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Without Lockdowns, Sweden Had Fewer Excess Deaths Than Most of Europe

Plexiglas på äldreboendei Stockholm mot covid-19
Image by Frankie Fouganthin

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Reprinted with permission Mises Institute Ryan McMaken

It’s now been more than eighteen months since governments began the new social experiment now known as “lockdowns.” Prior to 2020, forced “social distancing” was generally considered to be too costly in societal terms to justify such a risky experiment.

Yet in 2020, led by health technocrats at the World Health Organization, nearly all national governments in the world suddenly and without precedent embraced the idea of lockdowns.

On the other hand, the Swedish regime rejected the idea.

For this act of iconoclasm, the Swedish government was pilloried by media organizations and non-Swedish government officials worldwide. The predictions of doom and of a widespread Swedish bloodbath were ubiquitous. Months later, even when it became clear Sweden was not the death-addled outlier many assumed it would be, it was common to see articles declaring Swedish covid policy to be a “disaster.”

Even eighteen months later, as the Sweden-is-doomed narrative broke down even more, critics of Sweden contort themselves to create an anti-Swedish narrative. Consider this August 2021 article at Business Insider, for example, which carefully slices and dices the data to make Sweden’s outcomes look bad. The author slyly writes:

Since the start of the pandemic, roughly 11 out of every 100 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with COVID-19, compared with 9.4 out of every 100 in the UK and 7.4 per 100 in Italy. Sweden has also recorded around 145 COVID-19 deaths for every 100,000 people — around three times more than Denmark, eight times more than Finland, and nearly 10 times more than Norway.

Note the sleight of hand used here. In one sentence, the comparison focuses on diagnoses compared to the UK and Italy. This is surely because actual deaths from covid are fewer per million in Sweden than in either of the UK or Italy. Indeed, the author with this comparison only succeeds in showing us that covid is less fatal in Sweden where there are more cases but fewer deaths. The author then quickly changes the subject to comparisons in deaths so as to make sure Sweden compares unfavorably to Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

These claims are becoming increasingly desperate, since in terms of excess deaths Sweden is better off than most of Europe overall, and also better off than most other northern European countries. (And much better than southern European countries.) Moreover, “excess mortality” is a better measure of deaths in a given country since it provides a broader view of the actual effects of both covid and covid policy

Certainly, one can find some European regimes that had fewer deaths proportionally. Norway, Denmark, and Finland have remarkably low numbers of covid deaths compared to all of Europe.

But this fails to explain why Sweden’s nonbloodbath compares favorably to most EU member states, including France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and others. 

For example, as of late August, excess mortality in Sweden was approximately 785 per million people. In France, the total is 988 per million, and in Spain, it is 1,917 per million. In EU nonmember the United Kingdom, the total is 1,657 per million. 

permill

This trend was already becoming apparent months ago, and in March Reuters reported,

Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively…. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden.

Other data, also according to Reuters, “which included an adjustment to account for differences in both the age structures and seasonal mortality patterns of countries analysed,” Placed Sweden at eighteenth out of twenty-six in terms of mortality. The “highest” ranked—that is, the worst ranked—were Poland, Spain, and Belgium. 

Another way of comparing Sweden to the rest of Europe is to look at excess mortality in 2020 and 2021 compared to “average monthly deaths” from 2016 to 2019.

In the time since February 2020, total deaths (measured as a percentage of the 2016–19 average) were lower in Sweden than in the “EU 27” in fourteen out of eighteen months. 

sweden

Granting that Denmark, Norway, and Finland all compare favorably against Sweden, most other European countries can’t boast of such things.

Compared to France, Sweden’s excess monthly deaths were lower in thirteen out of eighteen months in that period. Comparisons were similar when looking at the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. Indeed, among Europe’s large nations, only Germany fares better than Sweden. 

So, yes, if we insist on cherry-picking exactly three countries to which to compare Sweden—i.e., Finland, Denmark, and Norway—Sweden looks like some kind of outlier. But with most other countries in Europe, plus the UK, Sweden compares well. Moreover, even if Sweden were only “about the same” as other European countries, this would still contradict the prophecies of doom handed down by the public health technocrats. 

None of this “proves” of course that Sweden adopted the ideal response to the spread of disease. But at the very least, the Sweden experience betrays the solemn predictions of so many health “experts” who predicted total disaster for Sweden. Moreover, even if Sweden did have worse outcomes than most of Europe, that would not justify the widespread destruction of human rights necessary to force people into lockdowns, unemployment, and social isolation. The utilitarian approach is a road to untrammeled state power. But even the utilitarian approach doesn’t work for the lockdown advocates who fail even by their own metrics. Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power and Market, but read article guidelines first.

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5 comments

Cam October 6, 2021 at 4:39 am

Prior to The 1996 Communications Act , passed by The Serial Rapist Bill Clinton , only 6 Media of any kind could be owned by One Entity . Now , 95 % of all Media is owned by 6 Globalist Corporations …
It has always been a Plan , A conspiracy … ha..ha.. Conspiracies rule this world , thousands of Corporations have been caught CONSPIRING TO CHEAT THE PEOPLE , yet , it is a CIA Term used to make the truth look like nonsense …
We know The Enemy now , and Death is the only Solution , to the Leaders and their useful idiots ….

Reply
Saari Luesher October 6, 2021 at 6:28 am

Being of Finnish & Swedish descent, I have never had so much as a flu. The worst I have had were the sniffles in the last 10 years. I dont wear a mask, dont social distance, dont take clot shots, and still no problems from the plandemic

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jack+johnson October 6, 2021 at 7:32 am

The propaganda flying around is out of control, it has become a psy-op. In an interview about the effectiveness of vaccines Fauci used this line….”90% of Covid deaths are from unvaccinated people”. This would lead one to believe he is talking about deaths since vaccinations started but he wasn`t…..the 90% figure comes from all Covid deaths. Which has zero to do with the topic he was being questioned on.

At this point there are only a handful of people you can really trust on the issue and most of them are either censored or banned. I don`t even trust my own doctor at this point.

Reply
E. Paganelli October 6, 2021 at 10:53 am

My own doctor is my wife and I’m starting to have a hard time trusting as well. It’s almost like the medical community has a talking points script handed to them the way the media gets theirs from the dnc. The moment something hits national media (ivermectin is ‘horse dewormer,’ Joe Rogan equals misinformation, Florida and Texas are gonna kill everyone, etc), I hear the same points parroted at home.
And spoiler alert, I got the vaccine in January and am currently sitting at hone with covid, so can we please stop calling them breakthrough cases? That dam was never built; there was nothing to breakthrough in the first place

Reply
JB October 6, 2021 at 11:29 am

Maybe they just had fewer doctors will in to lie and name any and all deaths as “covid death” for the big money.
Maybe they didn’t take anyone with any respiratory ailment, flu, asthma etc, and call it Covid and kill them, for the MONEY. Maybe they had nurses who refused to help kill these people for the money. Maybe they are more Christian and know that lies are a mortal sin, that the love of money and greed are the road to perdition. Maybe they have souls that belong to God. Whereas in America we have doctors and nurses that are just in it for the money and think God and the afterlife do not exist. They believe you just die and there is no judgement. They willingly participate in any and all satanic rituals of killing unborn children and people who are healthy but are needed to produce false numbers of covid deaths for their master: Lucifer and the Luciferians who actually control and print all the money they worship as God. Its all happening now. The choice to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell is before us, it is not “covid” it is the final test for the final Judgement. Choose God or money, you can’t serve 2 masters. By the end of this trial some will be separated from God and his love for all eternity. It is a fair and final test, are with God, the creator of life in truth, peace and love=equality and freedom? Or the exact opposite=LUCIFER who is the destroyer and has no power except for Money and to LIE, kill, and violently dominate and control his slaves sadistically and cruelly??? All this is the final test. Save your souls now.

Reply

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