The COVID-19 Death Toll Is Rising Much Faster in the U.S. Than in Sweden, Which Now Has Fewer Deaths Per Capita

The trends suggest that Sweden's less restrictive policy has been more successful at reducing fatal outcomes.


I argued last week that it was premature to condemn Sweden's approach to COVID-19, which has been notably less restrictive than the policies adopted by other European countries and the United States. At the time, Sweden's per capita COVID-19 death rate was slightly higher than the U.S. rate. Since then, the U.S. rate has surpassed Sweden's, and the trajectory of deaths suggests that Sweden has been more successful at reducing mortality, despite (or perhaps because of) the government's decision to eschew a broad lockdown.

According to Worldometer's tallies, the United States so far has seen 594 COVID-19 deaths per 1 million people, compared to 578 in Sweden. Even more strikingly, deaths in Sweden have barely risen since late June, while deaths in the United States have been climbing steadily since late March. Here is what the graph of cumulative deaths looks like for Sweden:

And here is what that same graph looks like for the United States:

In Sweden, the seven-day average of daily deaths peaked at 99 on April 16. It has been in the single digits since July 17, hovering around 1 or 2 in recent days. In the United States, that average peaked at 2,256 on April 21. It dropped below 1,000 in early June but rose above that number by late July. Yesterday it was 750, which is two-thirds less than the peak but still substantial, equivalent to about 23 deaths a day in Sweden.

Newly confirmed cases are falling in both countries, but the downward trend in Sweden has been much sharper since late June. The seven-day average of daily new cases has fallen by more than 80 percent in Sweden since June 29. During the same period in the United States, that average initially rose, peaking at nearly 70,000 on July 25. It has since fallen to about 36,000, a 48 percent drop.

Despite some early blunders (most conspicuously, the failure to adequately protect nursing home residents), Sweden generally has pursued a policy that aims to protect people who are at highest risk of dying from COVID-19 while giving the rest of the population considerably more freedom than was allowed by the lockdowns that all but a few governors in the United States imposed last spring. That does not mean Swedes carried on as usual, since the government imposed some restrictions (including a ban on large public gatherings) and issued recommendations aimed at reducing virus transmission.

Achieving herd immunity was never an official goal of Sweden's policy. But recent trends in Sweden are consistent with the hypothesis that the country has achieved some measure of herd immunity through a combination of exposure to the COVID-19 virus, T-cell response fostered by prior exposure to other coronaviruses, and greater natural resistance among the remaining uninfected population (based on the assumption that people who were most susceptible to infection were especially likely to catch the virus early in the epidemic).

In the United States, meanwhile, sweeping legal restrictions on social and economic activity, despite the enormous costs they imposed, have had no obvious impact on the upward trajectory of cumulative COVID-19 deaths. Given current trends, the gap in per capita deaths between the United States and Sweden is bound to grow, casting more doubt on the cost-effectiveness of lockdowns.

While discussion of COVID-19 tends to focus on government policy, it is important to keep in mind that many other factors, including voluntary precautions, affect the course of the epidemic. "The existing literature has concluded that NPI [nonpharmaceutical intervention] policy and social distancing have been essential to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and the number of deaths due to this deadly pandemic," UCLA economist Andrew Atkeson and two other researchers note in a National Bureau of Economic Research paper published last month. But when Atkeson and his co-authors looked at COVID-19 trends in 23 countries and 25 U.S. states that had seen more than 1,000 deaths from the disease by late July, they found little evidence to support that conclusion.

"Early declines in the transmission rate of COVID-19 were nearly universal worldwide," they report, which suggests that "the role of region-specific NPIs implemented in this early phase of the pandemic is likely overstated." They note that "many of the regions in our sample that instated lockdown policies early on in their local epidemic removed them later on in our estimation period, or have have not relied on mandated NPIs much at all." Yet "effective reproduction numbers [the number of people infected by the average carrier] in all regions have continued to remain low relative to initial levels, indicating that the removal of lockdown policies has had little effect on transmission rates."

Atkeson et al. argue that their findings "raise doubt about the importance [of] NPIs (lockdown policies in particular) in accounting for the evolution of COVID-19 transmission rates over time and across locations." They suggest that other factors, such as "voluntary social distancing, the network structure of human interactions, and the nature of the disease itself," play a more important role than variations in policy.

NEXT: States Aren't Getting a Federal Coronavirus Bailout. Most Will Be Fine.

Coronavirus Epidemics Epidemiology Public Health Sweden United States

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167 responses to “The COVID-19 Death Toll Is Rising Much Faster in the U.S. Than in Sweden, Which Now Has Fewer Deaths Per Capita

  1. Why even show the cumulative deaths chart? It’s useless as far as showing pertinent information goes.

    1. A flat curve shows no or few additional deaths.

      1. So does a daily deaths chart but it shows the trend more clearly.

        1. But it’s not useless.

          1. You left out “as far as showing pertinent information goes”.

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            2. Google “covid deaths 7 day average usa”. The Our World in Data site will show that the daily rate was falling just like Sweden. It jumped after the riots and is now falling again nicely.

              Why not include the reassuring graph? Because EVERYONE must panic!!!

        2. Then do the daily deaths chart with arrows to show when the mass protest super spreader event started. The surge in cases from the “bars reopening” is two weeks after the protests started, and the surge in deaths is two weeks after that.

      2. It’s harder to discern flatness from near flatness, whereas a daily death curve would make that clear. IOW, those who want to fudge the stats prefer the total deaths plot.

    2. In all fairness, the US COVID death chart includes motorcycle accidents, homicides, strokes, overdoses…

      1. They count “with covid” as well. It’s just that they have no more covid.

      2. Right, it’s a vast conspiracy by thousands of doctors to sacrifice their professional integrity to help Biden win the election. Smh.

        1. What did he say that was wrong? Those charts do include those. A random audit by the CDC put it at about 3-6% were unrelated death from physical injuries.

          Are you that full of TDS rage that you can’t recognize admitted facts?

          1. While the side effects listed included “pneumonia” and “respiratory failure”, which are results of COVID, not co-morbidity.

            I think the more concerning numbers were the 40,000 people whose “co-morbidities” were either “Malignant Neoplasm” (cancer) or “Heart attack”. That’s a substantial number. While COVID might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, that’s almost a third where the primary cause of death is quite arguably not COVID.

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            2. The issue is not doctors sacrificing integrity but being told to list Covid in the death reports because of increased remuneration.

          2. The CDC chart even says “all deaths” of COVID-19 patients.

        2. Not too far away from where I grew up the widow of a man who “died of covid” is trying to get his death certificate corrected to not list ‘covid’ as a cause.

          The man was 80 and suffered from a terminal brain disease that was in its final stages. To the extent covid had anything to do with his death it maybe accelerated it by a week or two.

          Not like this is one person out of dozens in that county either, to date this man is the only resident of the county who they claim has died from it. If this crap is happening in a small farm county, its happening a lot in other places as well.

          1. In Sweden they register everyone that ever had covid as death by covid even if its other reasons for their deaths


          Deborah Birx: If Someone Dies w/ COVID-19, We Are Counting That As a COVID-19 Death

          April 8, 2020

          This isn’t a secret, it’s exactly what they said they were doing.

          1. And yet for the last 20 weeks or so, the actual run rate of total deaths in the US has been significantly higher than normal and higher than the modeled number (the orange line) that triggers alarms about it being an excess number of deaths given seasonal adjustments. CDC data. So what are you saying? That the CDC is inventing dead people from scratch?

            1. No, we’re just saying the 100 or so extra deaths aren’t worth shutting down for. Duh.

        4. No compromise of integrity needed. You can truthfully label a dead body as coronavirus positive regardless of how they died. It’s not a lie to say that 190k americans have died with coronavirus. It’s just incredibly disingenuous and misleading to say that 190k americans have died of coronavirus.

          1. You don’t even need an actual test on some states. Just one of the Covid symptoms.

            1. So a sniffle.

              1. A sniffle indeed.

        5. No, it only took a handful of swamp creatures to REQUIRE treating “with COVID” as overriding all other contributing factors. This is not done for any other disease. In the UK, pathologists are already demanding corrective measures, as will doctors everywhere eventually (especially researchers – 2020 medicals records will grossly understate deaths from cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc and they will need the REAL numbers)

          When this is all over, the death count will drop dramatically and , likely, be exceeded by deaths caused by the lockdowns.

        6. “Right, it’s a vast conspiracy by thousands of doctors to sacrifice their professional integrity to help Biden win the election…”

          A comment from a lefty shit not addressing the issue and pointing over there!

        7. Right, it’s a vast conspiracy by thousands of doctors to sacrifice their professional integrity to help Biden win the election.

          Given that what he said is not only well-known, but openly acknowledged by those who defined the practice we can conclude that you’re not burden by an abundance of intelligence.


          Ah, so that’s what that rattling noise was.

        8. No, they did it because the hospital administrators who were looking at a sea of red ink told them to, in order to get all that extra COVID cash. When the hospital is laying off huge numbers of health care workers for lack of anything for them to do, a doctor can be one of those laid off, or he can be one that gets a paycheck and doesn’t have to default on his massive student loans that it took to become a doctor in the first place.

          If you subsidize something, you get more of it. The government subsidized COVID diagnoses.

      3. Sweden’s definition of COVID death is similarly loose.

        1. Yes this is standard for both American continents and Europe. The CIA controlled media doesn’t extend to Asia, Africa, Or Russia, thus those areas can define it for what it is: the flu.

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    4. Yeah, that trend’s not going to turn downward until they become undead or are refigured as not having died from Covid-19.

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    6. I don’t mind a cumulative deaths graph, but it would be much more helpful to understanding what’s going on if it were accompanied by a daily or weekly fatalities graph. Obviously a flattened cumulative deaths line would correspond to at decline in fatalities.

      1. It’s like getting hit by lightning if you’re under 65. Now go back to work and stop listening to chicken little. Your life ain’t that important anyways.

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  2. The latest statistics show the US C-19 hospital admissions at 1.5k daily and deaths at 700 daily.

    This means either our health care heroes are actually getting worse at their jobs, or people are getting admitted to the hospitals for other illnesses and then if/when they die get re-classified as C-19 deaths.

    1. The testing centers are still over-replicating when performing Covid tests, creating an artificial increase in positive tests. Instead of 30 replications they are still using 40 replications. This is per the NYT as well as other outlets reporting on this issue.

      1. And using 40 cycles COULD still give us useful information. People who only test positive at 40 cycles should be considered like a positive antibody test, because they will never get sick or spread the virus.

        But when we throw those people into the “regular” positives, we ruin all the numbers.

  3. We also need to point out the TIMING of the lockdown policies were idiotic.

    If a lockdown/quarantine policy is going to be effective IN A COMMUNITY, it is ONLY going to be effective at the beginning of an outbreak – not weeks AFTER the outbreak begins and certainly not weeks BEFORE an outbreak begins. The latter is especially important since there is no way a community can show any improvement in its numbers if they started from near-zero infections. NYC can show improvement because their lockdown came too late to be effective and the virus ran its course.

    I capitalized “in a community” to point out that state-wide quarantine measures (outside of the small northeast states) are guaranteed to cause lockdowns to start far too early in most areas and since larger states have multiple large communities it can look like a second-wave occurs in a state despite the fact that no community in the state ever had more than one wave.

    1. Exactly. And now that people come out, they mistake this for a ‘second wave’ when in fact it’s the original ‘wave’ that was looking for healthy bodies to infect.


      But ‘follow the science’ became ‘save granny with lockdowns not rooted in anything scientific’.

      The utter stupidity of it all is palpable.

    2. A real 3 week lockdown with no one leaving their homes could work. But not a quasi-lockdown with “essential” workers going about life as usual, and everyone else going grocery shopping and eating takeout and delivery and going to Home Depot twice a week to work on their house since they’re stuck at home anyway and flocking to Costco and Target and Walmart, and then assembling by the thousands in the streets to shout for justice or just to burn down the town won’t cut it.

      1. “A real 3 week lockdown with no one leaving their homes could work.”

        Except that it could never work. You can’t expect people to live at home for three weeks without food, electricity, sewer services, police or fire protection, medical care, or anything else. Do you think things like electricity just come out of thin air, with no actual people having to make it happen? Hardly anyone has three weeks’ worth of food, but you cut electricity and that drops much lower. No 911 service, no ambulances, no ERs, no police, no firefighters… sounds great, right? Do you think criminals would obey a lockdown if they heard that all the police, I mean all of them, were at home for the next three weeks? If that was the case, who would be enforcing the lockdown anyway? Just go out and do whatever you want… all the police are hiding!

        It could never happen that way, and if it did, the death toll would be far worse than the virus ever could have managed. That was true of the half-ass measures that were taken too… saved none, killed many.

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      2. No I would say even the flocking and shopping works better. Unless you’re trying to eradicate it you should embrace our new seasonal flu by letting everyone get it and get it over with it. The weakest links will be gone and that’s a fucking shame we can lament all teary-eyed at the funerals that we should be going to.

  4. Whenever someone makes an argument in favor of lockdowns and masks, they bring out the charts of “cases.” They never bring out charts of deaths and hospitalizations. I’d like to know what percentage of “cases” are false positive tests or overly sensitive tests that detect RNA/DNA fragments, but no live virus.

    1. Ok, fine. Look at this chart of all of the people who have died. 0% are wearing masks!

    2. They can’t. The deaths are not high enough to keep the scaredemic going so they have switched over to cases marketing them like as if they are guaranteed deaths and since most are going to go along instead of challenging the claim its a brilliant strategy. By focusing to such an extent then it borders obsessing, on cases its much easier to make it seem like as if CV19 death is waiting around every corner if you aren’t wearing your mask of compliance.

      A “pandemic” would ficus on death rates as well as cases. A scaredemic need only market which ever sounds scarier.

      I’d like to point out that the success of this scaredemic works only because most of the public is ignorant to how many deaths occur annually. We humans tend to normalize the world based on our skewed perspective, we believe what is the norm to us is the same everywhere and so unless we are being directly impacted by deaths we don’t realize how many are dying every day. The dumbing down of the last 2-3 generations via public education was key to this goal. If they had tried to pull this on the public 20-30 years ago too many would have questioned the claims but today you have many who not only believe without question they are happy to be useful idiots and pressure the rest to comply with lockdowns and the compliance masks which are key to helping reinforce the belief that CV death is waiting everywhere.

      1. Blows my mind whenever I bring up 1) this is not even in the top pandemics in history and 2) how you’re more likely to die in a car accident or other diseases, people give me a Scooby-Doo harumph.

        Basic common knowledge I took for granted we all shared. I thought we all operated from a similar base of knowledge.

        This pandemic shows me how much of a gap there is.

        And it’s troubling.

        1. They turned most of the country into believers when trump was elected. So now we have a bunch of people that no longer think critically or use logic and reason. Truly a fascinating paradigm – you’ve gotta hand it to darpa or whoever came up with this – exploiting human group identity couldn’t have been more successful.

      2. The deaths are pretty damn high. But they were falling steadily from mid April to early July, until the mass protest super spreader event. Not that everyone caught it from the mostly peaceful street protests, but millions of people mixed it up there, then spread it to millions more people they knew who weren’t protesting. And everyone else who was being careful said screw it, no one’s taking this seriously anymore, let’s party.

        There was no similar surge in cases or in deaths when the big Southern states (Texas, Florida, Georgia) reopened, or after the nannies scolded us about Memorial Day beach parties.

  5. It has somewhat to do with multiple holiday weekends, and even more to do with widespread “protesting” which was given a pass by corrupt democrats and the media mafia.

    Sweden didn’t really have that issue.

    In any case – the TFR is below 0.3% now. Return to work wage slaves.

    1. And Swden has exactly one barely big city, yet still manages to appear as the number 11 country in the world in deaths per million so far … yay Sweden!

      Not saying what they did was wrong, but it’s hardly something to crow about.

  6. You mean the Swedes didn’t introduce a virulent airborne pathogen into facilities with elderly, immune-compromised patients? That’s inhuman!

    1. They actually did early on, which cause a higher number of deaths than their neighbors initially. They revised the policy and the number of deaths dropped quickly.

      1. Exactly the case. Much like we had the worst numbers in the nation here in WA for a long time because of the nursing home outbreaks. We’ve been sliding down the charts ever since.

        1. NY and NJ helped you out by not learning from that particular mistake. Feel free to thank Cuomo for killing more of his old people than your governor did.

          1. Yeah, the NE governors have no excuse about “going first”. Italy showed us who was vulnerable, and Cuomo shoved them into nursing homes A MONTH LATER, and did it for SIX WEEKS.

          2. Australia ignored the lessons of NY/NJ/MI/SWE/ESP/ITA.

            Which makes it a dereliction of duty if you ask me because there’s NO excuse for still hearing about nursing home deaths now. NONE.

            NZ/AUS are now in an irrational lockdown with a goon squad patrolling its streets.

        2. WA state has a great “dashboard” for COVID at the DOH. It still shows clearly (chart 4 of 6) that 90% of deaths were older than 60 years, 50% older than 80 years. The general population should be recovered (antibodies), robust (t-cells) or protected by now.

  7. This is all Trump’s fault. If that ignorant bastard hadn’t imposed travel restrictions, mask mandates, lock downs and social distancing we’d have herd immunity and an end to the pandemic threat by now. That fucker can’t get anything right.

    1. Biden would have done it better. Why just look at his administration’s handling of H1N1 Ebola!.

      1. Biden helped orchestrate the H1N1 health scare.

        1. Obama did handle H1N1 better. He basically did nothing, which is the best reaction.

          1. Obama did handle H1N1 better. He basically did nothing

            If by “did nothing” you mean “depleted the national stockpile of PPE items like N95 masks and then did not replenish them” then, yeah.

    2. Actually if Trump had not done anything the individual state governors and mayors who are happy to violate their citizens rights would have been more then happy to move forward with their power grabs. Besides, if Hillary had won instead of Trump do you think she would have been more pro-freedom? If that evil woman had gotten elected the US would have been in the max level of lock down before any other place on the planet so she could start her power grab as soon as possible.

      1. I’m pretty sure Jerry was being sarcastic. But since he was echoing people who say similar things perfectly seriously, I can understand why that might not have been immediately obvious.

        1. Yes. Sarc.

  8. Without ensuring equivalent standards for reporting “deaths” you really can’t accurately and honestly compare.

    1. You also can’t honestly compare in the middle of the pandemic because there are plenty more deaths to come, just maybe not in the same places.

      1. Yeah unless you are done with covid your numbers right now don’t matter very much. It’s like diving into the pool vs. creeping in. Eventually you’re all the way wet.

    2. We can’t even come up with a clear definition of ‘cases’.

  9. Americans are a bunch obese sickos. That may be why more are dying here than in Sweden. Not that I favor lockdowns.

  10. Not to mention the lockdowns here are killing people. In Oregon ALL of their covid deaths only make up 22% of their excess deaths, and they count anybody who died WITH covid as a covid death.

    1. Yep. Like that Oregon man in his 70s diagnosed with cancer and given a month to live. He “tested positive” for COVID in the hospital and died of cancer a week later, but he’s a “COVID” death.

      1. And you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many people don’t realize this is how we are counting. They say it’s the dumbest thing and nobody would actually count that way…..right up until I show them the press conference where the “leaders” confirm that’s exactly how they are counting.

        1. Dude. People have swallowed whole the shift to focusing on just cases without considering deaths and hospitalizations.

          ZERO DEATHS IN CANADA and two of its biggest provinces are in a constant state of fear with lockdowns and mask mandates.

          I want to punch them all.

  11. “and they count anybody who died WITH covid as a covid death.”

    Seems legit. After all, everybody who catches covid eventually dies, right?

    1. I’d like to see documentation of this. That’s not how death certificates work.

      I’m not saying that bureaucrats aren’t dumb enough to misinterpret them.

      1. From April 8: Deborah Birx: If Someone Dies w/ COVID-19, We Are Counting That As a COVID-19 Death

        1. Specific to Oregon:

          This is also how Washington state was counting until the uproar caused them to remove 7 gunshot victims (IIRC). But clearly there were more than 7 “with covid” deaths in the state, they just backtracked on the most obvious ones.
          Had to split this into 2 posts because there’s 2 links.

      2. Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Ezike “… explained that anyone who passes away after testing positive for the virus is included in that category.

        “If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who’s listed as a COVID death doesn’t mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death.” Dr. Ezike outlined.”

  12. Something that should have been pointed out early and often is that you can’t really compare responses in the middle of a pandemic. Of course the less restrictive countries are going to look worse at first, but you won’t know the full store until after the infection has run its course everywhere. We’re seeing that with Sweden now.

    Any measures taken should be the bare minimum needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Otherwise you’re doing more harm than good.

    1. And we all understood this way back in March. 15 days to slow the spread.

      Then Joe Biden needed people to forget, so now we have to pretend we can drop cases to 0. These people don’t realize that even if we magically dropped cases to 0 in the US tomorrow, we’d have to ALMOST IMMEDIATELY restart the mitigation measures because covid would be back tomorrow. Therefore, there’s no reason to even TRY to artificially drop cases to 0. Protect the at-risk and let the virus what it’s going to do anyway.

      1. Exactly. They’re always saying ‘yeh but wait until the fall!’ looking three months ahead.

        Come fall, it will be spring 2021 to fear.

        It’s a vicious horrible cycle that is far FAR more dangerous than the virus itself.

        And people gripped by fear need to stop thinking that the vaccine is going to ‘normalize’ everything.

      2. We’ve been saying that since March. Literally March. Since no one is listening, I say fuck the at-risk so we can move on already.

  13. So the argument is that the US (TRUMP!) was worse that nothing? While possible (Hi, Cuomo!) that seems unlikely in aggregate.

    It’s dumb to treat the US as a single entity. Different states have had very different outcomes.

    I read recently that Harris County (Houston) is working through a backlog of COVID tests that are getting reported as positive cases FOR SEPTEMBER even though the samples were collected weeks/months ago.

    Fucking lunacy from top to bottom.

    I’d like to see the COVID infection/death rate for Swedes living in the US. I suspect it would replicate many of the things we have learned over many years. Swedes do well no matter where they live. 🙂

    1. Different states have had very different outcomes.

      Very true. The Federal government didn’t do much in the way of mandates, other than shoveling several trillion dollars into the furnace to try to cover for a bunch of states ruining their own economies.

      1. This is the best synopsis of the entire pandemic I’ve ever read. It wins the ‘less is more’ award for information transmittal.

  14. Many people believe that herd immunity is the only way through, so they go to covid parties or engage in other ‘irresponsible’ behavior. Of course they can’t say that explicitly because they’ll be condemned and viciously and relentlessly bullied. What I wonder is whether their behavior is conscious or unconscious. Are they aware of why they’re acting carelessly?

    Similar unconscious behavior on the other side: people get hysterical and fearful of getting infected, or concern for the deaths of the elderly & obese (who they never really cared about before), not because the virus is a real threat, but because we’ve been paying people trillions to hide under their beds and hyperventilate about ‘no proven immunity’ and ‘ground glass opacities in the lungs’ and other propaganda. It’s not clear whether they really believe it, or are just justifying the lockdown measures either for cash but also for political gain – economic crash as pretext for socialism.

    So much of this dynamic is unconscious. I actually put a lot of the blame on Mnuchin, who promised a big and unnecessary stimulus early on.

    1. There’s also the factor that a lot of people want to live in interesting times. We’ve got it so good now people kind of look forward to living through a natural disaster just for the excitement(?) of it. It’s similar to how certain people look everywhere for evil. They look and look and look and eventually find it, no matter how twisted their logic has to be. And all because they need to oppose evil to feel good about themselves.

      1. You can’t understate this. There are a lot of COVID Martyrs out there. They were insignificant (as we all are, ultimately) before COVID. Now they’re elevated by their self-sacrifice.

        Rational people are depressed by the lockdowns, the messaging, and the restrictions. You’ll see post-COVID depression in the former group of people if and when the restrictions are lifted.

      2. Evil is so prevalent that no one needs to go looking for it. Good never needed to oppose evil in order to be good or in order to exist. It is evil that needs to oppose good in order to exist. So, I find your “logic” to be eschewed. I understand though. All education (even religious) has purposefully been stripped of the primers to discernment, judgement and logic. Those running all confusing sh*t shows only want you to accept their conclusions (agendas), not how they got there.

        1. A person who WILLINGLY accepts the masks is someone to stay away from.

  15. OT: #AllBuildingsMatter is trending on twitter (to supposedly point out how bad it is to say All Lives Matter)

    No they don’t. Some buildings are full of termites. Some buildings don’t have anyone in them except stray cats. BLM activists are garbage people who suck at crafting arguments.

    1. I taught my kids to think for themselves. It wasn’t that hard.

    2. #AllBuildingsMatterMoreThanArsonists

  16. It’s almost as if someone in Sweden downplayed the dangers.

  17. This may come as a shock to you, Jake, but the U.S. and Sweden are not the only two countries in the world. There are lots more! According to the “Our World in Data” site, daily deaths per million in the U.S. are currently about 2.4, compared to 0.06 in Sweden, much better, obviously, but still higher than Germany, 0.04. Furthermore, DDPM peaked in Sweden in April at 9.68, compared to 2.67 in Germany. Furthermore, the whole U.S. did not go on lockdown at once, if you’ll recall. Further furthermore, I’d go out on a limb and say the population in Sweden is just a tad more culturally cohesive and, well, “norm-accepting” than the U.S. One can also “guess” that the Swedes are, on average, healthier than Americans. Yeah, there are a lot of things to consider before engaging in moralizing, libertarian style (or any other style).

    1. Furthermore, the whole U.S. did not go on lockdown at once, if you’ll recall.

      This is very true. For instance, BLM protesters received a National Lockdown Waiver which continues to this very hour.

      1. You mean the same waiver you think everyone should get, for freedom?

        1. Yes. He isnt a hypocrites like you though.

        2. Yes! You get it Tony. It’s good to see other people like you understanding our desire for freedom. Maybe we can get together and come up with a new document declaring our independence from authoritative government and virtual signalling mask naggers.

    2. It’s not a statistical competition. The bottom-over-arching-line is this:

      Sweden didn’t psychologically traumatize their population or infringe on civil liberties.

      If I were to write a book about it, it would be one thin page with that line.

    3. Yeah but the thing is that U.S, U.K and lots of other countries were moralizing Sweden. And so far lock downs or not hasnt been the reason how effective the policies has been.
      So Sweden may have done an ok choice in that sense.
      But they failed with the nursing homes, just as U.S, Belgium and others. Failed with the early response and tracking.
      Average age for death by covid 19 was 82 years old in Sweden.

      By the way, Sweden dont aim for herd immunity but its one of few things that will help, besides vaccine and medicine for milder the symptoms.

  18. >i>I argued last week that it was premature to condemn Sweden’s approach to COVID-19

    I vacillate between ‘glad you made it’ and ‘what took you so fucking long’.

  19. “This Is What We Mean When We Say ‘Character Is Destiny’

    At a key moment, with hundreds of thousands of lives at stake, the president lied”

    An early, forthright, and forceful warning and solid, coherent, and consistent information in Sweden allowed both less government invasions against liberty and a better outcome against the pandemic. Trump’s deceit, disinformation, and failures doomed America to the worst of both government invasions against liberty and outcome against the pandemic – the most cases and deaths in the world.

    1. Stuff your TDS up your ass so your head has some company.

  20. Why didn’t you compare them to countries with stricter lockdown measures and better outcomes than either Sweden or the US? This is an embarrassing attempt to draw the conclusion you want despite reality suggesting the opposite one.

      1. He’s too smart to educate himself.

    1. There is no correlation between COVID policies and COVID outcomes, as Sullum has documented extensively and repeatedly for five-six months now.

      You’re simply complaining that he’s not ignoring places that had lockdowns and bad outcomes in favor of places that had lockdowns and not-so-bad outcomes because that’s what you desperately wish “reality” was “suggesting” – i.e. that Good Government was correct to take control of people’s lives because Good Government can manage your personal health for you.

      But that isn’t what “reality” suggests – there’s no correlation in reality.

      1. That is a ridiculous statement. Logically the data could show not that policy doesn’t matter, but that only strict policy makes a difference. South Korea, whose outbreak started the same day as ours, has just orders of magnitude more success, and it’s because they went hard on isolation and testing.

        This doesn’t actually have to be as bad as it is. However you classify our response on the freedom scale, it’s clearly among the worst policy approaches. Everything suggests that shorter-term but much more aggressive measures are better all around, only you people won’t stop panicking like girls over every goddamn inconvenience and fucking everything up for the rest of us. The shit economy is your fault. Fuck you.

        1. 1Right. We could be over this thing already if people had taken more actions designed to deliberately drag it out and make it last longer. That’s what flattening the curve is. Go back and look at the little graph they showed you when this whole thing began. Note how there are two lines… one that rises rapidly to a high peak and drops rapidly to baseline. That’s the “if we do nothing” curve. It doesn’t just stay up there at the high death rate forever… it rises fast and drops fast if we do nothing at all.

          Note how there’s another one that rises really slowly to a lower peak and falls really slowly, and never actually makes it back to baseline for the duration of time shown on the graph. That’s the “if we do lockdowns, social distancing, masks, and all that other stuff” line.

          You won’t see it immediately from the graph, but the area under the curves (the total number hospitalized or dead, take your pick; they’re closely correlated) is the same. The goal is not to prevent any COVID cases, hospitalizations, or deaths. That’s impossible. There’s a reason that was never the goal from the beginning. Can’t be done. The only thing that we can control, sort of, maybe, is whether the hospitals get overwhelmed to the point that people are dying from a lack of medical care. Saving people from being sick was never a part of any epidemiological contingency plan because it can’t be done. It only became that after the petty tyrants had a taste of dictatorial power and realized they liked it, and liked it a lot.

          The actual curve looks very much like the “if we do nothing” one. It peaked in mid April and dropped rapidly ever since, and is still dropping now. There was a bit of a blip from the “defund the police” riots/”mostly peaceful” demonstrations, but it was brief and relatively shallow. (Go take a look at the daily COVID deaths graph at the CDC site, you’ll see what I mean. Look at the tabular data too that shows the daily deaths for the most recent week for which enough time has elapsed for there to be data… it’s much lower than 700 a day. An order of magnitude lower.

          If we’d followed the “do all the things” line, we’d have only reached the peak in July, and we’d be close to it still, since the rate of decline was so slow. We’re close to the point now where the curve joins the baseline, but if we did what you suggest, we’d be almost at the peak even now.

          JFYI, slowing things down doesn’t make them end faster. I thought everyone knew this, but apparently not.

          So, no, the bad economy is not the fault of people who fought NOT to drag this thing out. Fuck YOU.

          1. Your solution is to just let the disease kill the maximum amount possible as fast as possible.

            1. You got shellacked and your response is this sad piece of C-O-P-E.

    2. Like China! They had a full lik down and not a single new case since early Feb! That’s impressive, because even new Zealand with completely closed borders was still getting new cases

      1. Maybe we should just stop testing like they did and we won’t have more cases–sort of like high-crime ghettos where, if you stop reporting crimes, the rate goes down.

  21. still waiting for who truly died from covid I don’t know why you bother writing w/stats that don’t count

  22. The major problem I have with your article is here “In the United States, meanwhile, sweeping legal restrictions on social and economic activity, … ” The US as a whole never had sweeping legal restriction. Some parts did, but that was always going to be of little value if the neighbouring state or City did not. And you also had times when a legislator would try to bring in restrictions, but law enforcement agencies did not enforce them. When we look at Covid19 deaths on a per capita basis, both Sweden and the USA can be seen to have had disastrous outcomes. They are both examples of what not to do.

    1. Any lockdown is tyrannical and is a disaster in and of itself, and would never happen in any kind of free society. The very term comes from what happens in prisons when inmates are confined to their cells. Every action taken in that way is an example of what not to do.

      Every politician worldwide who even thought in passing that a lockdown was a good idea should be barred from any political position from dog-catcher on up for the rest of his or her life.

  23. Don’t let the Mazi’s (The Mask Natzi’s) see you making this argument. They will hunt you down and seek your obliteration for daring to think freely, for daring to not bend to mob rule.

    Like Free Breather’s (those who choose to breathe rather then suffocate under these pointless masks) are as disallowed as free thinkers.

  24. Anti-scientific bullshit. The USA has FAR more incoming travel per capita than Sweden, which hit the nation hard while Trump was deliberately slow walking testing and contact-tracing. Early death tolls in the USA weren’t due to any restrictive policy, but to a nation which was deliberately flown blind into a hurricane by the pilot. More recent death tolls are heavily concentrated in places which relaxed early restrictions, or never had them.

  25. You can’t compare Sweden to the US death rate and say it was caused by policy differences alone. Sweden has a much healthier population than the US, they may be genetically more resistant, with much less obesity, and the few minorities they have are Muslim and very young. It is likely that Swedes are inherently less susceptible than most Americans. You can’t say that adopting a Sweden-like policy back in March would have produced a better result for the USA.

    1. The countries are geographically and culturally dissimilar. The correct comparison is how did Sweden perform compared to other Scandinavian nations both in terms of health and economics? That answer is a resounding “F” for Sweden. 10x more death and no meaningful difference in economic activity.

  26. Yeah right. As if the US has had restrictive policy across the country, Sullum. It’s been open over much of the country. By the way, 5800 people died in Sweden due to COVID. 5 times higher than Norway. Are you suggesting the US should do the same? 5 times higher? We are already worse. What a joke.

    1. It becomes clearer and clearer. Science and libertarians is like oil and water.

      1. Jackass returns to provide lefty lies for us all!

    2. Norway only counts “of covid” deaths. Sweden counts “with covid” deaths.

      You’re welcome.

      1. Most articles where I live now list them as “covid related”.

        1. Yep. And I explained how “alcohol-related” deaths often have nothing to do with alcohol. Imagine a totally sober family of four is driving down the road when the tire blows. They go out of control and take out three people who were sitting at an outside restaurant table. One of those three people just took his first sip of beer. Everybody involved dies.

          All seven deaths are “alcohol-related”, even though the alcohol had nothing to do with the accident and only one person was even drinking.

    3. Oof. These tiresome, misleading comparisons.

    4. No… we should have been less restrictive than Sweden. They did too much.

  27. Please stop with your over-analysis of various Covid-19 statistics. You know it’s nonsense and we all know you know. Just. Stop.

  28. Could it be the Sweden’s population is just healthier overall than Americans — less obesity, chronic Diseases, etc — that make them less vulnerable or maybe that they tracked only cases where indeed people died from Covid only, and not say, a heart attack they may have had while exposed to the virus? I don’t think the statistics as such tell the whole story.

  29. Did this get linked somewhere? Lots of randos in the comments on this one.

    1. Facebook or reddit.

      My money’s on reddit. The libertarian sub there has been taken over by a bunch of science denying socialist.

      1. Same thing happened with the Net Neutrality posts. You could always tell when those got linked on Reddit because a bunch of useless lefty man-children would always show up to complain that they weren’t able to get their anime porn downloaded at 1 TB for $10 a month.

  30. Ron, Here’s a 37-minute YouTube video by Ivor Cummins that makes some powerful points. It looks at graphs of key statistics. Here’s a rough summary:

    The Gompowitz (sp?) curve of fatalities seen in other epidemics is being followed, meaning there was little reason to panic at its height, and that it would fade without lockdowns.
    This is because most of the population has existing resistance / immunity to infections.
    Sweden’s death toll from flu in 2019 was much lower than that of its Nordic neighbors, providing more “dry tinder” (frail, vulnerable people who’d otherwise have died in the prior year) for Covid-19. Supporting this, countries that had had MORE severe 2019 flu seasons had lower impacts from Covid-19. (A very strong argument IMO.)
    The second wave in the U.S. is in the South, which reflects the geographic difference between temperate and tropical zones, which peak at different times. (A weak argument IMO.)
    Also contributing to the illusion of a second wave is a “casedemic” due to over-sensitive testing that detects fragments, not true cases (hospitalizations).
    This fake second wave was seen before in the Swine Flu epidemic—when what drove alarm about it was alarmism and media frenzy.
    Also, a likely seasonal effect.
    And the second wave might be due to Autumn flu, in part, being mis-counted as Covid-19.
    And the second wave is minor in size.
    Lockdowns are causing deaths from deferred elective testing and surgeries. Plus causing other social negatives.
    Lockdowns slow herd immunity, making infections in the fall more deadly.

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  34. Jacob finally gets it.

    You could have given us some credit in the article.

    It didn’t take a genius to see the ‘short term pain, long term gain’ strategy they used.

    And it was all based on…..SCIENCE.

    We should be INFURIATED and EMBARRASSED.

    Oh. And who are these clowns up top?

  35. “ The trends suggest that Sweden’s less restrictive policy has been more successful at reducing fatal outcomes”

    Sigh. Said like it is the only independent variable.

    I agree that US didn’t choose the best path. But how a smaller, more homogeneous population in a smaller much different and more homogeneous climate has a disease propagate leaves a lot a unknowns.

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  38. First, NONE of these policies can be evaluated solely on lives saved.

    If saving lives were paramount, we could ban smoking, ban alcohol, ban cigarettes, ban sugary drinks, processed food, fast food, and give everybody a calorie allowance and have an extra tax levied based on body mass index. That would save even more lives! But it is slightly… authoritarian… isn’t it?

    The ‘crisis’ of the Coronavirus does not lie in the deaths, either. The number of deaths is about 30% higher per million population than the ’68 influenza, and about 3.3 times as many deaths as a severe influenza season (using CDC’s OWN figures of 60,000 deaths in a severe influenza season). The ‘crisis’ then, is built by the media. I’m not a Coronavius denier, but you must put deaths per million in perspective; we’re at about 670 in the US which is around a 10th of 1918.

    Closing down schools and businesses were boneheaded policies that have saved few or no lives, adopted by gang leaders of both bloods and crips (red/blues, dems/repubs) throughout the US.

    Lockdowns don’t work in the West. They DID work in China, that is because in an authoritarian regime you can weld people’s doors close and shut down the highways. Lockdowns, purges, and lining political opponents up against the wall, are some of the few things authoritarian regimes do better.

    1. “They DID work in China…”

      According to the Chinese.

      1. And it didn’t get going there anyway.


  39. The chart suggests that fresh exports of the communist party virus to These States occurred about May or June. Swedish customs inspection must be more attuned to bio-weapons rather than plant leaves or the haunting fear someone, somewhere might be getting high.

    1. Tin foil hats on aisle 6, Hankk

  40. There is an article in LibertyUnbound about countries who have been using the BCG (tuberculosis) vaccine. Countries that have been giving it up to now have Covid deaths per million in the under 150 range. While countries that have never given it, including the US, are in the 550 DPM range.
    See Politics Before Science

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  43. The US is not Sweden. The Swedes also engaged in voluntary measures at the same time that many in the US are screaming about their rights.

    Unless you’ve got an underlying health issue, wearing a mask when in high density areas is not going to hurt you, and it might help someone else.

    Now, to those who start screaming back at me, go back and read my second sentence.

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  45. There has been a lot of discussion on the Swedish approach to the coronavirus but the truth is our problem is not related to the approach we took. The problem in the US is the incompetence of the Trump administration in dealing with the virus. It is not that they took one or the other approaches, but that they approached the problem in an uncoordinated, in consistent jumble. It is doubtful there could have been better result with the Swedish model. Not because it may not work but because it likely would have been administered with the same incompetence.

    1. The strong strategy and effective tactics put in place to attack the China Virus are not cause of any problem as you imply. In fact, it is those strong actions that have resulted in saving hundreds of thousands of American lives.

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  47. The deaths per capita between the U.S. and Sweden are virtually identical: 58.61 : 57.38.

    (as of September 11, 2020)

    Belgium 86.82
    Spain 63.56
    U.K. 62.71
    Brazil 61.83
    Italy 58.89
    U.S. 58.61
    Sweden 57.38
    France 46.01

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