Swedish Demographer Discusses COVID-Related Mortality

The following video from Swedish state television provides a useful graphical illustration of the death rate in Sweden before and during the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis. As in other countries, Sweden experienced a spike in deaths last spring, and another smaller one later in the year. However, the overall number of deaths during 2020 was not greatly anomalous — and far less than past pandemics in which no restrictive measures were imposed.

Many thanks to Ingrid Carlqvist for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

06:10  
06:14   But how many more than usual died
06:18   during the Corona year of 2020? To find that out
06:22   we asked the demographer Örjan Hemström from Statistics Sweden,
06:26   who researches mortality. During this year
06:30   of the pandemic — how many more died?
06:34   Approximately 7,000 more than the last five years.
06:38   But it’s was up and down during the year. —Can you show us?
06:42   In the beginning we had fewer dead than in recent years.
06:46   But at the end of March we saw a big rise,
06:50   and we had an excess mortality up until June.
06:55   But from July to October it was back to normal,
06:59   I mean as few or fewer dead
07:03   than in the years prior. And then in November
07:07   and December we see again that the number of deaths has risen.
07:13   So, in total around 7,000 more than the last few years.
07:17   But does 2020 stand out regarding mortality historically?
07:21   Then we need to compare the number of deaths
07:25   to the size of the population to better compare different years.
07:29   From 1900 we see quite a high mortality
07:33   that went down until we see this major
07:37   increase 1918, with this big spike. —And that is
07:41   the Spanish Flu, that horrible flu?
07:44   Exactly. That is the worst pandemic we’ve had, that took the most lives
07:49   since 1900. After that mortality decreased until WW2
07:53   where we see it goes up and down
07:57   and then it goes down again until the Asian Flu,
08:01   but you can hardly see it.
08:05   It was no big increase. That was in the late 1950s?
08:09   Exactly, the late 50s. In the late 60s we also had
08:13   a big pandemic — the Hong Kong flu.
08:17   That does not show very much either — a small ripple on the surface.
08:21   Yes. From 1990 and onwards we see a
08:25   clear decrease in mortality, fewer dead
08:29   per capita. And then 2020 we see
08:33   a spike. A small growth? Yes, so we are back to
08:37   the mortality of 2012. But if you compare to the Spanish flu
08:41   the mortality was very much higher? Yes, many more
08:45   deaths in 1918 than in 2020.
08:49   Especially in proportion to the population, which was millions fewer in 1918.
08:53   The curves thus show that the level
08:57   of excess mortality is the same as it was a decade ago,
09:01   and in a longer perspective mankind has suffered
09:04   worse pandemics than the one we are in now.
 

One thought on “Swedish Demographer Discusses COVID-Related Mortality

  1. Meanwhile in Germany, “ ‘NINETY PER CENT of Germany’s severe Covid-19 patients have migrant background and more than half are Muslim’ despite making up 4.8% of the population – with politicians ‘afraid to tackle the problem in case they look racist’.

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