, and is still serious in some suburbs such as Skärholmen, Tensta and Rinkeby.


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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 07:54 AM

11. " 'herd immunity' to beat COVID"

Yup, go ahead but make sure the "herd" had their red MAGA hats on.. That will definitely thin out the "herd"........ It would be a good social experiment. See how many red hats get the virus as opposed to other methods...


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Response to mitch96 (Reply #11)

Wed May 13, 2020, 08:24 AM

12. Something I overheard yesterday...

while on my daily walk at the park. A group of three people were talking to another and I could tell they were talking about the virus. As I got closer to this group who were standing shoulder to shoulder and not moving away from other people who wanted to pass on the trail, I heard one loud mouthed woman telling another the following: "Take my advice and do yourself a favor. Get it now and get it over with and then you won't have to worry about it any longer. These rules "they" put in place are just stupid."

As I got close enough and could tell they weren't going to budge so I could pass without getting close to any of them, I said, "You need to back of the trail." As I kept walking I could hear the loudmouth getting all huffy that I had the gall to say that. Now, I'm not a confrontational person for the most part, but these people were deliberately trying to make their stupid point.

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Response to llmart (Reply #12)

Wed May 13, 2020, 01:00 PM

13. "deliberately trying to make their stupid point."

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 01:20 PM

14. I don't believe the herd premise either

I have a friend that is also saying--we should all just get it and get it over with. She quickly changed the subject when I started huffing and puffing. I was pointing out that there is no science backing for--if you get it once, you won't get it again. She's in her late 60's, various health issues like being quite overweight. I don't think this is a good idea for her.

Of course, she voted for trump last time, but going for Biden this time around, saying trump has turned out to be just too crazy. I think there's going to be many people saying that.

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Response to Bayard (Reply #14)

Wed May 13, 2020, 02:02 PM

15. I really wish people would stop politicizing the herd immunity discussion. It should have...

... nothing to do with politics. Just science.

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Response to Duppers (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2020, 02:09 PM

17. The big question with "herd immunity" is how many casualties can you take...

and who get's to be sacrificed? Basically it's a "kill them all and let God sort them out" concept.

Without the measures that have been taken, the death toll would be much higher, and that is fact.

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