When Behavior Matters

We live in a country that reveres freedoms so when someone tells us what we should be doing, we naturally tend to ignore advice even when the evidence is overwhelmingly clear: exercise, eat wisely and moderately, get a good night’s sleep, etc.

I posted on my Facebook page years ago that I renamed my dog Five Miles so I could claim to walk five miles every morning.

Seriously though, this COVID situation has brought behavior clearly into stark focus.  Bad behaviors have tragic consequences.  I am sure many of you can recount family or friend situations about weddings and other large gatherings where the irresponsible behavior of just one person who “had to come and had symptoms” did so and impacted many others.

I track this each week for a bunch of my friends and associates and have watched how the attitudes toward public health warnings seem to be about as polarized as the most recent election … perhaps even worse.  You can see how some will be strident in their defiance of these warnings.  Some of my friends are in the medical professions and send me journal articles claiming there is no difference in results based upon the recommended behaviors.  When you dig deeper though you can see the experiment itself was set up to get that answer.  They did not want the truth to come out.

Perhaps there is something then to be learned by watching free countries who have done better than others in their response.  I have been tracking Sweden vs. Norway but most recently added Finland to my comparison and you can really see that good behavior matters.  Here are the relative statistics for the recent increases in these three countries:

Pop Mil Cases/Day
Finland 5.54 300
Norway 5.42 600
Sweden 10.1 6,000

Go online and you will see that the policies of Norway and Finland are about the same and the size of the countries is also about the same.  But the results are starkly different.  If you google that, you will find countless references to a simple fact: Finlanders listen to authorities and do what they are told.  They don’t have to … they just do what is right.

Behavior matters and we need to stress this in our remaining time before the widespread administration of the vaccines.

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