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Coronavirus: Sweden’s death rate seventh highest in the world

  • Published at 01:56 pm June 3rd, 2020
Sweden’s death rate seventh highest in the world.JPG
People enjoy warm weather at the Tantolunden park as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Stockholm, Sweden May 30, 2020 Reuters

On the basis of per capita, Sweden’s death rate is 10 times higher than Norway, 7.6 times higher than Finland and 4.4 times higher than Denmark

Sweden, which has opted for a more open strategy in combating the virus compared to other European countries, had the seventh-highest number of deaths in the world per capita from the Covid-19 disease, data showed.

Sweden has kept most schools, restaurant and businesses open during the pandemic. 

As of Wednesday, 4,468 people died from Covid-19 in Sweden, a country with a population of 10.23 million.

While deaths are on the decline, Sweden had 443 deaths per million inhabitants, according to pandemic data tracking website Worldometer, which was seventh highest in the world.

That count is small in absolute terms, compared to the number of people the virus has killed in some large countries — the US death toll has topped 108,000, for example. But relative to the size of Sweden's population, the number of people who have died is in line with countries that have had far bigger outbreaks.

Over the course of the pandemic Sweden still has had fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, which have all opted for lockdowns, but much higher than Nordic neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Denmark, Finland and Norway —each of which has about 5 million inhabitants — have recorded death tolls of 580, 320 and 237, respectively. 

The virus has killed 44 out of every million Norwegians, 58 out of every million Finns and 100 out of every million Danishes.

There have now been ten times as many Covid-19 deaths in Sweden than Norway on a per capita basis.

On the basis of per capita, Sweden’s death rate is 10 times higher than Norway, 7.6 times higher than Finland and 4.4 times higher than Denmark.

Norway imposed a lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus earlier on March 12, but the country reopened schools in early May. 

Its neighbour Sweden, by contrast, took a more lax approach: The government banned events with more than 50 people and shut down universities and secondary schools and imposed fewer other restrictions.

Swedish government officials said lockdowns could do little to save lives over the long term and that their more lax approach would let their society reach herd immunity more quickly and lessen the economic pain the country would endure. 

“About 30% of people in Stockholm have reached a level of immunity,” Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, the Swedish ambassador to the United States, told NPR on April 26. “We could reach herd immunity in the capital as early as next month.”

But a recent study found that just 7.3% of Stockholm residents tested positive for coronavirus antibodies at the end of April. 

“I think herd immunity is a long way off if we ever reach it,” Bjorn Olsen, professor of infectious medicine at Uppsala University, told Reuters.

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