As global authorities use COVID lockdowns to further a wide variety of their own agendas, Sweden - the most prominent country to resist the pressure to lock down its population - is being pilloried in the press. The New York Times has run a series of articles decrying the "far deadlier" results of Sweden's strategy of leaving businesses open. This smear campaign avoids the fact that many variables affect fatality rate. Even worse, the assumption that lockdowns are effective at reducing death rates is highly suspect.
All the New York Times' writers have to do is look in their own backyard. Their neighbor state of New Jersey, with a population of 8.8 million, has over 15,000 COVID deaths. This is triple the death toll of Sweden, which has a population of 10.2 million.
While Swedish citizens enjoyed shopping, going to restaurants, and sending their children to school, all with minimal restrictions, New Jersey residents were forced to sit at home for months, while their governor violated his own executive order.
As Sweden is criticized for protecting the freedom of its people, it's worth asking two questions:
- Why do countries and states that locked down have so many deaths?
- If lockdowns were effective in those areas, how can they ever be lifted?
The first question is important, because the comparison between Sweden and New Jersey is only one example. Florida has a population of 21.4 million people (many of whom are elderly retirees), and has about 4,500 COVID deaths, with minimal lockdowns. Despite this, New Jersey is praised for its lockdown policy, while Florida is slammed for reopening "too early." Globally, countries such as Italy, France, and Spain that followed the WHO guidelines on masks, quarantine, and social distancing have had devastating death tolls.
The second question is even more relevant. Compare a lockdown to a padded room in an asylum. It keeps the occupant safe, but only as long as he stays inside. The coronavirus is now widespread and here to stay, which means that whenever people come out of their homes/padded rooms, they will be exposed to it. Although Bill Gates and others have advocated for lockdowns until a vaccine is perfected, the nature of COVID-19 as a rapidly-mutating virus means this might be impractical.
In short, the situation is this: if lockdowns work, they are unsustainable. If they don't work, they are causing misery for nothing. Either way, they are a strategy doomed to fail.