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The Swedish Model, Way to Go! By Brian Simpson
President Trump has been hammering the Swedish model, but even the World Health Organization has praise for it, since Sweden, while having a moderate number of cases, suffered little economic damage as did the rest of the West:
“President Trump on Thursday took aim at Sweden’s decision to not order lockdowns in response to the coronavirus epidemic, claiming the U.S. made “the correct decision” after the World Health Organization praised the Scandinavian country’s more moderate approach. “Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443),” he tweeted. “The United States made the correct decision!” Sweden has implemented a number of social distancing measures but has, by and large, kept its economy and daily life going, leaving schools, businesses and leisure activities open while closing sporting events and large gatherings. Despite warnings from experts that the strategy could have deadly consequences, the country's approach has become a talisman for lockdown skeptics who say the strategy was misguided and unnecessarily harmful. A New York Times story on Sweden’s approach this week, filled with pictures of Swedes sipping wine in cafes and chatting (maskless) at restaurants, noted that the country’s death rate per 100,000 is about the same as Ireland’s, and better than Britain’s or France’s. While locked down Americans and Europeans are being warned that severe restrictions could last for much longer than previously promised amid fears of a "second wave," Sweden’s ambassador to the U.S. said last week that “herd immunity” -- by which most of the population is immune from infection -- could be achieved in Stockholm by mid-May. Those, like Trump, who criticize the approach, highlight that the number of deaths from the virus is high compared with other Scandinavian countries. But lockdown skeptics note that the original goal of the strategy was not to stop people getting infected altogether but to slow the spread of those infections in a way that doesn’t immediately overwhelm a country’s health care system. Sweden’s health care system has so far not been overwhelmed.
Well, healthcare is just a part of a society, and the aim should have been not to have a Covid-19 strategy that brought down the entire temple of western economics. Now, this is what is faced:
“How bad is the coronavirus economy? The worst ever, says Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. "We are going to see economic data for the second quarter that is worse than any data we have seen for the economy," Powell said. "There are direct consequences of the disease and measures we are taking to protect ourselves from it." The recovery will be long and painful, but the economy could begin to bounce back significantly in the third quarter as businesses reopen, he added. While we won't go back to pre-coronavirus levels for quite some time, the third quarter could provide some economic relief. "We will enter the new phase — and we are just beginning to maybe do that — where we will begin formal measures that require social distancing will be rolled back, gradually, and at different paces in different parts of the country. And in time, during this period, the economy will begin to recover," Powell said. Powell also noted that unemployment shot higher for minorities in the United States —much faster than it has for white Americans. Just a few months ago, the US labor market was the best-ever for minorities, Powell noted. Now, minorities are among the first to lose their jobs as stay-at-home orders have shuttered restaurants, movie theaters, retailers and many other businesses. "It is heartbreaking, frankly, to see that all threatened now," Powell said. "All the more need for our urgent response and also that of Congress, which has been urgent and large, and to do what we can to avoid longer run damage to the economy." Powell noted that people "who are least able to bear it have been the first to lose their jobs, and they have little cushion to protect themselves. "That is a very big concern," Powell said.
That is to put it mildly, since the equally conservative IMF said that this is the worse economic conditions since the Great Depression. It is enough to msake anyone, greatly depressed!
“The world has changed dramatically in the three months since our last update of the World Economic Outlook in January. A rare disaster, a coronavirus pandemic, has resulted in a tragically large number of human lives being lost. As countries implement necessary quarantines and social distancing practices to contain the pandemic, the world has been put in a Great Lockdown. The magnitude and speed of collapse in activity that has followed is unlike anything experienced in our lifetimes. This is a crisis like no other, and there is substantial uncertainty about its impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. A lot depends on the epidemiology of the virus, the effectiveness of containment measures, and the development of therapeutics and vaccines, all of which are hard to predict. In addition, many countries now face multiple crises—a health crisis, a financial crisis, and a collapse in commodity prices, which interact in complex ways. Policymakers are providing unprecedented support to households, firms, and financial markets, and, while this is crucial for a strong recovery, there is considerable uncertainty about what the economic landscape will look like when we emerge from this lockdown. Under the assumption that the pandemic and required containment peaks in the second quarter for most countries in the world, and recedes in the second half of this year, in the April World Economic Outlook we project global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 percent. This is a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points from January 2020, a major revision over a very short period. This makes the Great Lockdown the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis.”
For many, this is simply an understatement too, of the real human costs that will come, since people in the Great Depression were much better prepared to survive it, that those that have lived in the consumer comforts of the post-World War II era, and have little idea of basic survivalism.