Sweden wasn’t interested in Covid, but Covid was interested in Sweden

Better late than never:

Sweden announced its toughest measures yet against coronavirus, including its first recommendation to use face masks, as its death toll continued to increase.

Prime minister Stefan Lofven announced on Friday evening a range of new restrictions from Christmas Eve, including a recommendation to wear face masks on public transport in rush hour. He also said that higher secondary schools and many municipal services would be closed for a month, while entrance to shops, shopping centres and gyms would be restricted.

“This year, Christmas has to be different. The situation is still serious . . . The situation in hospitals is very strained,” Mr Lofven told a press conference.

And this reminded me of certain pollyannish commenters.

Sweden was caught unaware by the strength of the second wave after state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell repeatedly said in spring and summer that it would be spared compared with neighbours such as Finland and Norway.

Remember “herd immunity”?

PS. And speaking of masks.



52 Responses to “Sweden wasn’t interested in Covid, but Covid was interested in Sweden”

  1. Gravatar of Can Sar Can Sar
    18. December 2020 at 15:26

    Not sure how much overlap there is with the FT article (not a subscriber) but I found this background on why Sweden may have chosen the strategy (“nothing bad happens to Swedes”) interesting: https://thedispatch.com/p/covid-19-and-the-failure-of-swedish

  2. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    18. December 2020 at 16:19

    A 71 year old obese man who probably had diabetes died of Covid-19 and so obvious that not only if he had worn a mask but others around him, he would be alive today. The article states that those in his caucus are responsible for his death. Scott once again getting knowledge about the pandemic from Bloomberg and the FT, always the sources I go to as well for scientific information about coronavirus.

    So what is “It’s about time”? There are still no lockdowns and 15% of Swedes wear masks, up from 5% most of the year.

    Oh, and in Covid-19 deaths per million, Sweden is #24 in the world at 740. What a failure. The Dutch never had a lockdown either and didn’t start to wear masks (50%) until fall and they are at #28.

    Meanwhile, Italy and Spain with 90% mask wearing since April are in the top 5 Covid-19 deaths per million.

    The U.S. is at #10 but only because we had Trump as president. If Clinton were in charge, the U.S. wouldn’t have even cracked the top 50. Obviously.

    Bloomberg: “Sweden was caught unaware by the strength of the second wave after state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell repeatedly said in spring and summer that it would be spared compared with neighbours such as Finland and Norway.”

    I have listened to about ten interviews of Tegnell, and he never once said that.

  3. Gravatar of Joe Joe
    18. December 2020 at 17:11

    When you look at excess mortality, Sweden seems to have reached herd immunity. Only healthy folks gettin infected now?


    And now we have another, South Dakota, which again shows that this virus seems to burn out a certain (low) death rate as % of population


  4. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    18. December 2020 at 17:20

    Unreal take, you must be trolling. Negative 4% excess deaths, and this is what you chose to post about. It baffles the mind. I know you’ve seen all the obvious refutations of the BS narratives, no sense repeating them. Why you’ve chosen not to carry a single ounce of water for civil liberties at a time like this I will never understand.

  5. Gravatar of Steve J Steve J
    18. December 2020 at 17:25

    Todd – I am confused. What did you think the point of pursuing herd immunity was other than to reduce a second wave? And are you saying this quote is fabricated?

    “In the autumn there will be a second wave. Sweden will have a high level of immunity and the number of cases will probably be quite low,” Mr Tegnell told the Financial Times. “But Finland will have a very low level of immunity. Will Finland have to go into a complete lockdown again?”

  6. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    18. December 2020 at 17:38

    Cartesian, What do you mean by negative 4% excess deaths. Here is some data from the CDC, ignoring the COVID attribution: “Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late January through October 3, 2020”. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6942e2.htm

    Here are the top causes of death in 2019:
    * Heart disease: 655,381
    * Cancer: 599,274
    * Accidents (unintentional injuries): 167,127
    * Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 159,486
    * Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 147,810

    That seems like a big deal.

    Also, those obvious refutations aren’t so obvious – that’s why they are not generally accepted.

    As for the civil liberties, it is REALLY concerning to all of us. But on balance… I’ll let Milton Friedman speak for me on this one https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/12/the-ideological-shift-of-the-libertarian-movement-on-pandemics.html

    “As already noted, significant neighborhood effects justify substantial public health activities: maintaining the purity of water, assuring proper sewage disposal, controlling contagious diseases.”

  7. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    18. December 2020 at 18:14


    That quote doesn’t quite equate with Sweden would be spared compared to Finland and Norway. Also, notice that Tegnell only wondered if Finland would lock down again because Norway said in May that they had made a mistake locking down in March and wouldn’t lock down again because it did nothing to slow the virus and harmed children’s growth.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. December 2020 at 18:28

    Can Sar, Interesting.

    Todd, That’s right, don’t compare Sweden to Norway and Finland, compare it to similar countries such as Italy and Spain.

    Joe, Almost nowhere in the world has reached herd immunity, at least without lots of social distancing. Sweden is not even close, and its Covid death rate is soaring right now.

    You need to be careful with Swedish data, as it’s reported with a long lag.

    The Dakotas are doing a bit better recently, as the horrific outbreak has scared them into social distancing.

    Cartesian, There are more than 300,000 excess deaths in the US. Stop relying on loony right wing websites.

    And recommending that people wear masks is not exactly taking away their civil liberties. Nor is closing government schools. Or having adequate testing.

  9. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    18. December 2020 at 18:30

    Maybe Scott Sumner has bragging rights, on the other hand, everywhere you look (outside of draconian mainland China and lackadaisical Thailand) nations are going through second-, third- and fourth-waves of C19.

    Hong Kong, despite high state capacity and shuttered borders, and a small easily administrated region, is in a “fourth wave.”

    Let us hope the vaccines work, and I see no reason why they should not.

    BTW, usually the mainstream media, on finding out about a successful woman in STEM, falls all over themselves to highlight her accomplishments and insights.

    Alina Chan is a molecular biologist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Well, that’s a lot a street cred, no?

    Long story short, Chan thinks the Wuhan virus could have been, and likely was, developed in a lab, as it seemed to appear fully developed and evolved to work in humans. No origins, no evolution.

    If you find a new animal species somewhere, you should find precursors. Not in the case of the Wuhan virus.


    But Chan is not a media hero, not lionized as a woman pioneer in the hard sciences. A “woman of color” too!

    “For good measure, almost in passing, Chan pointed out a detail no one else had noticed: COVID-19 contains an uncommon genetic sequence that has been used by genetic engineers in the past to insert genes into coronaviruses without leaving a trace, and it falls at the exact point that would allow experimenters to swap out different genetic parts to change the infectivity.”

  10. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    18. December 2020 at 18:45

    “Todd, That’s right, don’t compare Sweden to Norway and Finland, compare it to similar countries such as Italy and Spain.”

    Sweden’s population, elderly care and the extent coronavirus entered the country are much closer to Britain than to Norway and Finland. Again, Norway said that there was no reason to lock down.

  11. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    18. December 2020 at 18:54

    “Sweden is not even close, and its Covid death rate is soaring right now.”

    Ignoring the past week, Sweden’s increase in deaths was 0.9% a day – at the average of Europe and the same as Denmark then and not “soaring.” Germany’s deaths were increasing at 2% a day. France in full lockdown had deaths increasing at 0.8% a day then.

  12. Gravatar of raja_r raja_r
    18. December 2020 at 19:50

    ““Todd, That’s right, don’t compare Sweden to Norway and Finland, compare it to similar countries such as Italy and Spain.””

    Vermont and SD, which you’ve compared before are roughly 1600 miles apart. Sweden and France are about 1400 miles apart.

    Tell me again, which countries/areas count as “similar” when comparing Covid infection & fatality rates? Is it distance, demographics…whatever confirms your priors?

  13. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatrics Cartesian Theatrics
    19. December 2020 at 00:29

    I was talking about Sweden, not the US. And I don’t read “looney right wing web sites”. I try to follow good individuals with different perspectives and that’s about it. Hard to find these days. Tom Woods for example has done a good job exposing some of the Covid bs recently. I skim MSM but it’s getting increasingly unbearable. This blog has historically been a mainstay also, but I disagree with your political takes.

    Just because there’s a lot of noise (thanks xu…), doesn’t mean there’s never any signal.

  14. Gravatar of xu xu
    19. December 2020 at 00:58

    The constitution doesn’t say ‘medical tyranny is an acceptable form of governance”.

    Cherry Picking data is a form of propaganda! Florida has no social distancing, businesses remain open, and life goes on. NJ has social distancing, businesses closed, and life is halted. Despite this, NJ has higher spikes.

    And boy oh boy do you have a hard time getting information through that very small brain of yours. YOU, Scott “CCP” Sumner are not an epidemiologist. 10,000 of them signed a beautiful and lovely document that says people’s lives should continue uninterrupted by totalitarian apparatchiks. And you, a very low economist, have the audacity to say 10,000 are wrong?

    You are a megalomaniac.

  15. Gravatar of henry henry
    19. December 2020 at 01:01

    Sumner is OWNED by the CCP. He wants to destroy the economy, and enslave the population. Whatever Sumner says we should do, do the opposite!

  16. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 03:23


    Why would you want to limit the comparison between Sweden and geographical neighbors as Scott does? For example, Sweden is the only country out of the four to have a large immigrant population but some other European countries like the UK do as well. Epidemiologists will compare Sweden with all European countries next year using many variables.

    One major problem with comparisons in the pandemic is that as Tegnell said this past summer: “We also need to realize that how we measure mortality differs considerably between different countries and that’s been highlighted in a number of reports.” We know that in March the CDC changed its advice to doctors on how to record a death, no longer requiring a doctor to limit the first line on the certificate to a single primary cause as they were required to do until coronavirus hit. Singapore does not count “with Covid-19” as a Covid-19 death as the U.S., U.K. and Sweden do, and I’ve read that Germany is more restrictive as well.

  17. Gravatar of bob bob
    19. December 2020 at 03:48

    I cannot wait for the insurrection act to be invoked. It will be so beautiful to watch the epic communist libtard snowflake meltdown.

    MSM heads will explode. Scott and Hunter will seek refuge in China, Clinton will try to explain that martial law is degrading to woman, BLM Marxists will literally shit themselves, and Biden will cry in his basement.


  18. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    19. December 2020 at 07:08

    Amazingly inane comment by Sumner. Does he realize Sweden is doing this PRECISELY BECAUSE there’s a vaccine just around the corner? Herd immunity is a remedy if there is NO vaccine. Can’t believe I have to explain this…

  19. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 07:31

    It’s so sad when people make arguments from data that is not up-to-date. Lately it has been everyone talking about excess death data in the last few weeks which is not final and will end up much higher. Sweden’s late reporting doesn’t just go back one week, it goes back two weeks and sometimes more. I track their results on worldometer every day and they go back and update data from 20 days ago sometimes.

    If you see COVID deaths and excess deaths skyrocketing and then mysteriously plummeting over the last 2 weeks, you can be sure you don’t have up-to-date data. Sweden is experiencing a ton of excess deaths right now just like the U.S.

    It’s almost as sad as when people were using Worldometer before they understood that data was updated throughout the day “cases are down 80% today!” “No, it’s 11AM…”

  20. Gravatar of Joe Joe
    19. December 2020 at 07:50

    Scott, but look at the first link I sent. All cause mortality is basically the same in sweden as in prior years. Even if it is soaring, doesn’t the all cause mortality numbers show that it’s not worth doing anything about since total deaths are same as prior years

    It seems we are all focusing on a single metric (covid cases/deaths) and missing the Forrest for the trees

  21. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 08:04

    Yes, *so* sad.

    First, Sweden’s increase in cases per day on average. I made the first column five days ago and the second today:

    Nov 5 to Nov 11….2.7% 2.7%
    Nov 19 to Nov 25…2.2% 2.3%
    Dec 1 to Dec 7…..1.9% 1.9%
    Dec 8 to Dec 14….1.9% 2.1%

    Sweden’s increase in deaths per day on average:

    Nov 5 to Nov 11….0.4% 0.5%
    Nov 19 to Nov 25…— 1.0%
    Dec 1 to Dec 7…..— 0.8%
    Dec 8 to Dec 14….— too soon

    It is still obvious that unless Scott has inside information about how many Swedes died this past week of Covid-19, they are not “shooting up” even if may be slowly accelerating.

  22. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 08:09

    ” I track their results on worldometer every day and they go back and update data from 20 days ago sometimes.”

    When I was tracking Sweden more often in summer, I noticed corrections every so often but don’t remember any going back 20 days. The most I remember was around 14 days yet the later ones didn’t need to adjust as much as the most recent 10.

  23. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    19. December 2020 at 08:15

    Maybe you should explain it for us Ray. Because what I understand you to be saying is that only now that a vaccine is a possibility in the near future does it makes sense to try to limit spread until then. Whereas earlier it made sense to not try very hard? Because of some idea that no vaccine or better treatments would ever arrive? Is that what you are saying?

  24. Gravatar of anon anon
    19. December 2020 at 09:33

    Ray certainly has a point. In the absence of a certainty on availability of a vaccine (by when? if someone says they for sure knew that a vaccine will be available by Dec 2020, then they can as well sell you Eiffel tower cheaply at 100m EUR), it makes sense to shoot for herd immunity rather than go for heavy *govt* mandated lockdowns. And advise people to follow certain practices to minimize the spread. But when you have a answer, ok within the next 3 months, then you can sell a lock down better to the populace – there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is not yet a is there light at the end of this tunnel now).

    Though – how much of bad science, if not bad, glossing over certain things, is there in the rush to produce a vaccine, not withstanding the excoriation of TC and AT and the ilk that castigates FDA. FDA is what it is because for some reason they had to develop all the protocols and processes to approve a drug. No single master mind one fine day built FDA just-so to be a blocker. Chesterton’s fence. Doesn’t justify the inefficiency but it is not designed to be so, it evolved to be so.

  25. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. December 2020 at 09:37

    Todd, Sweden’s not being hit by a severe second wave? LOL, you get crazier by the day. The Swedish data comes out with a very long lag.

    Cartesian. Sweden? Then my answer is the same—they have roughly as many excess deaths as Covid cases. Stop relying on fake news.


    raja, Vermont and South Dakota? Same country and both are low density states. The difference is culture, the Dakotans don’t like to wear masks and social distance. They listened to Trump, and now they are dying in large numbers.

    Ray, Sure, that’s part if it. So what?

    Anonymous, A rare voice of reason.

    Joe, As I said, the excess deaths data is reported with a lag. In the first wave (up to November 9), Sweden had roughly 6200 Covid deaths and 6400 excess deaths. I expect a similar proportion for the second wave, when all the data is in:


    They are not even close to herd immunity.

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. December 2020 at 09:42

    Everyone, Look at Swedish cases and deaths. The recent fall in deaths is completely due to a reporting lag. When the data is finally in a few weeks later, it will show that Sweden has likely already reached the April peak in deaths.


    People should not comment on data unless they know what they are doing, and most commenters (except Anonymous) seem to be in over their heads.

  27. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 11:10

    “Todd, Sweden’s not being hit by a severe second wave? LOL, you get crazier by the day. The Swedish data comes out with a very long lag.”

    Scott, even when I explain that Sweden’s lag isn’t that long it does no good. What I’m refuting is your claim that deaths in Sweden are “soaring.” Are they soaring in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the U.K., France and Italy as well? In all of these countries the death rate is about the same as Sweden and the acceleration has slowed down.

    Germany 2.7%
    U.S. 1%
    Canada 1%
    Italy 1%
    UK 0.7%
    France 0.7%
    Spain 0.5%

    We know that Sweden’s increase in Covid-19 deaths is *about* 1.0% and the increase in cases a day has not been increasing. But for some reason you think you have a clear crystal ball that refutes this.

  28. Gravatar of James James
    19. December 2020 at 12:33

    Scott is absolutely right about Swedish data lags. For an advanced country they are ludicrously out of date. They always show a “decline” (from a previously hidden) peak as incomplete figures are always added to complete figures. You’ve got to wonder if they are actually fooling themselves, let alone all the ignoramuses on the comment thread here. It seems to have taken their King to pass a highly unusual comment before the country properly woke up

    Really gloomy news tonight on new “highly transmissible” covid strain in the U.K. (and probably elsewhere).

  29. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    19. December 2020 at 12:50

    Scott is right 100%.

    I was not aware of this before, but maybe Sweden has a significantly different culture than Germany?

    A pompous blowhard like Anders Tegnell, with such a record, who is permanently wrong and even lies again and again, would have been fired very quickly in Germany.

    The Swedes seem to be very tolerant, or in other words ignorant, or they have a way of dealing with mistakes that is so politically correct now that people are not even allowed to criticize other people anymore.

    Scott recently talked about knightly honor. This Tegnell has no honor and no decency. A person with decency would have resigned long time ago, in Japan probably with a thousand apologies and bowings, and 20-30 years ago followed by a ritual suicide.

    I don’t understand the Swedish government either. Someone like that must be removed from office as soon as possible.

  30. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 13:03

    Covid-19 deaths per million:

    1. Belgium 1,500
    2. Peru 1,100
    3. Italy 1,100

    9. U.K. 990
    10. U.S.970
    11. France 920

    24. Sweden 750 (no lockdown, no masks)

    28. Netherlands 600 (no lockdown, restaurants, etc. closed for three weeks in spring, no masks)

    But… “Bad Sweden, bad!”

  31. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    19. December 2020 at 13:38

    Trump, Tegnell, and the Toddmeister.

    It’s really hard to tell which of the ever lying three T’s is lying more. It seems to be a serious psychiatric illness, although one should not judge too hastily here, because it would be kind of an insult – to any other psychiatrically ill person.

    Here is just one obvious example:

    Netherlands 600 (no lockdown, restaurants, etc. closed for three weeks in spring, no masks)

    The Dutch government said 5 days ago:

    Lockdown in order to minimise contact between people. Coronavirus is once again spreading rapidly. This is why the Netherlands will go into its strictest lockdown yet from 15 December until at least Tuesday 19 January.

    There must be two Netherlands then, one in the everlasting world of lies of the Toddmeister, and a real one between England, Germany and Belgium.

    And the masks, oh yeah, the masks, the BBC wrote about masks on the 1st of December:

    “Netherlands makes face masks mandatory. The rule will apply to those over the age of 13 in public buildings such as shops, railway stations and hairdressers from Tuesday. The Netherlands has been one of the countries worst affected by Europe’s second wave of Covid-19. It broke daily case records throughout October, and the number of new confirmed infections in the country of 17 million has remained fairly stable at about 5,000 a day for several weeks.”

    Again another Netherlands!

  32. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 15:32

    With the Netherlands, I was referring to spring through fall. I didn’t follow what they were doing the past couple of weeks and that has nothing to do with their number of Covid-19 deaths. Same with masks. Denmark passed a mask mandate in late August for public transportation and cases rose from 0.7% increase per day to 2.0% a day in late October when they passed a general mask mandate. How surprising to see that the increase in cases kept steadily rising to 3% a day, isn’t it Mr. List?

    The Netherlands “lockdown” for the past few days isn’t close to the lockdowns in France and Britain but mostly what it did for three weeks in early spring.

    The BBC, as with Scott, would never consider informing readers that the Netherlands is at #28 in Covid-19 deaths per capita because that would be giving them important information.

  33. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatrics Cartesian Theatrics
    19. December 2020 at 15:43


    Of course cases will go up. But if you look at January-October from 2015-2020, the all-cause death rate is within the noise, despite historic low fatality in recent years. Yes, deaths will end up being a little above the noise. Those who care about civil liberties should not see this as justification for destroying small business.

    The most important leverage points are in treatment. We’ve made a lot of progress at helping people at the stage of practically drowning in their own fluids, but there’s apparently nothing at all we can do preemptively to help. There’s still no medical recommendation for positive cases. They don’t even recommend taking your vitamins.

  34. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 16:30

    There are multiple people calling themselves Anonymous so I’ll stop using it.

    That being said it’s amusing that people are using “reasoning from a price change” arguments here. A lot of the laggard countries with big outbreaks are requiring masks or requiring them again. Sudden high mask usage amid an outbreak is not a proof that they don’t work.

    We can argue about the numbers forever and ever but if you look at contact tracing a lot spread is happening from indoor mask-less gatherings so that’s not particularly surprising.

  35. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 16:53

    “Sudden high mask usage amid an outbreak is not a proof that they don’t work.”

    You need to look at the graphs. First, there is no country that is “requiring masks again”. All mandates have been kept in place and yougov shows that there have been no decreases in the percent who wear masks often. Second, many of the mask mandates started well before a major increase in cases.

  36. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. December 2020 at 17:02

    Todd, Where are Norway, Finland and Denmark on your list?

  37. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 17:05

    I’m sorry that is completely laughable. Much of Europe pretended the pandemic was over and masks were very much not worn in several countries. Eg Austria and France only required them on public transport and restaurants and cafes were packed.

  38. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 17:15

    “I’m sorry that is completely laughable.”

    I’m sorry, but you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Here is the percentage of people in each country actually wearing masks from March. Scroll down to the world mask graph, click “clear”, select “Europe” and tell us what you see. No decrease at all, right?


  39. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 17:18

    TBH I’m again surprised at the discrepancy between the reality of life in Europe this summer and what several posters here claimed. I personally have friends and family but this was all also widely reported in the media. Here are two random examples:

    Everyone opened their borders and was busy partying on beaches and trying to make up for lost time and businesses.

  40. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 17:36

    Looking at France, Italy, Germany those numbers go up to above 45-75% in late April and then drop to about 50% except in Italy where they climb up to 70% in November. Not sure how that supports your point at all.

  41. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 20:09

    You are lying. So courageous of you Anonymous. All of those countries have been at 75% (UK) or over 80% the entire time. Italy and Spain have stayed at about 90% mask wearing since laet April. For those who want to see reality:


  42. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    19. December 2020 at 20:16

    anon at 9:33 and Ray, I guess I always had hope that medicinal science and practitioners would develop better treatments given time- and also that a vaccine might be devised. I don’t think that is an unreasonable expectation. If you can agree with that then you might agree that steps taken to delay infections until such advances in treatment or prevention become available could have much more benefit than a policy that basically says well it is inevitable so we might as well get it over with because all we are doing is just delaying deaths slightly.

  43. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 20:53

    I looked at the first graph, my bad. I respect YouGov but those self reported numbers don’t square with what reality was like based on news accounts and actually having been there. Either way, I’m done with you, I won’t be called a liar by some delusional person on the internet, especially after you repeatedly misrepresented your Danish study in the other thread.

  44. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    19. December 2020 at 21:06

    Adios, liar.

  45. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 21:15

    Also, since your opinion doesn’t matter anyway, and only that of regular readers – I’ll concede the point – let’s just say that masks were worn consistently. Either way it’s well documented that Europe threw the doors open otherwise and that life very much returned to normal. Imbecile.

  46. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    19. December 2020 at 21:16

    And unlike you I can readily admit that I made a mistake and looked at the wrong graph in the link you sent – it had nothing to do with lying. You still haven’t admitted you were wrong about the Danish study.

  47. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatrics Cartesian Theatrics
    20. December 2020 at 00:47

    Report on all-cause deaths in Sweden from January to October:

    I can’t find the original population adjusted chart I was looking at, which has grown slowly.

    The most frustrating thing about the constant messaging about distancing and lockdowns and masks is we seem hell bent on becoming a shitty version of China. Aside from the vaccine effort–which we’re lucky was so successful–we haven’t been dynamic or exhaustive in our search for solutions. Instead we’d rather wage culture wars.

    Either be authoritarian and freeze every body in place for a month, or be free and dynamic and generative and believe in humanity. But please don’t play the middle game and torcher us with authoritarian outrage messaging and arbitrary half lockdowns.

    PS. Sorry I overreacted initially.

  48. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    20. December 2020 at 02:21

    So the Yougov mask surveys that have been carried out all year are bunk? Good to know. That clears things up.

  49. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. December 2020 at 10:52

    Cartesian. You said:

    “Yes, deaths will end up being a little above the noise.”

    “A little”?? I’m not sure if the families of the 400,000 who will die would agree.

  50. Gravatar of Anonymous Anonymous
    20. December 2020 at 14:01

    Nope, not at all. But they aren’t _enough_ – they only show self reported mask usage. So it’s easily possible that people say they wear masks all the time but don’t nearly as often in practice, and even if they do constantly wear them all the time that may not be enough given all the other loosening of restrictions that were described in the articles I posted and again commonly discussed throughout the summer. Just how the one Danish study didn’t prove that masks don’t work reported mask usage absent all other context won’t either.

    You shouldn’t need me to point this out but be able to generate it yourself as you probe your own position/beliefs. I was surprised by the YouGov survey so I spent some time looking into this and did find that mask adherence in e.g. Italy was quite high but very low in other places (e.g. Austria). That’s what one should do when someone presents new information/perspective.

  51. Gravatar of Cartesian Theatics Cartesian Theatics
    20. December 2020 at 18:34


    400,000? again Sweden, your post is about Sweden. There just is no clear picture about’s driving case explosions imho, but I could be wrong.

    More importantly, I thought you were a incentives guy. You know that hospitals make money off of hospitalized patients, but no one is interested in this. Show me the incentive, and I’ll show you the outcome. How about paying people not to test positive? I bet you that would actually work, and it would especially help the poor. Hundred bucks for every negative test.

    Also, why can’t I find any studies on patient/doctor outcome variability? You can find one-off reports, but can’t find any attempts to aggregate this critical knowledge.

    The social distancing is important, but ultimately people are going to believe what they’re going to believe about it, and realistically you can’t force people not to associate.

  52. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. December 2020 at 10:32

    Cartesian, You said:

    “I thought you were a incentives guy.”

    I’m a data guy. And when multiple independent data sources tell the same story (i.e. Covid deaths and excess deaths) I assume the data is not faked.

    You said:

    “realistically you can’t force people not to associate.”

    But you can encourage them not to do so in big crowds. And you can encourage them to wear masks when doing so.

Leave a Reply