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[00:00:08]

Hello and welcome to The Stand with Amy Dumphy.

[00:00:11]

The stand is proudly supported by Tesco at Tesco, our exclusive house for over 65 family carers and extremely medically vulnerable customers are every weekday, Monday to Friday, up to nine a.m.. Health care and emergency services have priority access at all other times now more than ever. Every little helps now. The covid-19 pandemic, which is afflicting everyone in this world, has thrown up many interesting facts. And there is also among people in almost every country, divisions between largely those who believe it's possible to eliminate the virus, as has been done virtually in New Zealand, in Taiwan and South Korea, in Vietnam and others who believe we have to find a way to, quote, live with this virus.

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It's a debate that's active in this country right across Europe, where more and more every day we see now bad news from France, from Spain and of new surges are new spikes in infection. The one country that most people who believe we can live with this virus point to is Sweden. And we're very lucky that Philip O'Conor an outstanding journalist who is living and working in Sweden for a very long time now, is able to join us on the Stanfill. Were very grateful to you for joining us.

[00:01:53]

It is fair to say that the Sweden is an outlier. It has done things its own way. The state epidemiologist, Anders Technol, is a very interesting, independent minded man and very accessible to you and other journalists. How is Sweden doing now? Is this may or may not be the time for an assessment? But what makes it particularly relevant in Ireland is the belief, for example, that the Swedish economy has not taken the kind of hit that others have because they have been more sensible and not panicked as people accuse us of doing.

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Yeah, I think there's a lot to unpack there. And so at the moment, I think that, you know, it's again, it's technical. It's very early to tell. Right. But certain things have worked very, very well and certain things happened. The first thing that we have to say, as always, when we bring up this subject is that the efforts to protect the elderly here have been an absolute catastrophic failure. But, you know, aside from that and I don't mean to be glib in saying aside from that, because, you know, there's an awful lot of people with their parents or grandparents who have passed on due to this disease.

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But when you look at that, strong a sense of stoicism. When you look at those cool heads, people not willing to pull the trigger on Lockdown's, it seems to be giving some sort of a positive effect. Now, the economy is still very badly hit because we live in a globalized world. And so if you're dealing with, you know, Big Brown, say if you own a media brand here in Sweden, you're expecting the big soft drinks companies, the gambling companies, the travel agents, everybody else that you're dependent on for advertising, they're all taking a hit.

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So it's very, very difficult for those businesses to survive. What's said. I mean, obviously, tourism as well, because even though the country wasn't locked down, the advice was the beginning not to travel more than two hours from your home and again to try to avoid socializing. So even though restaurants and bars were open, the trade was down a good bit, was down maybe 70, 80 percent on what it might have been at other times.

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But it seems to be and I say this very, very carefully now, because the schools reopened again last week, what some sense of normality is starting to return here. So usually around about midsummer, which is the third Friday, the Swedes celebrated on the Friday in June of the year, that's when the country closes down and people head out to the countryside and the cities are empty. And then last week, as the week when the kids go back to school and naturally everybody goes back to work, then because they're back in town, as you may well be in work, if you're waiting on the kids, you don't feel at home on their own.

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And it seems to me from traveling around the streets of Stockholm and going out to shopping centers and just doing the normal things that I do, there's two things that stick out. One is the traffic is back to probably where it was not necessarily pre covid, but quite close to there, are there or thereabouts kind of thing. And the other is that very few people are wearing masks. So the idea that, you know, there's no paranoia anymore, there's no great foreboding sense of fear, this seems to me at the moment to be a country that believes that it has this disease under control.

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Yes.

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Let's I want to go back to the schools for obvious reasons, because next week we're hoping and the British are also having difficulties there. But they're hoping and we are hoping that. Soon to open our schools will in the next fortnight, certainly in Sweden, and the schools didn't close for people under 16, am I correct in that? That's correct.

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So what was the effect of that, Philip, in terms of infections and the transmission of infections to teachers, for example, or indeed students transferring their children, really transferring them to their parents or grandparents?

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There was a fascinating study, actually, John Aimer, between Sweden and Finland. So the two public health authorities there got together under. The great thing about it was it was like a real scientific experiment. Now, it has been peer reviewed that what the Finns closed down their schools for a period of a few weeks and the Swedes didn't. And they said, let's compare the outcomes here. And they did. And there was absolutely no difference whatsoever. So in terms of the number of teachers who are catching the disease, the number of children who are catching the disease, there was no discernible difference whatsoever between the two countries.

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And one of the interesting things now, because one of the things that comes up is Sweden's economy, as you mentioned in your introduction there. And people said, oh, you know what, Sweden's economy hasn't stopped. Sweden's economy has suffered, as they explained to you previously. But one of the things that you when you see it was a predecessor to undertake now said to me, if we closed the schools, then we push parents into child care.

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And if we have painted child care, then they are not being productive members of society. They're not able to go to their jobs right now. He was specifically talking today about health care people, people on the front lines, ambulance workers, cleaners, porters and hospitals, that kind of thing. And he told me that the health care service couldn't afford to lose people like that. So closing the schools from an epidemiological point of view or from a mitigation strategy point of view, it doesn't seem to make a huge difference.

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And I think the very important one for teachers in particular, because this is a workplace safety issue for teachers, that the Swedish and Finnish experience shows that they weren't any more liable to catch the disease. Now, again, the serious difficulty is in this whole idea of asymptomatic transmission. In the beginning, you said you told me that that was just nonsense of just children who didn't express symptoms, weren't capable of passing on the disease. We don't know that.

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That's that was just his opinion at the time. I think it still is. And there's still much more work to be done on that, because if it does turn out that they are Superstruct, well, that would change the whole idea of that with the two things that seem to be coming up most. Now, when I've been looking at most of what's been written and said in Sweden over the last little while is what they're looking at is the number of people living in your residence and what you live in an urban or rural area.

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So, yes, urban areas are being hardest hit and people who live, you know, five, six, seven people, there may be an elderly grandparent there. They're the people who are who are being hit hardest by this disease. But if you one or two adults living together, maybe no children, they're not getting hit hard at all.

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Now, the Swedish economy is forecast to shrink by about five percent this year.

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And it's argued that that's less than other countries such as Italy, Spain, U.K., but it's similar to the rest of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Norway, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland. And so what's the assessment of that? I mean, unemployment, for example, in Sweden, it's nine percent at the moment. It's the highest of the Nordic and nations. And it was seven point one percent in March. It's nine percent. Now, can we extrapolate anything from those figures?

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I think it's very difficult, David, because, you know, it was a very much a seismic shock what happened back in the springtime. And all of a sudden you had a situation where 90 percent of the cabin staff that the airline SAS employed were just made redundant. They were just let go. That was that they wouldn't be able to come to work anymore. They were officially unemployed. So, again, one of the things in this country is that, you know, Sweden is very strict in how a collection of statistics, it would rather have too much information that too little.

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So there's none of this idea of, you know, they try not to hide people on, you know, jobs, jobs, schemes. They're trying to be very honest about what the situation is. The nine percent figure doesn't actually surprise me because it was such a great upheaval. So there was a man, Martin Heshan was an Irish man who owns a bar here. And he had, I think, 10 or 11 staff in his bar. And by the end of the first week of the pandemic, he was down to himself and the girl working part time.

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So that's the kind of thing that's happened in certain industries such as tourism, hospitality, at travel industries. The events business is absolutely on its knees. So obviously you can't have conferences. The still the guidelines here are 50 people. You can't be have more than 50 people here. The football stadiums are still completely empty. So anybody who would have had casual labour in the friends arena where of these individuals caught so many great goals, all those people are out of work.

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So this is the difficult part of it. But what's really important here is to look at the bounceback. The Swedes have experience of doing this before there were neutral during the Second World War and they had all their industry intact and they had the timber needed to be. And they were the cornerstones of building the that, you know, the recovery of Europe and the Swedens sort of model of social democracy. And again, I think looking at it economically or financially this time around, there were saying, OK, we retain capacity here.

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We may have sent everybody home. What the machines are still there don't need to be switched on. The skilled people are sort of on the shelf at the moment. I actually went and watched some of the staff, the staff from SARS were being retrained as frontline health care workers. Now, there won't be nurses overnight. But as you know, people who work on airplanes that are very good at recognizing the symptoms of heart attacks and have other illnesses, diabetic shock, this kind of thing.

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So they have actually quite good first aid education that they were able to step into the frontline and then relieve other people. Now, obviously, all of them can't do it, but that was one of the ways that they tried to mitigate, you know, this sort of economic shock that happened at the time. And what's happening now is that there's sort of a little bit better prepared because they never really closed down neither the society nor the economy completely.

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Yeah, one of the things that distinguishes Sweden from everywhere else is in bars and restaurants. It was table service only, correct?

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Yeah. Yeah. As far as I know, it still is. Yeah.

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Yes. The other thing that's interesting is that one of Anders techno's predecessors, Annika Lind, he did his job for eight years between 2005 2013. He recently told the Sweden's biggest newspaper that he believed the tougher restrictions at the start of the pandemic pandemic could have saved lives. So there isn't exactly a unanimity or consensus among clinicians and scientists.

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There certainly isn't. And one of the criticisms that's coming out of technical and the mitigation strategy now is exactly that. Right? Because basically what you're looking at is sacrifices were made and people weren't informed really about what was happening. So there were instances that I heard of that I haven't been able to confirm yet. I'm trying to look into these things where basically older people I'm talking about people, you know, maybe 85, 90 years of age and upwards, that when they started displaying the symptoms of covid-19 that rather than maybe put onto a ventilator, onto medical care, that they were moved into palliative care, which is basically, you know, you're waiting to die.

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And with that, with, you know, without the relatives being informed, without the patient being informed and, you know, that without consent would be a huge, huge issue if we can manage to get that confirmed at all. What that said, I don't think technophiles strategy was ever and this is one of those things to talk about very, very quietly in Sweden. The strategy here was never to save everyone. So if your goal is to save everyone, you have to do what South Korea did.

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You have to do what New Zealand did. You have to close the borders, have to close the country down. Nobody gets out of the house. And you have to wait until you find out you find either a vaccine or herd immunity or whatever happens to be.

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That was never the strategy and that the economy, of course, as well. Exactly. A side effect that is wrecking the economy. But the thing for technol was always that it had to be long term. So he recognised very, very early that this wasn't a flash in the pan. This wasn't something that was going to be over in a month, in three months, a year or two years or so. And again, this came as no surprise to him.

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And this is what we tend to forget, that when a pandemic breaks out, that we it's new to all of us, but it's not new to him. Since he took over from from the end in 2013, he has literally sat every day. And this is his rodeo. This is what he's been preparing for all that time. And he's worked through all of these scenarios so that in a very short space of time, when this started to rear its ugly head back in November, that more information in December and then January and February when it really starts to come to Europe, he's been waiting for this to happen.

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And he made the conscious choice that this is what we're going to do. We're going to ask people to wash their hands, stay at home. If any symptoms work from home, they can. And we're going to try to protect the elderly. So to him, it was never about numbers. It was never about your grandmother or your grandfather, your aunt, your uncle, because he couldn't guarantee that. What he can guarantee is that the Swedish people are going to maintain this sort of, you know, semi obedient or quasi obedient set of regulations, this sort of self policing take for a much longer time than we've seen in other jurisdictions, not least in Ireland, where we saw what's happened with Gulf States.

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We've seen what happened at the bar in Dame Street in Dublin, where people are just getting sick of this. Business owners are getting sick of it, don't get sick of it. Politicians are probably sick of it. And people are starting to think now, you know, when is this going to end? So a technical has been very good at managing the expectations of the Swedish population, say, look, I make this as easy as I can on you, but you have to do what I'm asking you to do.

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And it's kind of been borne out now. A terrible, terrible price has been paid. But you have to be in this country. But that's the price it seems that technol is willing to pay.

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Yeah, he says that his modelling indicates that on average, as Swedes have around 30 percent of the social interactions they did. Prior to the pandemic, and it's important, is it not, Philip, to understand Swede's temperament? In other words, they are not as tactile or touchy feely as us. If you go to France, you get a kiss on both cheeks from your friend.

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Yeah. As though they are not by disposition, as it were, as close. And they don't need that sort of tactile thing so much. And that's a help, isn't it, in the present situation? Absolutely.

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And I would have described social distancing as being a synonym for living in Sweden for a very long time. And, you know, that idea of, you know, you don't invade somebody's personal space. You'll often find if you live in an apartment here, there might be three or four apartments on the same floor. And if your neighbor is going at the same time as you do, they'll close the door because they don't want to bump into you. They're not mad about small talk.

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You know, they hate to see somebody else getting into an elevator or sitting down beside them on the bus. But I have to say, the other day on Saturday here now we're talking Monday and Saturday, we had a Gaelic football tournament here in Stockholm and we had visitors from Malmo and Göteborg. We had Irish people coming up there. And it was only then that I realized how much I missed our contact with other people. Now, we still had the regulations.

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We were actually playing on an artificial rugby pitch and we had to keep it to only 50 people inside the fence, only 50 people in the area outside and sort of sluicing people in and out at hand sanitizer and everything else like that. So we didn't you know, we obeyed. All the laws are there because we've all become sort of Swedish fired and all the time. There's a lot of Irish people up in here, no matter if they're here for three months or 30 years or 21 years, like myself, we all sort of adopted this by osmosis.

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And when people are willing to do that and there was a rugby game being played on the next field and a little bit later on and they taped off the stands and nobody would sit there. So people spaced out along the sideline and this kind of thing. And again, they kept it. You know, there's people coming up to watch the game because, no, there's 50 people here now. You have to go home. So when you have that level of compliance, when you don't have to battle for that because, you know, in Ireland were greater obeying, you know, occasionally the letter of the law, but not the spirit of it.

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So we'll try to find a way of getting around it. There's always this attitude toward did you know that doesn't apply to me. And certain politicians are feeling the wrath of the people for that at the moment. But in Sweden, people don't do that. And if anybody was seen to be doing that kind of thing, you know, because it's seen as being disloyal, you're being disloyal to society, disloyal to to the group, because it's not about you.

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It's about society, but all the people around you. And, you know, if you start breaking away, if you become the black sheep, you know, the tall poppy syndrome here, that the Taliban is the thing with the blade cause that got its head cut off. What they tried to keep all the poppies the same size.

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Now, all over Europe, as we speak at today's news shows, there are spikes even in Germany. And a lot of it is results from people travelling, more people going on holiday to places perhaps where there's no social distancing. People are in bars, bars are open, restaurants are open, southern Spain, Greece and places like that. Now, is there any spike in Sweden in at the moment or in recent times?

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There's been a very, very small claim in what they call the R.H. the reproductive rate, the. Yes. So that's going up very, very slightly. And I think it's just approaching one at the moment. And I don't have the exact number. But they did flag it yesterday. It's just approaching one at the moment, probably because what people tend to do here, Raymond, is they leave the cities during the summer. So as soon as the weather gets good, they're going to visit, you know, people who live in the country, in that country.

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So that's that's not a good environment for this virus to thrive in. But when they come back, if they happen to bring anything with them, then all of a sudden, you know, they might bring it into the workplace. That might bring it into the soccer team, whatever it happens to be. And that's what this little crawl is. But so the summer is actually a very good time for trying to mitigate a virus in this country because nobody talks to one another.

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They stay away from, you know, you could be in a cabin in the woods and not see anybody for three weeks. You know, the idyllic Swedish summer holiday, as you well know, this year, people did go abroad as much because basically the flight capacity is out the window. That was all just destroyed when the virus really broke out. There was no package holiday. So very, very few people would have gone away. A lot of people would have vacation in Sweden, as I say, towards the ten million people here.

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But the country is absolutely massive. It's really a thousand kilometres from top to bottom. So you can easily go and hide just out there. So this is the thing. And it came out yesterday on the news and there was I take the was said, look, we have to watch out for this. So if this starts to crop up again, because this is also changed how we speak about our society. So if you go back a few months to remember the expression, flattened the curve, right?

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Yes. You don't hear that expression anymore. But we were being told by Leo Fratkin, Simon Harrison with us how important that was. And I'm looking at these Caribs. Here are the two most important ones really where one was the amount of deaths per day, which is now down to single digits and has been since around about the beginning of July here. But the other more important for. Was the number of people going into intensive care for this illness every day, because that's the one that threatens the capacity of the health service and that is down also in single figures since the start of July.

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No, I haven't spoken down to take out last week or so. But, you know, and I'm not going to say you'd be entitled to be smug, but, you know, it's not mission accomplished. But what he said he wanted to happen is actually happening. Aside from the catastrophe in elderly care, the rest of it is pretty much going according to his plan and his modeling. And that was very much laughed at in many circles when he started this journey.

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Yes.

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Well, we've been in a position here where the number of deaths were way down and still remain down.

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What we are experiencing at the moment is the infections are very high, 200, 194 and high 50s, and that most of those infections are the vast majority of them in people under 35. So and we have had instances you referenced the Berlin Bar in Dame Lane and we have had house parties, for example, all over the place. And it's clear that young people here believe and have been led to believe that this is not a serious infection. If you're young, if you have a strong immune system, you're OK.

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That isn't true. Incidentally, there's evidence that people have coronary problems, all kinds of problems, and they're lasting, certainly scarred lungs and all that kind of thing. You don't escape that if you're young. However, the message has not really got across is there is sort of at a demographic difference in Sweden between older people and younger people, or is there a universal kind of cool?

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I think there is a universal there's a sort of a stoic acceptance of what this disease is. And so the people are actually getting sick for the most part are between the ages of 20 and 59. Right. So they would be the lion's share of people who actually get the illness, the lion's share of the people who end up in intensive care are between the ages of 40 and 69. Right. With the people who are dying from the disease are between 70 and 90, 90 plus.

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OK, so that's the way this other demographic plays out, how the disease treats that. But what I will say and that tournament that we had the other day in the Gaelic football, there were Swedes and Irish people who didn't go because they're still afraid of this disease. These are young white people who train twice a week or whatever. And, you know, they run marathons and they do all the things that young people are supposed to do. You'll never drink a beer, but that's a different kettle of fish.

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But they were out doing these things and they said, no, I don't want to be in a large group of people at this moment in time. And I think I mentioned to you before that I was talking to the Icelandic footballer, coalbed Sigfusson, and he plays Alec here in Stockholm. And about three weeks ago, I was talking to him. And it's very unusual for a footballer to talk to you about his health or his fitness in any great detail.

[00:23:13]

And he was saying to me, I don't feel right. I've had this disease and I don't I don't have the energy. I don't feel like. Yes. Of whatever happens to be. And he still hasn't worked that out. And I've got to go and see him again soon to see if he has worked out what it is. Because, as you say, this is so early in this, it's only about six months into this pandemic. We have no idea what the long term effects of this disease are, because so far there have been no long term effects.

[00:23:36]

We've only had a short and a little bit of a medium term. So if you going to take that risk of going out. And one of the other things that's worth mentioning as well is the fact that it's not just people in social situations who are taking risk. We are asking an awful lot of people in work situations to take a risk, and they are often at the lower end. They are often in vulnerable people who are maybe on zero hours contracts.

[00:23:59]

That could be one of the things I discovered was that in the elderly care in Sweden, people were entitled to take two weeks off. They had symptoms, they were told, take two weeks off. What the problem is, they were on zero hours and there were no longer top of the pops for those two weeks were up. So when it came to handing out shifts, their names are at the bottom of the list. So by taking the two weeks off, got paid for those two weeks, but the next month.

[00:24:19]

So therefore they didn't take the two weeks off to begin with. And that's one of those reasons that the state is now looking at the health authority as they were looking at. Did we perpetuate this disease? Did we bring this in to elderly care, both homes and people being cared for in their own homes by not being firm enough about this, by not offering these people the support they needed if they were either exposed to or suffering from the disease.

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And we see that big plants and the other place we see a lot is in public transport. So we don't force people when we ask people to drive buses, we ask people to drive taxis. A taxi is a terrible place to covid-19 very, very tight. You might have somebody in there 15, 20 minutes. That's enough. You know, and as I say, a lot of my neighbours are taxi drivers and they complained of being in that situation.

[00:25:00]

They've even complained of passengers insisting on riding with them in the front seat. And they're getting a bit like the London cabs in. With the prospects between them, so we need to look at all these factors, not just the social situations, but also the other sort of precarious work situations.

[00:25:13]

Now, technol remains unrepentant in terms of the although he admits that the care home deaths were shocking and too high. But he believes, and I'm quoting him, that there is still no strong evidence that a lockdown would have made that much of a difference. Now, that puts him in a say in Irish or British context, really at odds with an awful lot of clinicians and scientists who feel that we could do much better and we can, in fact, eliminate this.

[00:25:55]

Can I ask you about Sweden relative to Finland, Norway and Denmark? Because the death rate, as I read it, is shockingly higher in Sweden than it is in those other countries.

[00:26:09]

Yeah. Now, I don't have the exact death per 100000 population in my head at the moment. And you are correct in saying that it is higher at the moment, right? Well, technically, I think it would be like the old Native American proverb, as he would always say, if you sit long enough by the river, you know, all your enemies will float by.

[00:26:25]

So if the Chinese are the Chinese, yes, I'm waiting by the river every day.

[00:26:32]

Yeah. And then I call you up to. But I'd say that he's waiting for you know, the shakeout is not happening now. This is not game over yet by a long shot. If you look at the poster children of how this was dealt with in the beginning, an awful lot of people held up New Zealand and South Korea as being. This is exactly how you should deal with this. Right. Put both of them have had setbacks. South Korea's the leaders will now be considering local lockdowns in certain urban areas again.

[00:26:57]

And you'd have to think that maybe they've learned something from Stockholm, Sweden, as well, because they talked about local lockdown, no national lockdown here. So he's playing still playing that long game. So he said, OK, come back to me now in a year's time, in two years time, and then look at that statistic, you know, because I do think that he believes probably now more than ever that what he is doing is the correct way to do it.

[00:27:17]

Because I saw him speak and again, yes, he was just I was talking to a reporter yesterday and he was saying this idea that a vaccine we've seen tests of vaccines, Russia has a vaccine and this is an American company is going to charge of three thousand dollars. Right. But as you rightly said, there are very few viruses that we have managed to treat long term the vaccine. He reckons smallpox is probably the only one that you're 100 percent sure of.

[00:27:38]

Now, the other thing is herd immunity, because herd immunity has become the stick of, oh, you know, once you get over 50 percent, well, then, you know, probably everybody is going to become immune to it. It is true that a virus needs, you know, willing vehicles to be able to transfer that itself and transmit itself and to keep itself alive. And, you know, according to all of the theories that are out there, that should happen with this virus as well.

[00:27:58]

There's no guarantees there. But we know so little about it because we thought we might get this virus and I'll have no symptoms and I'll pass it on to yourself or to your son. And it might you don't have a huge effect on your son or have no effect on. Does so little that we know about it, we don't know. But we know a little bit about how biased receptors, what how is it that provokes symptoms of some people and not in others?

[00:28:19]

Does that mean then that they're immune and immune just once? Could they be could they get it six months later? Could they have a different reaction? Could there be some sort of mutation? We don't know all those things. And yet there is take now sitting by the river, just doing a little bit of modelling and seeing which of US enemies vote today.

[00:28:36]

OK, a final question. And it's in the area of the economy, Philip, which is of most concern to many, many people here who are losing their jobs or losing their businesses. A lot of businesses and had to close down will not reopen money. Indeed. And there is this terrifying economic scenario facing us and facing the UK for sure. And the United States. We know what is the case in Sweden.

[00:29:12]

It's man's name and probably the best thing about this pandemic is the fact that you barely see politicians over here talking about these things, they say very, very little. They let technol get on with it, you know, so they're not willing to say anything. They're not going to put pressure on him and say, well, look at the economy. We need to open up tourism again. We need to open up the hospitality industry or the events industry that they let him take the lead.

[00:29:32]

And he goes on the like I say, certain industries are absolutely on their knees. The publishing industry is on its knees because people aren't going to bookshops. And it's one of the few things that they're not buying online. But there are other things that are working out an awful lot better. So DIY stores, the kind of places that sell timber and all I can say, they are out the door because everybody sit in the home and I have a few hours over from their computer.

[00:29:53]

Even so, they're able to put up the decking that they've been promised in the way for years. You know, so certain things are going really well. Certain industries won't be back and publishing houses won't be boxset. Media houses won't be back. Certain events, companies are not going to be back. Travel agencies, one of the major, major thoroughfares, because, of course, this is very much a maritime nation with the traffic between the Baltics and Helsinki and that the oil and islands of this kind of thing, one of those ferry companies is gone and that will most likely never return.

[00:30:17]

So there is a devastation for those people who are stuck by this. There is a devastation about the Arctic is an extremely difficult thing to do at the moment because, of course, you can't perform. There's nothing really happening at theaters. It's only very, very gradually start to go back. Now, people just can't stick around that long. They're going to have to find something else to do. But luckily, the food industry, the supermarket industry, that kind of thing is walking away because people are at home or they're not traveling out, they're not really eating out.

[00:30:43]

So certain industries are starting to pick them up. But it is we're still in the shock phase. These are still the aftershocks of the pandemic and people are starting to find their way back. Well, what they're not doing is are not making epidemiological decisions based on economic factors. They are still following the science as much as possible. And the signs are falling is not economic science, but it's medical science.

[00:31:03]

OK, Philip, are very grateful to you for and for that, as we always are. And now you have a project which I'd like to let our listeners know about. You want to cover the American election, the presidential election on November 3rd by doing 50 podcasts in 50 states in 50 days. It's a marvelous idea.

[00:31:29]

Brilliant idea. And you want your trying to crowdfund that. I think, first of all, if I can give my approval, Philip is a brilliant journalist and therefore I'd like to listen to his podcast from 50 states.

[00:31:47]

And so it's a good project. How the people who might feel inclined to help you with the crowd funding for this, how do they go about it?

[00:31:57]

If they can, they can follow me on social media, because the only thing I'm doing at the moment, as I've said in a tweet after tweet after tweet, trying to get support for David O'Connor at Phillip O'Connor. And the other thing is Kickstarter dot com forward, slash Phillip O'Conor and you'll find all the details there, how it's going to be done, what it's all going to be about. There's actually an episode I most actually mailed to you that I spoke to an NRA gun instructor about America's love affair with guns.

[00:32:20]

It was an interview I did two or three years ago. And that kind, the conversations that I want to have, I don't want to follow the candidates. The New York Times will do that for you, the BBC, CNN. They'll do that. Yeah. I got to talk to ordinary American voters, because that's the voice that I feel we missed out on in twenty sixteen when we all got it so dreadfully wrong.

[00:32:36]

OK, well, we'll send a donation from the stand. And we're very grateful to you, Phillip, for joining us from Stockholm. That's Phillip O'Connor. And if you feel inclined to support him and we are going to support his crowdfunding endeavor now, please do at the address that Philip has given. Thanks to Philip, thanks to you for listening and a big thanks to our sponsors, Tesco. That's all we have time for now. We'll talk to you soon.

[00:33:04]

The stand is proudly supported by Tesco at Tesco, our exclusive ours for over 65 family carers and extremely medically vulnerable customers are every weekday, Monday to Friday, up to nine a.m..

[00:33:19]

Health care and emergency services have priority access at all other times now more than ever. Every little helps.