Here’s a graph that doesn’t get shown in the mass media, and that I’m sure all those who want you to stay fearful of covid don’t want you to see. It shows the share of the tested population with antibodies to covid in Sweden week by week, beginning in the 28th week of 2020 (the first week for which the Swedish Public Health Authority provides data on the share of tests coming back positive).
Since my article at the end of October detailing exactly what had been happening in Sweden in relation to covid up to that point, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for a new update, detailing events in November and December. Here it is.
One of the arguments that has been used in support of strict lockdown is that Sweden has had significantly more covid deaths than its nordic neighbours. On the 19th of November, Sweden had registered 637 covid deaths per million people. For comparison, Denmark had registered 140, Norway had registered 57, and Finland had registered 69.
The Swedish response to the covid pandemic has become one of the most talked about topics of the last six months, and there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. Since that’s the case, and since I keep getting asked what the situation on the ground is really like in Sweden, I figured I’d write up a little history, covering the key events from a Swedish perspective, and detailing exactly which restrictions were put in place at what time point, and why.
September 2020 was the least deadly month in Swedish history, in terms of number of deaths per 100,000 population. Ever. And I don’t mean the least deadly September, I mean the least deadly month. Ever. To me, this is pretty clear evidence of two things. First, that covid is not a very deadly disease. And second, that Sweden has herd immunity.
UPDATE 14th November 2020: In light of the recent increase in hospitalizations and deaths during October and November in Sweden, I no longer believe that Sweden reached a state of herd immunity during spring. The text below represents my thinking on the 19th of September, when I wrote the article, and doesn’t represent my current thinking. It is clear that a significant level of population immunity did build up during spring and summer, since the rise in hospitalizations has been much slower during the autumn than it was during the spring, and also seems to be stabilizing at a much lower level. However, the level of population immunity is clearly not as high as I previously thought. The reason I made this mistake is that the early evidence on covid suggested that it was not behaving in a seasonal manner. This caused me to underestimate the seasonal effect of summer to push down infections, which caused me to overestimate the level of population immunity that had built up during spring. It is now clear that covid is a highly seasonal virus.