A colleague keeps posting (on the work messaging system) analysis and opinion on how well Sweden is doing on COVID without the lockdown imposed by other nations and notes that it’s unclear whether policy decisions make a difference. I find this annoying because the effect of policy decisions on COVID cases and deaths is very clear, as shown by Sweden’s numbers compared to those of other Nordic nations.
Denmark, Finland, and Norway each have a little more than half Sweden’s population (~5 million vs ~10 million for Sweden). Denmark has the second most cases and deaths, with Sweden most afflicted. Denmark has only ~11% the deaths and ~18% the cases of Sweden, with Finland and Norway faring even better.
As bad as the numbers are, a University of Virginia analysis indicates that Sweden implemented ICU bed triage/rationing that prevented some of the sickest from getting ICU treatment.
Fatality per capita, cases per capita, and Infection Fatality Rate are the major metrics I see tracked right now, but with this virus there are considerable long term health consequences for many people (I don’t see any good data on this, but assume people are working on it) so people not dying is a good but not great indicator of the pandemic’s impact.
Reasonable people can differ on the balance point between economic damage and human health damaged and lives lost, but those discussions should focus on the value of individual human life and health versus the economic health of a nation. The two are interdependent, but we need to be honest about what we’re discussing.
I’m excited about what the discoveries in this article inspire us to pursue. It turns out that memories in planarians and some simpler life forms can be extracted from one animal and injected into another and even survive the almost complete structural dissolution involved in a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly.
This Live Science article covers a set of beautiful equations, nominated by scientists, that describe the nature of the world. It’s worth reading for a glimpse into the beauty of mathematics and its power to illuminate the fundamental laws that govern the universe.
Students at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have created a wrist oximeter that monitors blood oxygen levels and can warn the wearer and others of an impending opioid overdose. Opioids such as heroin depress the central nervous system, including respiration, and an overdose kills by suppressing respiration to the point that a person’s heart and brain dies from insufficient oxygen. The CMU wrist oximeter continuously monitors oxygen levels and when low blood oxygen is detected, it will warn the wearer and can also send a text message to an emergency contact.
It’s worth noting that Naloxone is relatively easy to administer (with training available) and can be purchased without a prescription. This Time article has details on the legality and availability of Naloxone. If you’re around someone who uses opioids, having Naloxone available could save their life.
This Nib comic does an excellent job of explaining the origin and history of hysteria. Everyone should learn this history because hysteria is an accessible and profound example of the harm patriarchy does to all of society: men, women, and children.