COVID Conundrums

News out today that the death toll from COVID-19 has reached 200,000. Naturally this will be blamed entirely on President Trump, and Joe Biden may persist in saying that 200 million will die before the end of his next speech. (Which won’t be today, by the way: the campaign announced a “lid”—meaning no more campaign appearances or events for Biden—at 9:22 am this morning. This is becoming standard practice. Does he tire out by noon?)

I’ve stopped trying to follow the bouncing ball of COVID news and data on a daily basis because it has become so much like climate change: lots of cherry-picked data and political posturing. Yesterday the CDC announced and then retracted its latest guidance on how COVID-19 is spread:

On Monday morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention edited its Web page describing how the novel coronavirus spreads, removing recently added language saying it was “possible” that it spreads via airborne transmission. It was the third major revision to CDC information or guidelines published since May.

Gee—it’s almost like all these experts still don’t really know what is going on.

I note that the death rate from COVID for the U.S. is about the same as Sweden, which was ferociously attacked for not going to a hard lockdown like the U.S., U.K., and so many other countries. To be clear, Sweden didn’t do nothing, but it treated its citizens like adults, informing them of the risks and urging best practices, but allowing most normal life to continue. They made some of the same mistakes we did, in particular not adequately safeguarding the most vulnerable among their population—the elderly. And yet our results and theirs are basically the same.

Then there’s this: while many countries have experienced a second wave of infections, Sweden for some reason hasn’t seen its number of infections go back up, as shown in the comparison below with Denmark. To be sure, Sweden had more cases appearing later, but appears on the surface at least to have beaten the virus back. Which is one reason we’re not hearing as much about Sweden any more.

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