Saturday, 11 April 2020

SWEDEN: open for business – RISKY or RIGHT?

Coronavirus in a nutshell by Kurtzgesagt

Fed up with SOCIAL DISTANCING, or worse, SOCIAL ISOLATION? Miss your pals and bored with virtual happy hour meet-ups? Tired of cooking, and eating, pasta for the umpteenth time?

You might try getting into Sweden. - some of their borders are still open and the towns are buzzing. The country is not (yet) locked down. The Swedish government thinks its citizens are responsible enough to decide how to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic, Although they urge people 70 and over to stay at home.

But you might have second thoughts if you check out what Swedish scientists and doctors have to say. According to the Guardian some 2,000, including the head of the Nobel Foundation and the head of immunology at the Karolinska Institute, think the government is leading the country to disaster. The rising number of people ill with the virus, last count 9,689 and 879 deaths might mean they will begin to listen to the experts. Stoicism is a way of life in Scandinavia, but it's not a miracle vaccine against a new and potentially fatal virus, that has the capability to make any one of us a weapon (except the victims who have recovered and have immunity).

Great Britain tried to go the Swedish route, but prime minister Boris Johnson finally had to stop shaking hands and take the doctors' and scientists' advice. He closed down the country. I'm happy the Finnish border is shut tight. Or there might be a mass exodus of our neighbors from the West. But there are hints the Swedish government night be re-thinking their laissez-faire plan and impose tighter controls. Better late than...

  • Finland: pop. 5.5 million, 2,769 COVID-19 cases, 48 deaths
  • Sweden: pop. 10.2 million 9,689  COVID-19 cases, 879 deaths 
  • Denmark: pop. 5.6 million,  5,819  COVID-19 cases, 241 deaths
  • Norway: pop. 3,7 million, 6314 COVID-19 cases, 113 deaths

* Data: April 10. 2020

** The Shark told me that Finland sends its tests to So. Korea for analysis. Norway has the equipment to test and analyze in the country.

*** Boris Jonson has Coronavirus and is in hospital, was in intensive care for a while, but now back in the regular ward.

Sources: New York Times, Guardian, net

Next week:  PEOPLE pitch in to make scarce protective gear for HEALTH CARE  WORKERS


As far as the Swedish route goes, I do not think it matters much whether they close borders or not at this point - all the neighboring countries are closed anyway. Other than that, I'm afraid they may learn the hard way that giving recommendations (which are similar to the policies we have here) is just not enough - strict, enforced policies are unfortunately needed to keep everyone at a bay.

Meanwhile, the opposition here in Finland is having a field day, because the government bought protective gear from China that turned out to be substandard. They had their suspicions i think, as right away when the shipment landed, it was sent to a government laboratory for testing. The papers were fine, the gear looked correct... but was not. It's still good enough to use outside hospitals, in care homes, etc., but not up to hospital standards. To make things worse, the purchase was made without proper background checks, from what some would call known crooks' companies. So all hell broke loose.

The head of the Security Supply center had to resign. and the opposition calls for the resignation of the minister of labor, Tuula Haatainen. Of course they do.

Personally, I think the people involved probably did the best they could in a difficult situation, and sending the gear to tests suggests that they were aware of the risk - but decided to take it. The alternative would have been a certain supply shortage. A few million went down the toilet, but in the face of the crisis, I really don't care about such small potatoes.

Similar fraudulent protective gear supplies have been sold to other countries too, including Sweden. They were not tested, and the gear was put to use in hospitals. They now have to recall it. The medical personnel working in high-risk jobs has been compromised there. I prefer the Finnish way, even if it caused a political shitstorm.

PS: The tests sent to South Korea are from a private hospital chain, not from government-issued testing, AFAIK. The government tests are analyzed here in Finland. 

PS2: My wife Riikka was tested when she had a sore throat, due to her profession in health care, the result turned out negative. But she told me that they actually took two samples, and the 2nd one was sent abroad for research purposes, to an international collection of test samples.


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