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Swedish Killing Machine Lessons On Lockdown vs. No Lockdown

I put together this data today on what happens when a country foregoes lockdowns. Sweden made that choice from the beginning. It’s demographically similar neighbors, Denmark, Norway, and Finland had strict lockdowns.

As you can see, the three neighbors have gotten their outbreaks under control. Sweden has not yet, although case numbers are coming down.

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The 3 neighbors have started to loosen restrictions and reopen businesses.Their combined population is 16.7 million. They’ve had 26,346 cases and1,106 deaths. Sweden has 10.1 million people, and has had 33,843 cases and 4,029 deaths. The 3 amigos currently have less than one tenth the number of active cases as does Sweden. Sweden had 7 times the number of new cases on Monday as the 3 amigos.

A couple of observations. Finland and Norway are low density countries like Sweden. It’s understandable that they would do better than Denmark. But their case numbers per capita were less than half of Sweden’s. Their deaths per capita were around one eighth of Sweden. And yet Finland tested from 50% more people per capita than Sweden and Norway tested more than twice as many. It suggests that Sweden’s case numbers and deaths are understated relative to actual cases and death.

As if the official numbers aren’t bad enough.

Denmark has 6 times Sweden’s population density. If there was any question about the value of lockdowns it would have shown up in this geographically tiny, high density country. Its case number per capita were only 58% as great as Sweden’s, and its death rate was 1/4 of Sweden’s. And Denmark tested 4.5 times more people per capita than Sweden did.

Sweden chose death. And it succeeded. It’s still succeeding. Did it gain anything in terms of jobs? Sweden’s April unemployment rate was 8.2%. That’s up from 7.1% in March, and 6.2% in April 2019. Denmark, Finland, and Norway, haven’t been posted yet for April. Those numbers should be out this week.

Their numbers should be materially worse than Sweden’s. What a shock it would be if they aren’t. Sweden would have killed thousands of people for nothing.

Just a little case study in what happens when a country goes about your business as if everything is normal during a deadly pandemic. Not surprisingly, more people die, and jobs disappear anyway.

 

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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish LiquidityTrader.com, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here. 

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