Why everyone in the naughty Nordic nation is now dead. Or perhaps not….
As we all know, the generic media narrative around the world for months has been, and continues to be, the claim that SARS-CoV2 is an existential threat not unlike biblical plagues and the Black Death which, unless we all lock ourselves away and wear facemasks twenty-four hours per day (and ideally longer), will kill us all. In fact, covid-19 will kill so many people we’ll have to import folks from elsewhere in order to have sufficient bodies to make up the statistics.
In consequence of this narrative, citizens around the world have panicked on a scale hitherto unknown and politicians have naturally responded as politicians do: by doing whatever they hoped would be best for their polling numbers. So we shut down the world, threw 1.5 billion of the world’s most vulnerable people out of work and plunged at least 250,000,000 people into acute poverty and starvation. But that was a price well worth paying in order to protect a few pampered Western lives, because most of the people suffering and dying unnecessarily have dark skins and don’t appear on our TV screens or in our newspapers so we don’t even know they exist, nor that we’ve killed them in our rush to “save” ourselves.
Meanwhile the media, in order to maintain its hysteria-inducing sensationalist reportage, has been very critical of irresponsible Sweden which totally failed to panic as instructed.
(The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Iceland also failed to panic properly but the media decided to focus almost exclusively on Sweden’s non-compliance, probably because this made for an simpler story.)
Sweden famously didn’t introduce lockdowns, close its borders, and all the other populist measures governments elsewhere rushed to embrace. As we all know, Sweden did indeed experience a higher initial mortality rate among its very old citizens compared to its immediate neighbors Denmark and Norway, mostly because the deaths were concentrated in old people’s homes in Stockholm. What’s always carefully omitted from the “Bad Sweden” narrative, however, is that irresponsible Sweden’s per capita mortality rate nevertheless was always below that of many countries that did rush to embrace lockdowns, border closures, etc. As this would have been distressingly off-message for media organizations it was resolutely ignored.
Now in the graph at the top of this article we can see the terrible price Sweden paid for ignoring the media narrative: no new deaths for several days, and hardly any deaths in the weeks prior.
Strange, isn’t it? While the USA and the UK and France and Spain and various other countries yo-yo frantically between reviving their devastated economies by opening up and then closing down the moment the infection rate begins to rise again, Sweden is peaceful and covid-19 mortality free.
How can this be? How can the media have been so very wrong?
I mean, aside from the fact that the media lives on a constant diet of manufactured sensation and thus distorts everything and thus gets pretty much everything wrong.
As epidemiologists know, most new infections begin with a sharp rise as the old and the sick succumb. After this, the true mortality impact becomes clearer. And as the data from around the world shows with increasing clarity (and which even data from China showed early on) covid-19 has a per capita mortality impact of less than one-tenth of one percent of the population. This is why, more than eight months into the pandemic, the global mortality rate has only just matched the mortality rate of a bad flu season (WHO data).
Furthermore, as could be expected, as testing is rolled out among the general population and not just those ill enough to go to hospital, data is showing that around 90% of people who become infected are asymptomatic. Yes, that’s right: 90% of people who contract this supposedly deadly civilization-ending virus have no symptoms at all. Of the remaining 10% nearly all experience symptoms akin to a mild cold.
Which is, once again, very inconvenient for the media narrative. Which is why it’s not being reported by media organizations. It would be difficult to keep everyone in a state of hysterical fear if anything other than context-free numbers were bandied around. We humans can easily be terrified by being told that SARS-CoV2 has killed more than 670,000 people worldwide. That sounds like a huge number of deaths. But once we remember that there are seven billion three hundred million people on Earth and we do the math, we discover this means a per capita mortality rate of 0.009%.
In other words, covid-19 is killing hardly anyone at all. Eight times as many people will die in Africa alone this year from breathing in smoke from fires used inside homes for cooking and heating. Even if we make heroic assumptions about the final death toll, we never get past the fact that less than one-tenth of one percent of the population is at risk.
Which means we shut down the entire world, destroyed the lives of 1.5 billion people, and likely killed 250,000,000 of the worlds most vulnerable inhabitants in order to “save” a fraction of that number, helpfully ignoring the fact that at least 80% of covid-19 deaths are among the very sick and the elderly who would have died anyway within a few months.
Sadly, facts and figures mean nothing compared to the emotional impact of seeing a clearly terrified reporter in a face mask standing outside a hospital. Our tiny ape-brains aren’t evolved to deal with large numbers, facts, and reason. We’re hardwired to react emotionally and to believe whatever it appears other members of the group believe. And so our global madness will continue until such time as everyone is so fatigued with covid-19 stories that the media is forced to move on and manufacture some new sensation with which to grab our eyeballs and secure vital advertising revenues.
Meanwhile, we will continue to perform pointless hygiene theater and yo-yo wildly between slight reopenings and panic-induced re-lockdowns, convinced that by doing so we are saving ourselves and billions of other people.
We won’t pause to wonder how, when we’re in a bar or restaurant or airplane, the virus knows to wait while we drink and eat, only attempting to infect us once we’ve put our mask back over our faces.
Apparently, the coronavirus must demonstrate more functional intelligence than 99% of humans.