The illusion of control
I've avoided posting about the pandemic for awhile now. Partly this is because I made a few predictions that hadn't panned out, as well as others that sometimes looked to be wrong but hadn't panned out yet. I'll start with a mea culpa on the two big predictions that didn't pan out, although I have devoted some space to these before:
The Nordic Experiment: I already wrote about how I got this one wrong, but I want to add some recent data to really put it to rest. This was always an experiment with a small n and a large number of confounding factors (such as, will Swedes act the way their government tells them or will they still practice extra precautions, will other Nordic countries act similar to the Swedes regardless of national policy, will other policies - such as poor cocooning of nursing homes - swamp the policy effects?). Still, the claim was that Sweden's strategy would drive them toward herd immunity earlier, so they would have a large spike in cases, but then be immune from subsequent outbreaks. This has not happened, and since the expected November resurgence of COVID-19 was the most significant event to prepare for (and therefore the reason to pursue this policy in the first place) I think we can call this strategy ineffective at producing herd immunity.