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germany vs sweden
an interesting test of lockdowns, masks, and vaccine mandates
germany and sweden have followed very different covid paths.
sweden has been mostly open, germany mostly closed.
germany has been mask obsessive, even mandating N95’s in many places. they have also been vaccine obsessive and pushed aggressive mandates and requirements. they have locked down where sweden did not.
current polices diverge massively. germany is locking down, masking up, and mandating all manner of discrimination against the unvaxxed. sweden is mostly normal.
this sets up something of an interesting comparison on several vectors. the first is vaccination rate.
this is quite interesting. they are strikingly similar both in timing and in magnitude. sweden outperforms slightly, but we’re talking about 70% vs 68% fully vaxxed. it’s functionally the same.
this starts to shed real doubt on the idea that vaccine mandates and hectoring drive much in the way of uptake. (unless you want to argue that germans are unusually bad about following rules, and that seems like a loser of an argument)
we’ve seen similar in the US. at a certain point, it actually backfires and people start wonder why, if this is so great, they must be forced to take it.
but it also sets up another interesting comparison: how are they doing right now?
germany and sweden have historically had similar seasonality.
last winter, despite wide variance in policy, their seasonal surges were nearly identical (despite sweden’s more inclusive covid death counting methodology)
but so far this winter, sweden has had nearly no rise in deaths while germany is ramping rapidly and is at basically the same level as this date last year.
if masks and lockdowns and vaccines worked, this is not at all what one would expect. in fact, it’s very much the opposite.
this data looks far more consistent with the idea that these non-pharma interventions have done and are doing nothing.
where we DO see variance is that sweden had a lot more covid in early 2020. thus, one might expect cohort depletion and greater acquired immunity from exposure and recovery.
and it looks, at least for now, as if this is the case and that it’s the dispositive variable as we have only 2 choices that seem to fit:
NPI’s are making this much worse or,
past exposure and recovery seems to be the only relevant immunity gain.
this will set up an interesting test in the US northeast.
maine, vermont, and new hampshire are all, despite high vaccination rates, looking worse than this time last year.
seasonality is now creeping into massachusetts, rhode island, connecticut, and new york. but, unlike the northern trio, they had quite a lot more covid last year. so one might expect this same natural immunity to manifest in a similar fashion.
that will bear some watching…
addendum: people are asking for all cause deaths data which seems a sound addition. it looks (according to OWID) like this:
they have been a little wonky on this series, so i have a bit less faith in them here, but it’s likely reasonable.
i think this is better data: