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2020 is not a record year regarding mortality in Sweden according to Statistics Sweden

2020 is not a record year regarding mortality in Sweden according to Statistics Sweden

“If the population is taken into account, 1.1 percent of Sweden’s population died in 1993, compared with ‘only’ 0.9 percent last year, despite the pandemic… but not even in absolute numbers, 2020 is a record year.”

According to the Swedish Public Health Agency, it is estimated internationally that 0.5–1 per cent of those infected with covid-19 die. There is a clear link between increased mortality and old age. The risk of more severe symptoms is greater if you have other diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. (1) In a study on mortality due to covid-19 in Stockholm County, the Swedish Public Health Agency found that mortality was on average 0.6 percent. Among 70-year-olds and older, the figure was 4.3 percent and among those younger than 70 years, the mortality rate was 0.1 percent. (2)

In the spring of 2020, an increase in deaths was seen with covid. In week 15, the highest death toll in Sweden was measured since the turn of the millennium, as 2,505 people died. Weeks 14 and 16 are in third and fourth place respectively. With a total of 10,458 deaths, April 2020 was the highest since the 1990s. We have to go to December 1993, when the flu was unusually tough and 11,057 died to find a higher figure. In the summer of 2020, mortality fell, but in the winter, excess mortality was seen again.

What will then be the total analysis in 2020 regarding the number of deaths in Sweden?

According to Statistics Sweden, 97,164 Swedes died in 2020. Between 2015 and 19, an average of 90,962 people died each year. In other words, 6,202 more Swedes died in 2020 compared with a normal year. The figures may sound dramatic, but in the Public Health Agency’s statistics, everyone who is diagnosed with covid and dies ends up up to 30 days after the diagnosis. In the register, there are thus deaths included of covids infected who also died in, for example, car accidents.

Even in cases where someone has died in hospital or in a nursing home, it can be difficult to say in which cases the virus has been the direct cause or in which cases the disease was only a contributing cause. The number of possible sources of error is namely many. Researchers therefore look at mortality, that is, how much mortality stands out a year compared to an average in previous years, to determine how severe a pandemic affects the population of a country.

Linus Garp, population statistician at Statistics Sweden, points out that the figure for how many died last year is still preliminary and will probably be increased by 300-700 people due to delays in registration. the number registered up to 31 January 2020 in the Public Health Agency’s statistics. These around 3,000 people thus consist of people who, statistically speaking, had still died last year, but for reasons other than covid-19.

In 1993, however, 97,008 people in Sweden. That is almost as many as in 2020, but Garp believes that it can be very difficult to make historical comparisons because both the population and its composition are constantly changing. “There are those who think that we should not even compare with the death toll over the last five years, because the population has increased,” he says. “That’s true, but since it has changed the most due to immigration, the really old group, that is, those most affected by the pandemic, have not changed as much.” (3)

Because if the population is taken into account, 1.1 percent of Sweden’s population died in 1993, compared with “only” 0.9 percent last year, despite the pandemic. “We have a much lower base mortality rate now than we had just a few years ago,” explains Garp. “A much smaller proportion of the population is now dying compared to before. You only need to go 20 years back in time for there to be a difference. We are expected to live longer today. ”(4)

But not even in absolute numbers, 2020 is a record year in this context. The record year since the measurements began in 1749 is 1773 when 105,139 Swedes died or the equivalent of 5.3 percent of the population. The cause was malformation in combination with a dysentery epidemic. Then comes 1918 with 104,591 deaths (Spanish flu) followed by 1857 when 101,491 people died.

Michael Delavante 2020 is not a record year regarding mortality in Sweden according to Statistics Sweden

Sources:

(1) About the virus and the disease, folkhalsomyndigheten.se, 2021-01-20. https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/smittskydd-beredskap/utbrott/aktuella-utbrott/covid-19/om-sjukdomen-och-smittspridning/om-viruset-och-sjukdomen/

(2) Estimation of the lethality for covid-19 in Stockholm County, Public Health Agency, 2020-06-16. https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/publicerat-material/publikationsarkiv/s/skattning-av-letaliteten-for-covid-19-i-stockholms-lan/

(3) The excess mortality rate in 2020 indicates lower death rates in covid-19, dagsmedicin.se, JohanNilsson / TT, 13 January 2021. See also: The figures: 30 percent had died in any case, Expressen, 13 Jan 2021.

(4) The excess mortality rate in 2020 indicates lower death rates in covid-19, dagsmedicin.se, Johan Nilsson / TT, 13 January 2021. See also: The figures: 30 percent had died in any case, Expressen, 13 Jan 2021.

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