Sweden tried “Herd Immunity” to deal with Coronavirus; it resulted in a death rate many times larger than its neighbors.

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There has been discussion about the success of Sweden’s “herd immunity” approach to the Coronavirus pandemic on WMNF/Radioactivity this week. Some listeners have claimed that the Swedish government’s plan has been successful. Below is a review of some COVID-19 data. It includes the two leading pandemic countries, the United States and Brazil. It also compares Sweden to its 3 neighbors, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. The data is from 18-Sept.2020 World Health Organization (WHO). https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

According to WHO, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Sweden was many times that of its neighbors, per unit of population.

Sweden, with a population of 10.23 million is almost twice the size of either Finland, Norway or Denmark. And, the population of the United States is far greater at 328.2 million. Sweden has had 5,864 COVID-19 deaths. This may not seem to be a very high number when considering the United States death count of 195,638. In order to simplify comparisons of infections in each country, the COVID-19 death rates per million in each country were reviewed.

Sweden, as many know, had decided not to shut down their country. Instead, they applied some minimal restrictions, such as asking people over 70 to self-quarantine, and banning gatherings larger than 50 people. Most schools, daycare centers and businesses remained open, and facemasks were not required. (https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/87812)

Finland, Norway, and Denmark implemented much more restrictive measures, including mandatory wearing of masks and closing schools and bars. Denmark, the first to close its borders and implement restrictions on March 13, was also the first to reopen, and did so in mid-May. Since mid-July, Finland and Norway have reopened schools and eased restrictions. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in cases in all of the Scandinavian countries.

When comparing the COVID-19 deaths according to population, the numbers question the decision of the “herd immunity” plan. It also may question the early relaxation of restrictions by Denmark. Readers are encouraged to  make their own conclusions from the data below, as well as to continue the review of factual data.

World Health Organization COVID-19 death rates per million.

                      Country           Deaths/million
United States 597.07
Brazil 634.81
Sweden 580.64
Norway 49.07
Finland 61.18
Denmark 109.6