Coronavirus Growth in Western Countries: December 16 Update

Italy’s mortality rate is rising again. France and Britain have stopped declining and are now plateauing. Sweden and Germany are trending upward nearly vertically. Canada and Mexico are steadily rising. And the US recorded 3,656 deaths on Wednesday.

On a related subject, here’s a chart comparing the COVID-19 mortality rate in the Nordic countries to a few large European countries:

Whenever I read about the “Swedish experiment,” Sweden is compared to the other Nordic countries. But is that right? Or should it be compared to other European countries in general? After all, “Nordic countries” is just an arbitrary grouping, and it’s not as if there’s something about their geography that’s much different from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. On the other hand, Sweden is culturally similar to Denmark and Norway and has similar social services. So I’m not sure what the right comparison is.

In any case, what we see here is that Sweden was in sync with the rest of the Nordic countries until the first week of November. Then, for some reason, both Sweden and Germany took off. This is despite the fact that Sweden has famously lax shutdown rules while Germany has famously strict shutdown rules. Meanwhile, Denmark, Norway, and Finland have remained pretty low for now—although Denmark’s case rate started skyrocketing a couple of weeks ago.

All this is to say that whenever I think we’ve finally figured out if the Swedish model is “working,” it turns out that maybe we haven’t figured it out after all. Maybe Sweden will suddenly turn down next week. Maybe the rest of Scandinavia will start skyrocketing in a few weeks. Who knows? This is why even though Sweden looks horrible right now, I still think we should withhold judgment until spring.

And if the other Nordic countries stay low? Then we should all be asking what they did right. Germany gets all the attention for its disciplined approach to the pandemic, but right now they look like slackers compared to Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Even Canada doesn’t come close. What’s their secret?

Here’s the coronavirus death toll through December 16. The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate