The controversial epidemiologist believes lockdown is ‘using a hammer to kill a fly’. Could he be proved right?
Richard Milne in Stockholm September 10 2020 – for the Financial Times
My cmnt: This is an incredible profile of a brave man and a country with the good sense to follow him. Much like our President Donald Trump he has stood against the tide and blessed his country with freedom and prosperity because of it. Read the entire article in the Financial Times linked to above.
My cmnt: Echoing Michelle Obama (aka Big Mike) I too have never been proud of the country of my forebears until now. They stood against the Mob and are now reaping the benefits.
My cmnt: The upshot is this – you do not, ever, lockdown a nation and destroy its economy (i..e., its lifeblood) its children’s education, its sanity and its overall health. Lockdowns do NOT work. Yes, they slowdown the spread but they do not eliminate it. As soon as the lockdowns end, which they MUST inevitably do, the virus spikes and it all starts again.
At the start of this year, Anders Tegnell was just a low-profile bureaucrat in a country of 10m people, heading a department that collects and analyses data on public health. Today, he has become one of the best known — and most controversial — figures of the global coronavirus crisis. The 64-year-old Swedish doctor was meant to spend 2020 helping Somalia set up a public health agency as well as sending questionnaires out to Swedes to gauge different aspects of their wellbeing. Instead, his approach to Covid-19 — to keep schools, restaurants, fitness centres and borders open while refusing to follow China in imposing a formal lockdown — has seen him become an unlikely polarising figure for a polarised age. For many Swedes, their state epidemiologist has embodied a rational approach as other countries have appeared to sacrifice science to emotion. “I wish I were coming with you to see him,” one of Sweden’s leading chief executives confided to me just before I went to see Tegnell. “The way he has stood for what he believes in while the rest of the world does something else is admirable.”
My cmnt: While Tegnell eschews his new-found fame our own Dr. Fauci laps it up like a dehydrated poodle.
Tegnell, in a few short months, has become the most famous Swede, both at home and abroad. “It’s hype,” he says. “And it’s completely surreal.” He tells of a woman and her son turning up at his home with a portrait of him made from plastic beads. He tries to argue that epidemiologists elsewhere have become well known, before conceding “people wouldn’t tattoo their face on their arms”.
He says that his fame is a “problem” and was never his ambition. He is all for free speech but comments comparing him to Hitler or Stalin “are not OK”, and he has spoken to police over death threats. Does the combination of his sudden fame and him appearing to stand alone make him defend his positions even more stubbornly? “Not really, no. But, of course, it means I have to be very cautious about what I’m saying,” he says. Is there a danger that he becomes too detached, too much at the level of general statistics rather than the tragedy of 5,800 deaths and rising? “That’s, of course, a danger but I think, then, it’s good to have the kind of experience that I have. I’ve worked in hospitals. I’ve seen the flu epidemics and people coming in and overflooding the hospitals. I worked with Ebola in Africa. I do realise what diseases can do to a society and a system.”
Tegnell had a normal Swedish childhood until he was 12 and his family moved to Ethiopia. He says the change of scenery affected him deeply. He met his Dutch wife at university in the US before travelling extensively. Rather than his fight against Ebola in what was then Zaire in 1995, he says his time just before that working on vaccination programmes in Laos for the World Health Organization was the most formative. “I really learned about the importance of broad thinking in public health. I think that’s also partly behind our strategy and also what the agency is doing. We are not just working with communicable diseases, we are working with public health as a whole,” he says.
So he looks at schools not just as a place where the virus might spread but also the most important part of health for a young person. “If you succeed there, your life will be good. If you fail, your life is going to be much worse. You’re going to live shorter. You’re going to be poorer. That, of course, is in the back of your head when you start talking about closing schools,” he adds.
In June, Tegnell described the rush to lock down in the rest of Europe and the US as “it was as if the world had gone mad”. He appears more emollient today, but he still displays signs of disbelief at the approaches of others. Adopting face masks is “more of a statement than actually a measure”. He adds: “Face masks are an easy solution, and I’m deeply distrustful of easy solutions to complex problems.” I ask him about another previous comment: hadn’t he said that Sweden, in the local vernacular, had “ice in its stomach” whereas other nations had acted emotionally?
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