We are absolutely inundated with COVID-19 information ( / fear and sensationalism), but just how bad are things? Do you fear that you are not being told all the facts? Moreover, are you curious as to how we (England) compare to Sweden’s more liberal ‘Herd Immunity’ Approach?
Well, I was… so decided to do some digging and number crunching. This short post shares my high-level analysis.
It’s incredible just how much real-time raw data is available if you go looking. It creates some faith in our systems, but just not in our media and government communications. The info is there, but you need to do all the work yourself to stitch it together and get a full picture.
Let’s get this straight
I’m not a COVID-19 Denier. We clearly are dealing with some additional external insult, and I’ve no reason to not believe that our additional deaths this year are being caused by a novel virus.
That said, I do have many concerns about the draconian response, the testing, the push for a vaccine, and the fearful manipulation and spin we are being fed through media, government officials and ‘experts’.
Moreover, I am most concerned that the elephant in the room is not being openly being discussed and addressed with vigour… the poor health (and therefore susceptibility) of our people due to poor modern nutrition and lifestyle choices.
My belief, which mirrors that of hundreds of leading experts in human health and wellbeing, is that the biggest lever we can and must pull to protect people is to fix their Insulin Resistance and metabolic dysfunction, which affects ~88.8% of Americans – the English will not be far behind.
Leaders such as Dr Aseem Malhotra, Dr Nadir Ali, Dr Paul Saladino, Dr David Sinclair, Dr Malcom Kendrick, Ivor Cummins and Dr Shawn Baker to name but a few all align on this notion that Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance and Obesity are at the root cause of modern diseases and suppressed immune health. More on Metabolic Syndrome some other time, but it is approximately characterised as having three or more of the below:
- Elevated Blood Pressure over 120/80mm/Hg
- Elevated HbA1c (sustained high blood sugar) over 5.5%
- Waist Circumference over 102cm (men) / 88cm (women)
- Triglycerides over 100mg/dl
- High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) under 40mg/dl (men) or 50mg/dl (women)
So, whilst I am concerned about the legitimacy of death certificate reports during this time, what I cannot deny is that there has been an uptick in deaths in England over the last 6-8 weeks, and this is mirrored across many nations.
How bad is it in England?
The daily reports from the UK media are misleading. They share the total number of newly registered deaths that have been captured by NHS Hospitals, where the patients had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to passing away.
Firstly, this data can be across any number of days and weeks and does NOT tell us how many people died the day before. The daily deaths are now around 100-200 a day in England. Secondly, some of these death reports speculate COVID-19 without testing. Lastly, the RT PCR tests lack specificity and sensitivity, meaning there is reasonable concern that they are producing false positives.
Combine the data issues with the 24×7 onslaught of COVID-19 related news, and we can quickly get ourselves into a panic. Media is and will always be about getting your attention – fear, danger and sensationalism are the most powerful tools in mainstream media’s toolkit, and they use them relentlessly. They really don’t have any other choice.
So, here’s the data that you won’t see. Why? Because it isn’t scary enough. Without fear, you cannot be reliably managed. Maybe it’s the only and right thing to do, but you deserve the truth:
ENGLAND COVID-19 NOTES
- This data is from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) and includes all places of death – such as Care Homes.
- COVID-19 related deaths have affected 0.06 People in every Thousand in 2020, between the ages 0-59 years old.
- At the higher risk group of 60-79 yrs, only 1.08 people in every Thousand have been affected this year.
- Really, mortality is the only measure that matters. People WILL pick up bugs. They will get the cold and flu – that’s life. It’s not interesting, nor change we change this reality.
- 93% of all deaths that had positive COVID-19 tests affected ages 60+
- 95% of all COVID-19 deaths had at least one co-morbidity – i.e. they had a compromised metabolism, suppressed immune system, and increased susceptibility to external insults.
- All Other Deaths (non- COVID-19) affected 3.56 people per Thousand across all ages, increasing to 41.49 for the over 80’s. We are naturally more vulnerable and less robust as we age.
- Lower Respiratory Diseases such as Influenza and Pneumonia kill 1.28 people per Thousand People every year within England (70K+ people a year).
- Simply living comes with risk of dying, and we accept those risks every day as governments and people. For example, 0.48 people every Thousand will die or be seriously injured every year from road traffic accidents in Britain.
- The NHS report on English Hospital COVID-19 deaths daily. For example, Milton Keynes Hospital, a major hospital servicing a large diverse population, has only registered 99 COVID-19 deaths in total this year, with 0-2 deaths a day currently. (12th May 2020)
NOTE: The metric Population Death per Thousand People will naturally increase as more people lose their life due to COVID-19. As such, this metric is best considered as an annual Metric, that is reset at the beginning of each year. This is consistent with our seasonal infectious diseases.
How is Sweden getting on with Herd Immunity?
Sweden decided to go against the popular opinion of government leaders and scientists within Europe and much of the world, by not enforcing a nationwide Lockdown. Their rationale was that you only quarantine the infected, and that it made no sense to quarantine healthy people.
So, instead of mandating through law and policing that everyone ‘shelters in place’, and in doing so shuttering their economy and modern life as we know it today, they decided to take the approach of Herd Immunity with self-managed social distancing recommendations.
Sweden are NOT operating as per normal. Yes, they are accepting and embracing the notion that the majority of their nation will and should come in to contact with the SARS CoV2 coronavirus sooner rather than later, but they are still taking precautions.
Instead of trying to prevent the spread, they are instead encouraging their people to protect the vulnerable – i.e. their aged population. Over 70’s have been asked to socially distance, for their own safety. They are strongly discouraging Care Home visits. Events of more than 50 people cannot be held.
Furthermore, higher and further education facilities have been encouraged to offer distance learning. Workers have been encouraged to work from home if their employer is comfortable, and the Swedes are encouraged to travel as little as possible.
No laws (other than the 50+ mass gathering ban), no policing, no fines, no threats, no demands. Businesses are free to operate as best they see fit, and public services such as restaurants and shops are still open. Instead, they respect their people, and in turn their people are taking sensible measures to protect the elderly.
And… they are better off (so far):
- Sweden, who have taken a ‘Herd Immunity’ approach with advisory restrictions vs England’s Lockdown/Quarantine with legislation and fines, are seeing half the population death per Thousand, at 0.31 vs 0.60
- 0.00 People (rounding to 2 decimal places) under 59 years old have been affected per Thousand people this year.
- Sweden’s death rate is way under under half that of England for the 60-79 yrs age group per Thousand people.
- 95% of all deaths that had positive COVID-19 tests affected ages 60+
- Sweden does not see the value of forcefully extending the Pandemic, which will inevitably create a second peak in line with the subsequent Flu Season.
- Sweden are not delaying and waiting for a Vaccine – that could be years away, high probability of not being effective (e.g. Flu jab), will have insufficient long-term human testing, and likely to have unforeseen health side effects
- People say Sweden can only do this because as a nation they are more rationale, compliant to sensible requests and intelligent. Is this true?
- What is clear from the data is that they are definitely healthier than England. They are living longer, with the super majority of overall deaths over 80 years old.
- So, what’s the message? We (the English) are less healthy, less smart, less obedient, and therefore are a greater risk to ourselves? That we cannot be trusted?
Who’s got the better COVID-19 Curve?
The honest answer is, it’s too early to tell. Tracking deaths in Q4 2020 and into 2021 is going to be telling as to which approach has the longer term value to their people.
That said, the Herd Immunity approach with sensible efforts to protect the vulnerable seems like the only viable long-term solution that rips the band-aid off as quickly as possible, increases the robustness of their people, keeps livelihoods and the economy working at a decent pace, and does not rely on the risky strategy of waiting for a vaccine.
Combine that with a full frontal effort to help course correct Insulin Resistance and it’s downstream diseased states such as Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimers and Cancer, and that sounds like a winning formula to me.
Check out the England vs Sweden’s Morality curves so far, with markers to show when their respective pandemic measures were introduced:
Final Thoughts & Comparison
- Sweden has approximately 1/5 the population of England. Their actual Mortality curve is the light yellow squiggly line in the chart
- To normalise the data, Sweden’s daily COVID-19 death numbers were multiplied by 5.4
- Even once normalised, Sweden has not seen anywhere near the peak of England, even though England enforced a full quarantine lockdown. Why?
- Sweden are seeing a flattening of their curve, without draconian lockdown measures, and by embracing sensible herd immunity
- Seasonally, all Western hemisphere countries will be witnessing a quieting of deaths at around this time (May), due to more sunshine, vitamin D, outdoor time, and brighter disposition – i.e. it’s no longer the Flu Season.
- Sweden, whilst less forceful and intense in their Pandemic measures, do expect to keep their recommendations in place for quite a while. They are taking a longer term lifestyle approach versus slamming the brakes with fear and livelihood damage.
- Can England put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to the fear and anxiety created across the country? Can we return to normal? Will people be ok to connect and embrace others again, the way humans have across all of history? Or will social distancing become the new normal?
So, what option would you choose, for yourself?
Perhaps a harder question – what would you choose if you were in charge?
Enjoyed the read?