Those who want to rush opening our economy are touting Sweden as an example that all will be well, claiming their current death rate of 22 per 100,000 is not much greater than our 17.5. Mark Twain’s famous statement that there are lies, damned lies and statistics applies in this instance.

First, the U.S. death rate is skewed by NYC, were high population density in our major port contributed to rampant spread – Manhattan’s population density is about 67,000 per square mile. Compare that to Stockholm’s population density of 13,000 and Miami’s 12,000 per square mile.

Sweden’s population of 10,300,000 is less than metropolitan NYC and less than half the population of Florida. Florida’s overall population density per square mile is 353 v. Sweden’s 64. Florida’s death rate is now at 5.2/100,000.

That is, Sweden has four times Florida's COVID-19 death rate despite its lower population density. Even hard-hit Miami-Dade has only 12/100,000. Stockholm, with a population of less than 1 million and half of Sweden’s deaths, has a COVID death rate nearing 100/100,000. High-density NYC’s death rate is about 154/100,000.

Even more chilling for Florida is this: 90% of the COVID deaths in Sweden are over 70 years old. Given our high percentage of elderly permanent residents and snowbirds, keep that statistic in mind as Florida “opens for business”.

Remember: these are deaths to date; the numbers are increasing every day. In less than 2 months and under lockdown, the number of COVID deaths in America has surpassed flu deaths in a full, bad year.

We need to follow New York State advice: everyone needs to wear a mask in public spaces where 6 feet social distance cannot be maintained …and continue to sanitize.

P.D. Cummings, St. Augustine