Monday, September 27, 2021

Norway ends Covid restrictions

Rowdy celebrations erupt in Norway as COVID-19 restrictions end | CTV News - Associated Press:

September 26, 2021 - "The Norwegian government abruptly announced Friday that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be scrapped beginning Saturday and that life in the nation of 5.3 million would return to normal. The unexpected announcement by outgoing Prime Minister Erna Solberg to drop coronavirus restrictions the next day took many Norwegians by surprise and led to chaotic scenes in the capital, Oslo, and elsewhere in the country.

"'It has been 561 days since we introduced the toughest measures in Norway in peacetime,' Solberg said on Friday at a news conference. 'Now the time has come to return to a normal daily life.'

"Rowdy celebrations by hundreds of citizens across Norway started Saturday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Sunday. Police said unrest was reported in several places, including in the southern city of Bergen and the central city of Trondheim, but the situation was the worst in Oslo. Long lines were seen outside Oslo's nightclubs, bars and restaurants late Saturday and police registered at least 50 fights and disturbances during the night. Neither vaccination status certificates nor negative test results are required to enter such venues in Norway....

"Solberg responded to criticism of the sudden move to reopen society by saying that Norwegian health experts had supported the measure. 'We shall not have strict (coronavirus) measures unless they are professionally justified. People must be allowed to live as they wish,' Solberg told VG late Saturday.

"Norway is the second country in [the] Nordic region to lift COVID-19 restrictions after Denmark did so on Sept. 10. More than 76% of Norway's population have received one vaccine dose, and nearly 70% have had both shots, according to official figures."

Read more: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/rowdy-celebrations-erupt-in-norway-as-covid-19-restrictions-end-1.5601080


I'm worried about Norway's reopening - I hope I'm wrong

by George J. Dance

I am glad to see another country end its Covid restrictions. As a libertarian, I am philosophically biased against limiting freedom; and as a Torontonian, I have had more than enough of life under lockdown. In the spring I was urging countries to do this. Still, I have a nagging worry about Norway doing it now at the beginning of fall, just in time for virus season. 

Norway has the lowest per capita deaths in Europe, just 850 or 155 per million people. As such, it gives the lockdown lobby a great comparison with the non-lockdown European country with the highest deaths (Sweden, with almost 10 times as many per capita deaths as Norway). Norway's lockdown was very light – the government never issued stay at home orders; they closed gyms and hair salons, but not restaurants or other 'non-essential' businesses – and lasted for only three weeks; for the most part, since then, its "lockdown stringency" has been less than in Sweden. Still, that three-week lockdown was enough for the lobby to claim that lockdowns are what kept Norway's death toll low, without actually testing that or any competing hypothesis. 

An obvious alternative hypothesis is that Norway just has not really been hit by the virus so far. The country is isolated on the northern edge of Europe, cut off much like an island with its one passable land border (to Sweden) closed for much of the pandemic. The government took advantage of the country's geography, by restricting air travel and quarantining newcomers, to keep earlier waves low enough to eliminate through contact tracing and quarantine. That is a strategy that has worked around the world, from Iceland to Taiwan, to keep deaths down in a country. By itself it does nothing to solve a nation's Covid problem; however, it does provide a window in which something else (like vaccination) could do so. 

It takes a while for a virus to move through a continent, and it has taken Sars-Cov-2 time to move through Europe. It hit western Europe in March, moved into central Europe in the fall, and burned through the Balkans and Baltic States in the late winter. I expect that this winter, it will hit the few remaining European states that have so far avoided it, including Nordic Europe. Vaccination rates in the Nordic countries are as high as in Canada, and I hope that is enough to keep deaths down dramatically. Even with that, though, I expect Norway to suffer most of its Covid deaths this coming virus season. All of which will be blamed on the loosening of restrictions, and used to argue erroneously that those restrictions do in fact save lives.   

2 comments:

  1. If you haven’t watched this from beginning to end, then you are missing a big piece of the puzzle as to how to end this “pandemic”. https://m.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=871272056853663&_rdr

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  2. If death numbers go up, I believe it will be the vaccinated because there immune system’s have been compromised according to many doctors and scientists around the world who are trying to have this discussion but are censored heavily.

    ReplyDelete