I was scanning health headlines this morning to determine what to write about today. Then, I came across one about Sweden and the pandemic. It stated, ‘A year and a half after Sweden decided not to lockdown, its COVID-19 death rate is up to 10 times higher than its neighbors.’ It caught my attention, and I had to research it further.
The Source (from earlier today)
https://www.yahoo.com/news/half-sweden-decided-not-lock-115500722.html. The subtitles state that Sweden did not implement a full-scale lockdown, and it now has ten times the COVID-19 deaths per capita as Finland and Norway. Per capita, eh?
I read the article twice and discovered one paragraph comparing coronavirus statistics. I found a reference to recorded COVID-19 cases per capita. Sweden has had eleven out of 100 people diagnosed with COVID-19 and 145 pandemic-related deaths per 100,000 people. This death rate is three times Denmark, eight times Finland, and nearly ten times Norway. Unfortunately, most of the article reflected on the past and not about what is happening today.
Sweden – Current Stats (all numbers cited are seven-day rolling averages)
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sweden/. Just over 21,000 people (99.9%) are currently diagnosed with mild cases of COVID-19. Thirty people have severe cases. At the height of the second surge around Christmas of last year, Sweden was experiencing around 7,000 new COVID-19 cases daily, with daily deaths rarely exceeding 100.
The third surge for Sweden hit from late March until early May of 2021. The average number of new cases reported was around 5,500 at the height, with daily deaths averaging around 20 for the same period. The graph for daily deaths reflects no uptick – just a constant rate from early March through early May.
From the end of June through the middle of July this year, Sweden reports an average of 250 new cases daily with a death rate of no higher than one per day since early July. Sweden sees the same number of daily cases today as the first surge in April of 2020, but the death rate is roughly 100 times less. One daily death today compared to nearly 100 daily deaths almost a year and a half ago.
What About Norway?
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/norway/. One stat is correct about total deaths – Norway has roughly 800 dead since the beginning of the pandemic compared to nearly 15,000 dead in Sweden. However, there were no reported percentages of how many currently diagnosed citizens have mild or severe coronavirus cases.
Norway has had five surges compared to three for Sweden. However, it is uncertain whether the upward tick on the current number of new cases reported daily is really a surge. In March/April of 2020, Norway experienced around 250 new cases with a daily death rate of just under ten. In November of last year, the average new daily cases rose to just under 600, with a death rate half of the first surge.
In early January 2021, the third surge equaled the previous one with a slightly higher daily death rate. The end of March was the fourth surge with just under a thousand new cases daily and only three daily deaths on average. The current surge today, and it is definitely climbing rapidly, has around 600 new cases daily with an average of one death each day. Norway has half the population of Sweden.
How About Finland?
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/finland/. Finland, like Norway, has half the population of Sweden. It has experienced slightly over 1,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently, over 75,000 people are diagnosed with the virus, with only 29 people listed with severe cases. One hundred percent of the coronavirus cases are listed as mild.
Similar statistics are seen when looking at the surges in Finland compared to Norway. There have been four surges – April 2020 with around 100 new cases daily, and deaths were averaging just under ten consistently. In December of last year, the daily case rate exceeded 400, with daily deaths around five. In March of this year, the daily number of new cases exceeded 650, with daily deaths around three per day. And, today, the current surge is showing over 700 a day and climbing with a daily death rate of around two people per day.
Finally – Denmark
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/denmark/. Denmark has a few hundred thousand citizens than Norway or Finland – just over half of Sweden. Currently, there are over 13,000 cases of COVID-19, with twenty listed as severe – very similar to Finland.
Denmark has gone through four surges, including the current one. In April of 2020, slightly under 1,000 people a day were coming down with the virus, and daily deaths hovered just below 100. In December of last year, the case rate jumped to around 7,000 a day, with daily deaths like the earlier surge – about 100 a day.
In April of this year, the daily new cases rose to over 5,500, with daily deaths consistently in the twenty or slightly below range. The current surge is climbing with nearly 1,000 new cases daily; however, the death rate has been zero for the past month.
Is it statistically fair to compare the totality of pandemic cases or deaths to reflect a different situation than comparing numbers today? All four countries had surged, and each kept the daily death rate lower than the previous surge. Regardless of the number of new cases reported daily, today’s daily death hovers around one per day for each country. Each country is doing something correct to keep daily deaths from the pandemic virus under control.
Is the daily death rate for Sweden really ten times its neighbors? No! It is identical. When we talk about one death per day, is it necessary to base everything on per capita? Probably not. A half-death per day for Sweden per capita compared to one death (or less) for the surrounding countries sounds like someone is trying to find a story where there is not one.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com