Category Archives: Broken in the USA

guns & gas

Sweden & their approach to COVID 19

Sweden & their approach to COVID 19

“As societies battened down the hatches and imposed quarantines, one European country appeared to take a different approach. In Sweden, there have been no invasive lockdowns to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Restaurants and even nightclubs are operating, though under guidelines to enforce social distancing. Schools for students under the age of 16 remain open. Large gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 50 people, a far cry from the enforced confinement imposed on entire cities in other parts of Europe.

These seemingly lax measures attracted the attention of lockdown skeptics elsewhere, who hailed the “Swedish model” as an example of how a Western democracy ought to deal with the pandemic. It became a cause celebre among American conservatives, who resent the economic toll exacted by social distancing restrictions. Even for nonconservatives, the Swedish approach is now being invoked as an obvious “alternative” to what prevails. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggested this weekend that President Trump may hope to “follow Sweden” as he seeks to “reopen” the American economy”

And then in November

“The Swedish government announced strict upcoming coronavirus-related restrictions amid rising case numbers, even though the Scandinavian nation didn’t lock down earlier during the pandemic.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced the new restrictions on Monday during a press conference, according to Business Insider. The restrictions include limiting the size of public gatherings and halting fans from attending concerts, performances, and sports matches. Schools, workplaces, and private gatherings are not included in the ban.

In-person gatherings, which were allowed as long as they were less than 50 people, will now be cut to a maximum of eight people.”

“It is a clear and sharp signal to every person in our country as to what applies in the future. Don’t go to the gym. Don’t go to the library. Don’t have dinner out. Don’t have parties — cancel!” Lofven explained. “It’s going to get worse.”

Our Fragile Earth

Our Fragile Earth

Our planet is rather small when compared to the majority of the planets in our solar system and the amount of it that we rely on for human life is less than 1% of the mass. We survive primarily on the top of the earth’s crust and could only survive a few miles under the surface, assuming we could provide enough air to breathe. The crust averages less than 10 miles thick compared to 4,000 miles to the core.

Most of us survive on the surface of the crust and are dependent on the earth’s atmosphere. Humans can only survive in the Troposphere which averages about 7 miles above the surface. At 2 miles functioning for most people is hampered and above four miles most of us will require oxygen.

My point is that the space we depend on for survival is small, very small. I’m not sure we understand how our actions can negatively impact that space and thus the long-term prospect for the survival of humanity.

Life Expectancy and Quality of Life

Life Expectancy and Quality of Life

The health of a country is often judged by life expectancy.  How does the USA compare to comparable countries?

Life expectancy at birth in years, 2017

Japan                                84.2                                                                                                                 Switzerland                    83.6                                                                                                               Australia                         82.6                                                                                                                   France                              82.6                                                                                                                  Sweden                           82.5                                                                                                        Comparable Country Average   82.38                                                                                                            Canada                            82.0                                                                                                  Netherlands                  81.8                                                                                                                 Austria                             81.7                                                                                                                               Belgium                           81.6                                                                                                                                  United Kingdom           81.3                                                                                                                                   Germany                          81.1                                                                                                                                United States                 78.6   (Ranks 37th among all countries and has been declining for the        past five years)

What we do know is that for many people life expectancy is not as important as Quality life expectancy. What good is it to live to be 90 if the last 20 years are life without joy? HALE, or healthy life expectancy is a much better measure. What this means is the number of years we expect to lead a life with full mobility and free of pain without prescription life support. Using this criteria life expectancy in our country is only 66! Why is it so low? There are several; factors. Obesity rates, quality of healthcare (the USA only ranks 37th (same as life expectancy), immune system maintenance among others.