March of this year coronavirus exploded in Europe, including in Switzerland, hit with over 16,000 cases (nearly 2,000 per million population) by month’s end. Worse yet, new cases were spreading rapidly. The disease was slower to arrive in Sweden, with fewer than 2,000 total cases by the end of March for the whole nation: a mere 190 per million population, less than one tenth the rate seen in Switzerland.
Not only did Sweden have far fewer total cases, they were seeing fewer new cases each day:
Clearly the Swedes, although victim to coronavirus like all of us, were far less stricken than the Swiss. It’s no surprise that Switzerland put serious lockdown measures in place, while the Swedes implemented social distancing but with far less severity than the Swiss. One wonders, how are they doing?
Both countries’ strategies worked; they both put a halt to the rapidly rising epidemic. But Switzerland’s stricter approach worked better. A lot better.
Sweden has managed to hold the epidemic at a steady level, a little over 50 new cases per day per million population. That’s enough to strain the health care system, but not break it. However, they remain on “the brink” at such levels, which leads me to think that recent measures in Sweden to loosen yet more, are ill advised. What they’re doing now only holds the outbreak at bay; loosening will let it escape.
Switzerland, however, have shown the world how to recover after being hard hit by this epidemic. Not only has the rate of new cases dropped as rapidly as could realistically be expected, the Swiss have shown the fortitude and courage to stick with their winning strategy, driving infection rates well below the 50 cases/day/million population level in Sweden. Roles are reversed; with only 5 cases/day/million population, now it’s Switzerland getting new cases at only 1/10th the rate of Sweden.
My conclusions: 1. Social distancing works. 2. Lockdown works better, much better. 3. Doing just enough to prevent crisis levels means the new case load remains at a sustained level which is very costly in human lives, and will not subside.
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