Discover more from Die Fackel 2.0
Covid in the North: Lessons from Norway, as the Government’s Koronakommission Actually Wrote Them
Mistakes incl. blaming immigrants, some people refused to submit to gov't agit-prop, and my favourite: obedience was high enough not to warrant coercion--friendly fascism, Nordic style
This is a follow-up post to the one from last week in which we discussed the shameful way legacy media reported on the government’s most recent ‘lessons learned’. Today, we’re going to look at some of the main features of the Corona Commission’s work in order to better understand what was going on in Norway.
By way of an introduction, as I reported to you last week, legacy media merely identified one—admittedly important—aspect of the government’s pandemic response:
ICU Capacity at Norwegian Hospitals Must be Strengthened, and the Enterprise Model Scrapped: The Corona Commission’s recent report illustrates that the funding model for hospitals does not work.
What Legacy Media Didn’t Emphasise (pp. 11-12, my emphases)
As per Bergens Tidende from last week (see my post from 30 April for citations), this is what legacy media wants you to look at—so, here’s what else is in that report that legacy media didn’t cover.
Overall, the country’s population and Norwegian authorities have handled the pandemic well: Norway is among the European countries that have had the lowest mortality, lowest mandate burden, and the least reduction in economic activity.
A number of individuals have made efforts far beyond the call of duty. In health care alone, state administration, the municipalities and a number of industries it has exhibited impressive adaptability and flexibility.
After these first two bullet points, you’d perhaps expect the report to continue—but it doesn’t:
The authorities were not adequately prepared to be able to meet and deal with a pandemic of a such seriousness and scope as the [Covid-19 Pandemic].
The pandemic caused great strain at times in some of the country’s ICUs, whose emergency preparedness in hospitals was too poor when the pandemic hit Norway.
GP [fastlege] coverage was similarly not well-enough equipped to deal with the pandemic, and local family doctors experienced a very demanding work situation.
The government has exercised strong central control of the management of the pandemic. It has taken decisions in important matters as well as small and limited cases.
This is from last week’s post, which you knew about already, but keep in mind that these aspects almost verbatim contradict the first two things mentioned. From there on, the listing gets worse and worse:
Through creativity and action, municipalities were very skillful at obtaining vaccines and rendering them available to the population. However, these processes showed that the procedures for obtaining these vaccines were not good enough. Norway was dependent on goodwill and assistance from the EU and other countries in Europe.
Talk about the ‘charity’ of strangers, eh? This is one of the weirder parts of this entire mess: why on earth would Norway do so? Not having lived in Scandinavia a very long time, my gut feelings point towards a kind of inferiority complex quite common in ‘small’ countries: they (we) try to outdo our perceived betters in being, well, patiently waiting in line while pretending to be able to do things better, ‘even though’ we’re smaller. It’s hilariously stupid, in particular because it omits differences of scale, as well as a host of other confounding variables.
Let’s move on to self-criticism of emergency management measures, shall we?
The vaccination campaign was successful and resulted in a high vaccination coverage. However, by prioritising deployment of vaccines in areas with high infection pressure, government could have, to a greater extent than which was accomplished, reached its own aims to safeguard health and reduce disruption looks in society.
To limit import infections [importsmitte, what a lovely term for ‘lousy foreigners’, eh?] when entering from abroad, authorities introduced intrusive measures for individual travellers. The measures were characterised by urgency and constant adjustments. This was demanding for both those who designed and implemented said measures, as well as those who were forced to comply with them [if I weren’t out of crocodile tears, I’d be swimming in salt water now: poor Costapo enforcers, please shed some tears in solidarity with them].
The authorities’ communication about infection control measures and vaccination have been well-executed, and it has reached the majority of the population. This communication has helped to create trust. The authorities’ same information, however, reached immigrant populations only to lower, varying degrees [gee, I wonder as to why recent immigrants from, say, Eastern Europe, the Horn of Africa, and Syria, to cite a few examples, may be wary of such ‘free lunches’, but I just can’t think of any reason as to why that might be…].
Celebrating equity in public policy, the committee then writes the following:
Everyone—municipal doctors, municipalities, local police, and other stakeholders who were to handle infection control measures locally—received information on new rules and regulations at the same time as the rest either during press conferences or via official websites. This contributed to render the work situation very demanding for those who had to deal with infection control locally.
So, no advance knowledge for anyone actually worked better than, say, emergency planning. Keep that thought in mind as you re-read the above statement about pre-pandemic deficiencies in emergency planning and training.
In other news, perhaps such an approach—invariably to be called ‘the Nordic model (of flying blind)’—may be quite good way of dispelling ‘hesitancy’ and fostering a sense of ‘shared destiny’. Perhaps, by eliminating the shady crooks and charlatans of the profession—the Bill Gateses and Tony Faucis of the world—we might get better results than otherwise?
Still, while planning and preparedness weren’t Norway’s strong suit—which is equally unsurprising given that decades of ‘neoliberal reforms’ (New Public Management, or NPM) have eroded spending on these matters—and while ‘government has exercised strong central control of…decisions in important matters as well as small and limited cases’, they must not be indicted for gross negligence, manslaughter, or incompetence, eh?
So, if you at this point wonder who the scapegoat might be, well…
The immigrant population in Norway was over- presented among the infected and seriously ill and underrepresented among those vaccinated. The authorities were not adequately prepared to deal with the financial, practical, and social barriers to testing, isolation, and vaccination that were found among many with immigrant backgrounds. It took a long time to implement targeted measures against [mot] this part of the population.
I’ve added the dual emphases—‘against’ (mot)—as this is the word actually used. The government ‘implemented targeted measures against’ certain parts of the population. If you find yourself thinking: well, it was for a good cause and worth it, as it’s only, you know, a small price to pay, then I don’t know what else I could say to you, other than perhaps
Almost like an afterthought, let’s not forget neither the socio-economic consequences nor the children, shall we?
The pandemic has intensified social and economic inequalities in the population.
The infection control measures have affected children and young people hard. Authorities were unable to shield children and young people in line with their own aims.
So, now you may judge for yourself as to how far legacy media reporting was ‘off the mark’.
Let’s move on to what was learned.
Lessons Learned (pp. 12-13, my emphases)
There are several factors that may explain why the authorities’ handling of the Covid Pandemic was successful in some areas and was inadequate in others. From a lessons learned perspective, we believe it is important to highlight their underlying causes.
We will first highlight some structural, economic and cultural aspects of Norwegian society as important reasons why the population and the Norwegian authorities have largely handled the pandemic well.
First, the population has a high level of trust in each other and in authorities. We believe that this high level of trust has in particular contributed to popular support for infection control measures, and to the high levels of vaccine uptake.
Secondly, the social cohesion in Norway has been a strength in the face of the pandemic. Norway is a country with a solid and well-regulated national economy with a similarly strong welfare state and a highly integrated workforce. This was an advantage for the successful implementation of the infection control measures. Authorities have, e.g., had the opportunity to put in place compensatory measures for many of the disadvantages that the pandemic wrought.
Third, Norway’s well-developed health and care services and a public sector with consistently high competence have provided a better starting point for dealing with the pandemic in Norway than in many other countries.
So, there you have it: obedient sheeple—perhaps the most curious of these factors is social cohesion in spite of high (20+ %) levels of immigrants (myself included)—in a rich country that can afford generous compensation packages (thank you, dead dinosaurs, I suppose). As to the third issue, well, I’m at a loss as to what to say about that…bottom line: it’s good to be filthy rich by comparison, eh?
In addition to these special features of Norwegian society, our investigation shows that the authorities’ handling of the pandemic has been of great importance. The government has been visible and active, and the authorities have made most people follow infection control measures while maintaining the population’s trust through the pandemic. Where the handling was successful, we believe it can primarily be explained as follows:
Best results were often achieved when authorities used established work processes. [why, again, should be practice more pandemic preparedness?]
Cooperation, flexibility, adaptability, and drive were crucial to achieve good results. [Wow, this is Business Admin 101]
Where communication to the population was targeted, direct, open, and honest, it led to desired behavioural changes and that trust was maintained.
Sorry to interrupt this BS machine here, but that last paragraph is—inadvertently?—telling: someone (the gov’t) ‘desired behavioural changes’, and since this could be accomplished by ‘targeted, open, and honest’ (ahem) communication, no more intrusively coercive measures were required. Also, don’t overthink the fact that these people are telling the sheeple what they actually set out to do, and that they would have resorted to force, if the population didn’t comply.
Although Norwegian society proved to be well-equipped and highly adaptable in the face of the pandemic, and although the handling had many strengths, the investigation has shown that the authorities were not well enough prepared when the extensive Covid-19 pandemic hit Norway. The Commission believes that the authorities’ lack of preparation had one underlying reason:
The authorities did not succeed in reducing the vulnerabilities of a risk that had been identified.
The fact that the authorities were not well enough prepared when the pandemic hit Norway became apparent in several ways: authorities had not prepared contingency plans for a pandemic that dragged on. No pandemic exercises had been carried out, nor had any contingency system been established that assessed the sum of the consequences for society as a whole. There was a lack of emergency stockpiles of infection control equipment and medicines, and intensive care preparedness in hospitals was poor, too.
This lack of preparation exacerbated the challenges of dealing with the pandemic as it dragged on. In addition, we believe we have identified several other weaknesses in the authorities’ handling. Insight into the root causes of the weaknesses can provide important lessons for future crisis management. Several of the weaknesses are partly overlapping and have reinforced each other. The Commission believes that the reasons for the authorities’ inadequate handling of the pandemic can primarily be explained as follows:
Finally, we’ll get to the meaty parts, eh?
Too many issues were brought to the government’s attention. In addition, too many cases were prepared and processed under an unnecessarily high time pressure.
The government did not pay sufficient attention to how the pandemic could develop over time, and how further developments should be handled. This particularly applied to measures to limit infection when entering from abroad.
The government did not make full use of the established crisis management system. The government’s foundation for deciding on infection control measures was in many cases deficient. Consequences and connections were not sufficiently explained or understood.
Municipal doctors, police at the border, school directors, and others among those who were to implement and follow-up the infection control measures, received imprecise information and too little time for preparation.
Authorities have shown the ability to learn along the way, but it has often taken too long.
The authorities’ communication did not reach the entire population.
Briefly—this may be summed up as: micro-management by the central gov’t whose members didn’t know what they are doing. How re-assuring is this? I mean, equitable access to information is ‘fair’, but it screws up implementation, which then requires more centralised decision-making. It’s the escalation spiral, or dynamic, of lunacy, I’d argue. Also, please re-read the last point: government is unhappy as its agit-prop clearly failed among a noticeable segment of the population.
The government exercised strong central control to ensure a comprehensive national handling of the pandemic. We believe it is a strength that the government became involved and showed decisiveness. At the same time, it led to the government conducting micro-management and being involved in the ongoing situational handling of the crisis, in particular during periods where, in our view, this should have been left to others.
Strong control from the government and the high pace were in some situations necessary and appropriate. At the same time, it presented clear challenges and had unfortunate consequences. We believe that several of the weaknesses in the handling could have been limited, or avoided altogether, if only important and essential decisions for further handling had been made at the governmental level, and if the authorities had to a greater extent managed to distinguish between cases that were really urgent, and cases where they could have taken a little more time.
The weaknesses we point out are largely about managing and organising a crisis, and the lack of preparation. At the same time, dealing with the pandemic showed how individuals can make a big difference. Based on our main findings and learning points, we make several general recommendations. These are in Chapter 12. In addition, we have a number of findings and recommendations in Chapters 4-11. In our opinion, the measures we recommend will make the authorities better able to meet future national and cross-sectoral crises.
This is it for today’s posting, please follow-up on this with me tomorrow as we’ll explore the ‘conclusions’ and ‘suggestions’ sections of the report to see what the powers-that-be have learned from this entire mess.
I won’t hold my breath as to what will happen next.
Already, the WHO is telling everyone what it aims to do: ‘One Health’, presented as long ago as back in 2017, envisions ‘an approach to designing and implementing programmes, policies, legislation and research in which multiple sectors communicate and work together to achieve better public health outcomes’.
As a kind of ‘homework’, please read up on what ‘One Health’ means over at the Ministry of Divine Truth, formerly known as Wikipedia.
From their ‘History’ section:
More tomorrow, until then: let me know what you think in the comments below!