It’s amazing how often Sweden still crops up in conversations. It didn’t impose tough lockdown, kept primary schools and core economic activities functioning, issued clear guidelines and relied on voluntary social distancing and personal hygiene practices to manage the crisis. For harsh lockdowns to be justified elsewhere, Sweden had to be discredited. Hence the harsh criticisms of Sweden’s approach last year by the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, CBS News and others.
But with Sweden’s demonstrable success, goalposts have shifted. Every time it’s mentioned as a counter to Europe’s high Covid-toll lockdown countries, the response now is: ‘But their Nordic neighbours did much better. Look at Denmark’. Let’s ‘interrogate’ this argument.
BELGIUM has advised against giving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to over-55s because of a lack of data about its efficacy.
It became the latest European Union country to recommend that the Covid jab should not be given to older people. Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said the country’s advisory health council, had suggested the doses of the Oxford-produced vaccine should only be administered to people younger than 55. He said Belgium was reviewing its vaccination strategy because AstraZeneca’s jab was seen as a key part of the government’s plan to prioritise vulnerable groups.
Ivor Cummins aka the Fat Emperor – gives James the lowdown on why you can’t trust anything our governments tell us about Covid-19. If you want the facts on Coronavirus – how deadly is it? do lockdowns and masks work? how does it compare with previous pandemics? – you’ve come to the right place
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Shutting shops at the end of October was a “psychological shock” tactic to bring home the need for restrictions to arrest the spread of the virus, the country’s health minister has admitted.
Non-essential retailers were forced to close at the end of October as infection rates reached the highest level in Europe and hospital admissions threatened to overwhelm intensive care units. Shops will reopen today after a decline in infections.
Frank Vandenbroucke told the broadcaster VRT that, with masks and social distancing, “shopping does not really involve any risk”.
The resurgence of coronavirus is nothing to be feared and lockdown measures are doing more harm than the pandemic itself, a leading Belgian medical scientist has said.
Jean-Luc Gala, head of the prestigious Université Catholique de Louvain Saint-Luc clinic and a specialist in infectious diseases, has broken ranks with other scientists and tried to quell fears over the rise of the Belgian infection rate.
He said that it was not dangerous for the virus to circulate and the lack of a vaccine could help to bring about herd immunity in the population.
“Is the rise in infections worrying? No. It is completely normal. Is it dangerous for the virus to circulate? No, once again,” he told La Dernière Heure newspaper.
The face mask requirement at school is bad for children’s general well-being and should be abolished, 70 doctors wrote in an open letter to Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts.
…The doctors mentioned anxiety and sleep problems as well as behavioural disorders and germaphobia, which is a pathological fear of germs. They are also seeing an increase in domestic violence, isolation and deprivation.
“Mandatory face masks in schools are a major threat to their development. It ignores the essential needs of the growing child. The well-being of children and young people is highly dependent on emotional attachment to others,” they wrote.
Moreover, “there is no large-scale evidence that wearing face masks in a non-professional environment has any positive effect on the spread of viruses, let alone on general health. Nor is there any legal basis for implementing this requirement.”
- Sweden’s total deaths per million in population as of July 14 is 549. That’s considerably lower than the deaths per million rate in the UK, which is 662, and in Spain, which is 608. In Belgium, the death rate is 884.
- Sweden deaths per million is many times better than the rates found in New Jersey and New York: 1,763 and 1,669.
- Articles condemning Sweden’s “failure” rarely if ever mention these comparisons.
- Nonlockdown Sweden has a death rate similar to harsh-lockdown France can only be explained by claiming France didn’t lock down harshly enough or long enough.
- Two weeks after the WHO’s prediction that Sweden will have a resurgence in COVID-19, both cases and deaths in Sweden continue to trend downward.
- Thanks to Sweden we know what both lockdown and nonlockdown countries look like: they look remarkably similar in some cases.
- After all, after failing to implement a lockdown for months, Sweden is still nowhere near matching the death rates reported in New York.
Lecture by Marc Van Ranst, Belgian Flu Commissioner, at the ESWI/Chatham House Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Stakeholders Conference on 22 January 2019.
Judging from the content of the lecture, this could be alternatively titled, One voice, one message: How to work with the media to mislead the public.
In the audience is Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.
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