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Sun May 17, 2020, 07:46 AM

The 'Swedish Model' Is a Failure, Not a Panacea

When looking at death statistics, it may seem obvious, but it is imperative to bear in mind what they refer to. Each number is a human being, whose death can bring crushing pain to many others, including relatives and friends. At this writing, Sweden has reported 3,460 deaths. That’s 343 deaths per million people, one of the highest mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world.

What is most attractive about Sweden’s approach to observers around the world is its impact on the economy. But there too, Stockholm’s decision to avoid a shutdown also looks less effective than its fans have hoped.

Riksbank, the Swedish central bank, has offered two economic projections for this year, both dismal. The brighter one predicts a GDP contraction of 6.9 percent; the other, with different assumptions, predicts a 9.7 percent drop of GDP. In either case, it’s a major recession.

Those numbers are no better than Sweden’s neighbors. Norway is projecting a 5.5 percent drop in GDP, Finland and Denmark about 6 to 6.5 percent. However lively the restaurant scene looks in Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden’s economy will still suffer from disrupted manufacturing supply chains and a collapse in exports.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28759/the-swedish-model-is-a-failure-not-a-panacea

25 replies, 2029 views

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Arrow 25 replies Author Time Post
Reply The 'Swedish Model' Is a Failure, Not a Panacea (Original post)
SunSeeker May 2020 OP
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #1
genxlib May 2020 #2
ProfessorGAC May 2020 #11
Hermit-The-Prog May 2020 #20
SunSeeker May 2020 #3
Celerity May 2020 #18
Solomon May 2020 #4
SunSeeker May 2020 #5
uponit7771 May 2020 #7
democrattotheend May 2020 #6
uponit7771 May 2020 #8
democrattotheend May 2020 #9
uponit7771 May 2020 #13
DrToast May 2020 #10
SunSeeker May 2020 #15
SunSeeker May 2020 #14
TheFarseer May 2020 #12
LAS14 May 2020 #16
SunSeeker May 2020 #19
TheFarseer May 2020 #24
SunSeeker May 2020 #25
Celerity May 2020 #17
SunSeeker May 2020 #21
Celerity May 2020 #22
SunSeeker May 2020 #23

Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 08:05 AM

1. Well, We Still Did Something Wrong

I understand a more heterogeneous population and those effects.
But, Sweden did very little and the numbers in the snip suggest around 114,000 deaths total in the USA. (343 per million * 340).
So we shut down and ended up around the same as Sweden? We're going to have more deaths despite measures taken, as weak or late as they may have been.
This is pretty much proof we have a systemic problem in medical care & wellness.
I know that's not a big surprise to DUers, but these number are pretty strong evidence.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2020, 08:39 AM

2. I agree with you but the you could also argue another angle

The Conservatives would like us to compare a "complete-lock-down" in the US to a "business-as-usual" approach in Sweden.

The truth is that the actual conditions on the ground may not have been that different.

We were by no means in a complete lock down. Even the rules as they existed were rarely enforced. And we have a nation of stubborn freedumb loving crackpots that would not heed warnings.

Meanwhile, Sweden still issued strong recommendations to social distance and isolate despite the lack of any official shut-downs. Couple that with a population that is naturally reserved and well-behaved. They have had better results than one would expect with a total free-for-all. It is also why they will still have trouble with their economy.

It seems to me that the comparison has a lot of variables. In the end, analysis of the similarity in the results will be a combination of these factors coupled with the better health care, family support and wellness that you cite.

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Response to genxlib (Reply #2)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:52 AM

11. I Agree With Both Of You

It's a tough comparison to make, one to one.
I think the biggest issue was it was ignored for weeks, and even falling short of SK responses, we still could have saved tens of thousands.
But, too many Borg in the population and an idiot in the pilot's seat.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #11)

Mon May 18, 2020, 04:27 AM

20. Just as in compound interest, early adjustments make large differences at the end.

We should have had a strong response in February -- a near total shutdown with lots of testing and tracing and quarantining. We would be looking at conditions similar to South Korea and New Zealand now.

The "idiot in the pilot's seat" and a bunch of cultists reacting to Foxtales and the stench of Limburger (or is that Limberder) have dragged the curve back toward the Sweden model.

Republicans (faux conservatives) kill.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #1)

Sun May 17, 2020, 09:03 AM

3. 50% of Swedes live alone, the highest percentage of any country.

Sweden has a socially distancing culture, just naturally. Plus huge amounts of Swedes already work from home. And with excellent health care, they are healthier than Ameticans. So if we had done no lockdowns like what the Swedes did, we would have an even higher death rate than Sweden. The US death rate is 275 per 1 MIllion population. Our death rate is 20% lower than Sweden's right now. That is not insignificant. If we had not shut down, I am sure it would have been much higher than Sweden's. Our shutdown saved lives, it just got started a little late. The US could've prevented 90% of our deaths by shutting down two weeks earlier. https://futurism.com/scientists-prevented-deaths-shutting-down-earlier As we open up, we could easily surpass Sweden's death rate, if we don't do mass testing and contact tracing.

Alas, Trump wasted our lockdown time by failing to gear up testing and contact tracing. Now we will open up without those safeguards and Covid-19 will spread like wildfire in the US. So we'll have the worst of both worlds: a ruined economy and a massive death toll. South Korea was able to avoid both. Their early mass testing and contact tracing avoided the need for any lockdowns. They were able to quarantine just the infected. Their restaurants and factories stayed open. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/26/821688981/how-south-korea-reigned-in-the-outbreak-without-shutting-everything-down South Korea has lost only 262 people. That's a death rate of just 5.1 per 1 Million population. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/

Granted our population is 6.5 times South Korea's, but if we had done what South Korea did, our death total today would be 6.5×262=1,703, instead of 90,000. And our economy wouldnt be in tatters.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #3)

Sun May 17, 2020, 03:15 PM

18. 39.2 percent of all households (and 17.8 percent of all people) here live alone

Why do so many Swedes live alone?

Picture a Swedish home. If you’ve spent time in one of the country’s big cities, you’re probably visualizing an apartment: white walls, Ikea furniture, tasteful minimalism… and a single occupant. People in Sweden are more likely to live alone than in any other country, with four out of ten households home to just one person. But what does this actually tell us about the Swedes? Perhaps not the things you'd expect.

https://www.thelocal.se/20180412/why-do-so-many-swedes-live-alone

In 2017, 1.8 million people in Sweden lived alone, representing 39.2 percent of all households (and 17.8 percent of all people), a proportion that has barely changed since 1990. It's tempting to use this fact to back up the image many of us have as Sweden: a big, cold country where no-one makes small talk and personal space is fiercely guarded. The cry of "I want to be alone!" from Greta Garbo's character in the film Grand Hotel is often used to sum up the Swedish love of solitude – but the story of why people are more likely to live alone in Sweden than anywhere else is much more complicated than that.

Swedes do tend to place a great deal of importance on independence, and that living alone is a part of that. One proverb states 'ensam är stark' (alone is strong). "In the majority of cases, living alone is a temporary phase, not a lifestyle choice," Gunnar Andersson, a professor in demographics at Stockholm University, tells The Local. "Looking at the data, the proportion of single households isn't stable across different genders, income groups, or ages." There are two main phases when living alone is particularly common: in early adulthood (age 19-30), between moving out of the parental home and moving in with a partner, and in retirement (over age 65), when married people may become widowed. There's also a gender split. Single households are made up of roughly 53 percent women and 47 percent men, with women over-represented among the older age groups and men among the younger. This fits in with the demographic trends that see men typically marry slightly later than women, and women live longer on average.

Andersson points out that this is nothing new in Sweden. "The basic underlying structures have been the same for a long time. In older farming societies, young people would move out of their parental home but would usually go to work on another farm with other people. So statistics showed them as lodgers rather than living alone, or perhaps the marriage age was younger so you'd move into a marital home – but the idea of moving out and gaining independence was always there historically." "The basic patterns are very stable," he says. The researcher has noticed a growing interest in his studies from researchers and media abroad, including in Asian countries such as South Korea. In contrast to Sweden, he says these countries are actually undergoing demographic changes, with a higher proportion of people choosing to remain unmarried or childless, while in Sweden that proportion has remained roughly the same over the past century.

One of the most comprehensive theses on Swedish individualism was published in 2006 by Lars Trägårdh and Bengt Berggren. Under the provocative title 'Is the Swede a Human Being?' they explore the Swedish model on which the modern welfare state was built. A central idea is that each person should be able to be free from ties to other people, financial or otherwise, so that for example parents are not obliged to support adult children or elderly relatives and women are able to pursue an independent life and career without needing to marry. The book made waves abroad, turning on its head the idea of Swedes as collaborative socialists, and helps explain why moving out of the parental home is such an important part of growing up in Sweden. But the analysis by Trägårdh and Bergren didn't show a country where people remained totally unconnected throughout their lives; rather, it was one where all connections were a result of choice, not necessity. In fact, they argued that relationships were made more authentic when there was no interdependence. And while some people in Sweden, as in other countries, choose to spend their lives alone, a larger portion choose not to.

snip

much more at the link

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 09:14 AM

4. I think the point is whether you "shut down" or not,

the economy suffers the same. With us had we not "shut down" there would be many more deaths with the same damaged economy so what is the sense in not "shutting down"?

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Response to Solomon (Reply #4)

Sun May 17, 2020, 10:12 AM

5. We should do what South Korea did, not what Sweden did.

South Korea was able to avoid both a shut down and a high death toll. South Korea had their first confirmed case the same day we did. January 20. But they immediately started mass producing tests, and mobilized a national testing program by early February. Their early mass testing and contact tracing avoided the need for any lockdowns. They were able to quarantine just the infected. Their restaurants and factories stayed open. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/26/821688981/how-south-korea-reigned-in-the-outbreak-without-shutting-everything-down South Korea has lost only 262 people. That's a death rate of just 5.1 per 1 Million population. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/ 

Our population is 6.5 times South Korea's, so if we had done what South Korea did, our death total today would be 6.5×262=1,703, instead of 90,000. And our economy would not be in tatters.

But, alas, that would require a competent president, and we don't have that in one Donald J. Trump.

Trump wasted two months, January and February, downplaying Covid-19, instead of doing mass testing like the South Koreans He was given 2 months to catch up by our lockdown to ramp up testing in March and April. But he utterly failed and continues to fail. Trump refuses to invoke the DPA to mass produce tests like the South Koreans did. And without massive amounts of testing, we cannot do contact tracing and targeted quarantines. We don't even have a national plan to do that. We're pitiful. So we will and do have the worst of both worlds: a high death toll and a ruined economy.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #5)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:21 AM

7. THANK YOU !!!

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:12 AM

6. I think it's too early to draw that conclusion

Sweden's death toll is higher than the rest of Scandinavia for now, but I'm not so convinced that will be the case in a year or two. This virus is too widespread and too contagious to completely contain, so there's a good chance more Swedes have just gotten it out of the way now, and they'll be in better shape if a second wave hits.

Also, keep in mind that the purpose of the shutdowns here was to flatten the curve and avoid overwhelming the healthcare systems. As far as I know nobody in Sweden has been denied a ventilator, and the healthcare system there did not get overwhelmed the way Italy and Spain did. My understanding is that better healthcare capacity enabled the Swedes to do things the way they did.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #6)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:24 AM

8. No, we can TTQ till a vaccine is made it will cost us little in time or money

.... VS dead people and economy

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #8)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:40 AM

9. What's TTQ?

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #9)

Sun May 17, 2020, 12:11 PM

13. Testing/Tracing/Quarintine like SK and 40 other nations have done that are out of the

... soup and don't have crashed economies and 10s of thousands of dead

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #6)

Sun May 17, 2020, 11:49 AM

10. I'm surprised it hasn't been worse in Sweden

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Response to DrToast (Reply #10)

Sun May 17, 2020, 02:39 PM

15. Sweden was already socially distancing before the pandemic.

50% of Swedes live alone---the highest percentage of any country. That was one reason it spread so much in Italy: Italy has a high percentage of multigenerational families living under one roof. The young people infected the old people. Also, a huge proportion of Swedes work from home. That and universal healthcare coverage are why their numbers have not been worse despite no lockdown.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #6)

Sun May 17, 2020, 02:33 PM

14. You talk like there is no way to slow the spread through testing and contact tracing.

I have 2 words for you: South Korea. They got the virus under control through mass testing, contact tracing and targeted quarantines without ever shutting their country down.   https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/26/821688981/how-south-korea-reigned-in-the-outbreak-without-shutting-everything-down

South Korea has lost only 262 people. That's a death rate of just 5.1 per 1 Million population. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/  

Our population is 6.5 times South Korea's, so if we had done what South Korea did, our death total today would be 6.5×262=1,703, instead of 90,000. And our economy would not be in tatters. 

We should be following the South Korean model, not the Swedish model.

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 12:01 PM

12. Don't be so sure

If we have the same deaths per million and it takes us two years instead of two months to get there, what will you say then?

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Response to TheFarseer (Reply #12)

Sun May 17, 2020, 02:44 PM

16. I've been positively disposed to a rational "get it over with" approach.

That is, isolate the vulnerable and get 67% of the population infected ASAP. But then I heard someone interviewed on Smerconish the other night who advocates testing every American every 2 weeks (huge investment, yes), in part because it would take over a year to get 67% of the U.S. population infected. I didn't know there was no ASAP option, really.

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Response to TheFarseer (Reply #12)

Mon May 18, 2020, 04:09 AM

19. If we had the same death rate as South Korea, we'd only have 1,703 dead.

South Korea got the virus under control through mass testing, contact tracing and targeted quarantines without ever shutting their country down.   https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/26/821688981/how-south-korea-reigned-in-the-outbreak-without-shutting-everything-down 

South Korea got their first case on the same day we did, January 20. But they have lost only 262 people. That's a death rate of just 5.1 per 1 Million population. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/coronavirus/   

Our population is 6.5 times South Korea's, so if we had done what South Korea did, our death total today would be 6.5×262=1,703, instead of 90,000. And our economy would not be in tatters.  

We should be following the South Korean model, not the Swedish model. 

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #19)

Mon May 18, 2020, 07:23 AM

24. We seem to be incapable of getting

a decent number of tests available. I’m not sure what that’s about. That would totally change everything as far as what strategies are available to us, but for whatever reason, we can’t seem to make that happen.

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Response to TheFarseer (Reply #24)

Mon May 18, 2020, 02:14 PM

25. Trump won't invoke the Defense Production Act to mass produce tests.

He invoked the DPA to force meatpacking plants to stay open (and thus denying unemployment to those workers who stay home to preserve their health).

But when it came to testing, Trump passed the buck to the states, even though governors can't invoke the DPA, only the President can.

I think Trump doesn’t want to test because it will reveal how bad the virus has spread. He has basically said as much (he complained that, "The more you test, the more cases you have." ).

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Response to SunSeeker (Original post)

Sun May 17, 2020, 03:08 PM

17. we may soon have a border dispute crisis, as the 3 main Scandinavian nations (us, Norway, Denmark)

plus Germany are talking about re-opening the borders with each other plus Germany, put multiple parties (on both the left and the right) in Denmark want to open with the other 2, but still block Swedes from entering.


Danish article, Google translated (as I am too lazy to do it all myself, and my Danish is for shit, lolol)


Several parties will open the borders to Germans and Norwegians - but preferably not Swedes

According to several parties, Norwegian and German tourists should be allowed to enter Denmark.

https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/politik/flere-partier-vil-aabne-graenserne-tyskere-og-nordmaend-men-helst-ikke-svenskere



The Danish summer country is ready to welcome tourists here shortly before the peak season in Denmark. And tourists must be welcome, says several parties in the Folketing, who, however, distinguish the tourists' nationality before they want to raise the border boom. Among the parties, there is clear support to invite especially Germans, but also Norwegians, into Denmark. Because in Norway and Germany they have a similar infection risk as in Denmark, while the Covid-19 situation in Sweden is different, and therefore the Swedes still have to stay on their side of the strait.

This is the opinion of Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, chairman of the Left, among others. - I certainly do not think it is so that one should wait to open the border with Germany until you think it is justifiable also to open the border to Sweden. - If it is not justifiable for health to open the border with Sweden, then the Swedes can stay there and then the Germans can come up, he says. Kristian Thulesen Dahl, chairman of the Danish People's Party, supports this. - I believe that if you open differently to tourists from different countries, you can also open faster, he says , thus rejecting the government's argument that the borders to both Sweden, Germany and Norway must open at the same time.

Infection pressure in other countries is crucial

Søren Pape Poulsen, chairman of the Conservatives, was already out yesterday with the idea of ​​letting the Oslo boat sail tourists back and forth and at the same time allowing German tourists to occupy the West Jutland coast. - Countries that remind us of those who are in control of the infection and where the infection pressure is low, such as Norway and Germany, we must open for. At a minimum, those who have a rental certificate for a cottage, hotel or similar should be allowed to come in, he says, and continue: - There are many cultural and business issues related to the German border. For example, on the Danish west coast, the small towns are deeply dependent on a tourist season.

At the New Civil Party, party chairman Pernille Vermund is also ready to distinguish between the tourists' nationality, though she warns against just opening the locks, as was done before the Covid-19 crisis. - We cannot just open the borders completely, as they did before - nor for Norwegians and Germans. We need to find a way to ensure that the people who come here and stay here for a while can do so safely. - But we need to have those who have rented a cottage, a room in an inn or a hotel, and thus are an important part of the financial condition for many small urban communities in particular South Jutland, West Jutland and North Jutland, in a way, so it is connected, says Pernille Vermund.



Support from government support parties for civic idea

Even with the government's one support party, the Unity List, which is otherwise very careful about opening the borders right now, you support the idea of ​​looking at tourists differently according to the color of their passports. This is what political spokesman Pernille Skipper says. - It is obvious to think that there are some countries that you can open to holidaymakers from, while there are other countries that you cannot open the borders to. It's quite obvious, she says. Morten Østergaard, who generally prefers to open the borders to Sweden, Norway and Germany, is ready to welcome here and now tourists from countries with similar infection risk as the Danish as Norway and Germany now. - Countries that are in health in roughly the same situation as us, there is no reason to have restrictions against. Around Sweden, there may be health-related evidence to maintain border control that way - it just should not become an argument for not opening the border with Germany and Norway. - If there is evidence of a health professional to keep the border with Sweden closed, then of course you have to listen to them, he says.

Few parties are ready to welcome the Swedes

In addition, only the Alternative's political leader, Josephine Fock, and Alex Vanopslagh, the political leader of the Liberal Alliance, are ready to invite the Swedes to Denmark now. - As our outside world and other European countries say that we Danes must visit them, we must also say that they are welcome to visit us. I'm not so worried about a German married couple taking up a cottage on the beautiful west coast of Jutland. On the contrary, it will be good for the Danish economy and the hard-pressed municipalities, which have lost a lot of tourist revenue, says Alex Vanopslagh. The Swedes are also welcome, according to the Liberal Party leader. However, in general for tourists, it is important to keep away, wash hands and splash off. - I am sure that Swedes and Germans are equally good at behaving properly, says Alex Vanopslagh.

The government is refusing so far

According to the agreement for the reopening of Denmark, the government must announce by June 1 how to open the borders. If they need to be opened. And when. Yesterday, Justice Minister Nick Hekkerup (S) was under fire in the parliamentary hall from several parties that want the borders opened now. Here he went so far as to say that one would consider allowing German tourists with a rental contract for a holiday home as persons with "a worthy purpose" to enter Denmark. "I think this is a sensible approach," the Minister of Justice said.

When it comes to the border issue, it is up to the government alone to decide what should happen - regardless of the pressure from the other parties. By Thursday morning, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (S) put his heels on behalf of the government. - This is what the Minister of Justice also said yesterday that we have a dialogue with our neighboring countries about entry restrictions and the border issue. We are still very concerned and very cautious. We still have the Covid-19 pandemic. - We are in the process of new phases of the reopening, so there are a number of elements around it. But we will come up with an answer to that before June 1, said Jeppe Kofod.

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Response to Celerity (Reply #17)

Mon May 18, 2020, 04:28 AM

21. Denmark is sensible, even if their language is impossible, LOL.

A Trump Administration official would never make a statement like this: "If there is evidence of a health professional to keep the border with Sweden closed, then of course you have to listen to them, he says."

Trump does not listen to evidence, scientists or health professionals, he thinks he knows better.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #21)

Mon May 18, 2020, 04:56 AM

22. well, it cuts both ways in Denmark, not sure how many on this board like this:

Why is Denmark not recommending face masks to the public?

https://www.thelocal.dk/20200511/why-is-denmark-not-recommending-face-masks-to-the-public

The Danish Health Authority has from the start of the coronavirus pandemic advised the general public against wearing face masks in public, arguing both that the benefits are unproven, and that doing so risks making it more difficult for health authorities to source supplies. "The Danish Health Authority does not recommend that healthy people who move around in public generally wear face masks," the authority explains in a Question and Answer section on its website. "This is partly because it is uncertain whether it has an effect on the spread of infection, but also because we must ensure that we will not lack face masks where they are most important, in the health and care sector."

According to the Politiken newspaper, however, the Authority has over the past week changed this advice to remove a section claiming that "nothing suggests" that the masks have an effect on transmission of the virus when worn by the general public. Henning Bundgaard, Professor in Cardiology at Copenhagen University, who is conducting a trial on the efficacy of face masks, told The Local that he believed Denmark was right to exercise caution.

"No one has any documentation that face masks outside hospitals work at all," he said. "And I think it is rational to provide this documentation before we demand that people need to wear masks out in the open." He said that masks came with many disadvantages. "It comes with a price for most people: You have to pay for the masks; it is inconvenient to wear it; is difficult to talk to people when you can't see their face; if people working hard, it can be hard to breathe, and we don't know how long a mask last for." Perhaps the biggest issue, he added, was that masks might create a sense of false security. "If you feel safe, you might change your behaviour, maybe you get closer to people and maybe you don't wash your hands so often," he said. "So the achievement might be none, or you might be worse off in fact."

He said he did not think that the issue of face masks was so urgent that Denmark's government or health authorities should demand them without requiring evidence of their effectiveness, even though his own study would not generate results until the end of June. "It won't be too late," he said. "We are talk about second and third waves of this pandemic." Governments around the world have increasingly begun recommending masks as evidence has increased that people with coronavirus can be highly infectious before they begin to show symptoms.

snip

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Response to Celerity (Reply #22)

Mon May 18, 2020, 06:56 AM

23. There is plenty of evidence masks work.

As your experts state, Denmark wants to reserve masks for medical professionals because there is a mask shortage, hence their reluctance to recommend that the public wear masks. But cotton homemade masks work too, as the researchers in this video document, with data:




Notwithstanding all that, as your link notes, Danish authorities "over the past week changed this advice to remove a section claiming that "nothing suggests" that the masks have an effect on transmission of the virus when worn by the general public. 

Clearly, Danes know there is evidence masks have an effect on transmission when worn by the general public.

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