Irrationalism around Covid-19 does not help – interview with Prof. Johan Giesecke

Professor Johan Giesecke is a highly-regarded epidemiologist and currently is an advisor to the Swedish Government and the WHO on the COVID pandemic. He was Sweden’s state epidemiologist and also the first Chief Scientist of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Before becoming an epidemiologist he was an infectious diseases clinician.

In this 30-minute interview he lays out the strategy Sweden is following and talks about its strengths and where there were some mistakes made. He explains why he considers lockdowns are not evidence-based, and why the best policy is to protect the elderly and other vulnerable groups. He says this eventually leads to herd immunity as a by-product, rather than a goal.

He has insight into why governments have taken the path of lockdowns and raises some criticisms of the very influential Imperial College paper. He points out that the IC paper was not a published scientific paper and nor was it peer-reviewed. Among the many shortcomings of the IC modeling was that they assumed hospital capacity would remain fixed. This is a striking oversight given that China had already shown this is precisely *not* what happens when a rising tide of patients is foreseen. China, for instance, built a brand new 1000-bed hospital in just ten days. Geisecke gives his estimate of the true death rate and prevalence of COVID in the population and how many will have already had exposure.

The Interview:

Freddie Sayers: There’s been a lot of confused thinking and a lot of confusion about what the correct response to a threat such as Covid-19 should be, and I just wanted to begin by getting your summary thoughts of how Sweden is differing from other countries and why you think that is.

Professor Johan Geisecke: The main reason is that we, or the Swedish government, decided early, in January, that the measures  we should take against the pandemic should be evidence-based and when you start looking around at the measures being taken now by different governments you find that very few of them have a shred of being evidence-based. . .

Watch the full interview here. . .

7 comments

  1. I quote: ” the best policy is to protect the elderly and other vulnerable groups. He says this eventually leads to herd immunity as a by-product, rather than a goal.”

    To support that Geisecke would need to show that having had the virus would produce immunity.

    However in the news today:

    “The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned countries against investing too much in antibody tests. The WHO says there is “no evidence” that having had the virus would guarantee immunity”
    https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-52319956

    • If you have antibodies it is likely there is immunity. Whether that lasts long term is another matter.

  2. I heard this morning that Sweden’s infection rate is rising significantly compared to Norway and Finland which have stricter physical distancing measures. I don’t understand this man, he seems to think that only the old and frail are susceptible to serious cases of SARS CO-V2. When he speaks of vulnerable populations, is he excluding grocery store workers, transportation drivers, and others who have died in the U.S.? And why is Redline so fond of the message that strict physical distancing measures are unnecessary? Do you really think that consumer capitalism isn’t stupendously eager to have us all back out there working and SPENDING? In the U.S. this thinking seems to be confined to the same idiots who constantly wave flags, carry guns to public demonstrations, love Donald Trump (who will only permit people who have tested negative to come near him), and are the usual diehard racists/sexists.

    And now I will return to our daily state CDC briefing with someone unwilling to make pronouncements, either of the X number of people will die variety or that only the old and frail are vulnerable to SARS CO-V2.

  3. I don’t think we’ve made a load of attacks on physical distancing or really pushed the idea that physical distancing measures are “so unnecessary”. As far as I know we all observe physical distancing measures when we go out in public. But the *evidence* is that regular hand washing is actually *more effective* than physical distancing.

    Re the demographics. In NZ not one person below their 60s has died of the virus. In fact, until the day before yesterday, not one person below their 70s had died and most of the deaths were of people in their 80s and 90s, over half of them in one particular old folks home. Not one grocery store worker, not one bus driver, not one nurse, zilch. In Australia, with somewhat less restrictive lockdown than NZ, slightly fewer people have died. They have slightly more than 5 times our population and very slightly less than five times the number of deaths.

    Sweden has a lot more people in old folks homes than do Norway or Finland (in total and also proportionately). That’s largely why there is a difference in fatalities in Sweden. Taiwan has a lower death than NZ without the sort of lockdown we have. Given that over half the 16 fatalities in NZ have been in one old folks home, the scale of lockdown here doesn’t make a lot of sense. Measures could have been taken to protect vulnerable sections of the population here – like a lockdown on old folks homes, testing for every resident of old folks homes, testing of people coming into the country, even closing borders or putting incoming people into quarantine at an extreme, etc – without locking most workers out of their employment, drastically restricting people’s right to movement within the country and creating a mindless unquestioning attitude towards government policy and doing massive damage to the economy without in any way challenging capitalism or presenting an alternative economic way forward.

    This is a panic. And, over time, the wheels are starting to come off. The modellers got it *absolutely massively wrong* – and that is becoming slowly clearer as more calm and rational voices increasingly break through.

    At some point in the future, people will say, “Jesus, how did we get that so wrong?” and “How did we come with those awful policy prescriptions?”

    We seem to be living in an era of increasing morbid symptoms and people are more prone to believe things that are irrational. The trans lunacy is a great example. People will genuinely believe that a bloke and his penis are female and unless we do what they say we will be driving them to self-harm and suicide. And so I’m not surprised that a lot of well-meaning people will believe that unless we do what the government here says heaps of people will die. There is a kind of manic groupthink at work. Plus in capitalist society, where the masses have no power over decisions, alienation (in the marxist sense) takes a load of different forms. Panic is one of them.

    • Have you considered that perhaps you don’t have younger people dying in New Zealand because of the stay-at-home measures? No one under 50 has died in Maine, U.S.A., that I know, but our governor quickly instituted measures designed to prevent more people getting sick and consequently dying. And we, like you, are a small population region with tourism as a major industry. And, yes, in the U.S., ordinary working people ARE dying. You might also consider your indigenous people; in the U.S., African-Americans, Latino Americans, and indigenous people are far more vulnerable to this virus, in part due to the stress they live with daily.

      And what in god’s name does transgenderism have to do with this conversation?

  4. And now I’m going to make another comment. I’ve seen this Swedish doctor, both here and on television, and he seems dead already. He keeps talking about protecting “the vulnerable” (in his speak, meaning old people), but Sweden does not seem to be doing a good job of protecting their elderly. Just as we in the U.S.A. are not doing a good job either, because what we call rehab/nursing facilities (care homes) are mostly dirty and understaffed (staff being grossly underpaid) with abysmal food served to the inmates (cheap carbs). Many of these facilities are owned by doctors who make a huge profit out of them. It helps that I am married to a registered nurse who knows very well what one of our local facilities is like; out of 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases in our low-population, rural county, at least 40 of them are patients and staff at this facility, with several deaths.

    • Viral infections are spread through close personal contact over a period of time: Nursing homes/rehabilitation centers and HOSPITALS where most of these cases have been acquired. It is exactly as expected that this would ravage this population as do other flu-like illnesses caused by different viral agents AND bacterial/fungal pneumonia agents. Try reading for facts. Just like when this variety of flu-like illness in adults began to emerge it was found around international airports/ports FIRST. That’s how disease spreads.

      NYC has a population density of 27K people per square mile and is still one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It is twice as large as LA. It is full of people who travel internationally. It has also been ordered to record deaths NOT CONFIRMED to be caused by corona virus to be recorded as though they were anyway.

      Further, the amount of people tested is FAR below the amount of people who have been infected, since this would be the DENOMINATOR of death rate, the number has been inflated by orders of magnitude. Your RN spouse should be aware of that, as they should be aware antibody testing is the definitive way to measure infection amount and spread since the original PCR tests were done for the virus itself, which could have been cleared before testing and shown NEGATIVE. And if you developed antibodies and got rid of the disease OF COURSE you developed immunity, otherwise you’d remain sick indefinitely until you died. Hello. Making a statement you do not know if people are “immune” is assinine. That would be the first reader, who doesn’t know the US is the majority funding of the WHO-the same body of “health experts” who declassified transgenderism as a MENTAL DISORDER. Narcissistic fetishists and the small minority of regular delusional who believe they can change their sex aren’t spectacularly disturbed? OK. And THEN assuming the WHO “statement” is PROOF supporting their assertion the Dr. would need to show….having the virus produced immunity. If you have antibodies you ARE immune. If you are reinfected later, just as in any other reinfection, your body has memory cells to fight off the disease quickly if it encounters a large enough viral load that would otherwise cause disease.

      Why do liberals think they are Marxists? Clearly you have no grasp of MATERIAL REALITY or you’d know the STATE with its “compelling interest” driven by its mouthpiece: CORPORATE MEDIA is running this shit-show of histrionic info-tainment to scare the people into submission– using the armed men of the state as a back-up. We’ve had zero say in even the local closing of playgrounds—where 5 commissioners, dumb as fence posts who are mostly part of the chamber of commerce don’t know UV light from the sun kills viruses, esp. fragile enveloped viruses quickly. Yet, here we are. For a disease that doesn’t so much as cause a cold in the majority of the infected and is far less deadly than the flu which has a yearly VACCINE and has still killed far more people worldwide, including INFANTS, this last year. Try math. Has a yearly vaccine. Then subtract. The CDC keeps those records, maybe you should try reading other pages on the site and apply simple math skills? Just a suggestion. Hospital acquired pneumonia of bacterial cause kills how many people each year? Medical screw-ups alone kill hundreds of thousands in the US.

      My daughter and I both have colds and haven’t been near anyone other than her boyfriend who was asymptomatic as is my husband. See how well social distancing works? My husband didn’t lose his job and I knew he wouldn’t because all the bourgies hiding under their blankies accepting this hysteria being imposed upon the rest of us with no say in the matter would be buying all their shit ON LINE with “essential” workers still working. Most of them (blue collar workers) don’t believe this lying hype being spread mainly by LIBERALS. Meanwhile, millions losing their jobs have no food or shelter in addition to the millions already homeless. They also have no HEALTH COVERAGE so anything OTHER THAN corona virus which wouldn’t kill them anyway NOW WILL. And starving isn’t all that great for the immune system either. Neither is the starving part.

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