Thanks Glenn for an excellent fact-driven critique of my article. I would argue however that Sweden, despite having a higher per capita fatality rate than Finland and Norway, does truly illustrate the non-significance of covid-19. Without a lockdown, it’s fatality rate is still trivial. As for the ages of the cohorts, without health data they don’t tell us much. The Oxford University study of UK deaths, which did include some statistics such as BMI, blood pressure, pre-existing conditions, etc. did show a strong correlation between underlying health issues and fatality risk.

Meanwhile, I’ve edited the piece to reduce the seeming implication of my own astonishing genius (self-mocking intended here).

And again, you’re correct to note that my original estimate of mortality was off by an order of magnitude. But perhaps the important point is that I’d have to be off by four orders of magnitude to begin to invalidate the argument I’ve been making since the beginning of our media-induced mass hysteria, which is simply that plunging the world into another Great Depression and creating trillions of dollars of debt largely to bail out large corporations is an insane way to respond. Far better to have spent billions on a focused effort to protect those most at risk. As it is, old people are dying in care homes precisely because there’s been no focused effort.

As for me, I’m 61 years old. I don’t expect the world to shut down, for 500,000,000 of the planet’s most vulnerable people to be thrown into poverty and starvation, and for tens of millions of young people in education to have their futures jeopardized, merely to save people like me whose lives are already mostly over.

As for the policeman you mentioned, every phenomenon has its unrepresentative edge cases. We can’t make policy based on anecdote if we want policy to be coherent. Just think of the USA with it’s “welfare queen” anecdote that led to a hollowing-out of an already precarious social safety net. Or Brexit’s “unsustainable number of immigrants” that led to the stupidity of leaving the EU.

On the basis of anecdote, Dyson wouldn’t have understood what the data was really telling him.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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