Study: Iceland, Norway, and Singapore had no excess mortality during the pandemic

A new study in The Lancet shows that the pandemic is estimated to have claimed 18.2 million lives worldwide. That is more than three times more than previous data has shown and on average worldwide, it means that the pandemic has caused 120 extra deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. 

But there are many differences between countries and regions and according to the study, Iceland, Norway, Singapore, and Australia actually had no excess mortality or lower than normal mortality, Expressen writes.

The study is founded by, among others, the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, which has collected data on excess mortality from 74 countries. 

Joakim Dillner, professor of infection epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm says that “It is a very impressive work that gives a picture of the overall global effect. It is in line with how we reason in Sweden that excess mortality is the fairest and fastest way to see how the pandemic affected the death toll.”

The excess mortality shows how many died during a certain period compared to the normal. The researchers wanted to get around the fact that countries report deaths caused by covid-19 in different ways. In the study, they compared the mortality rates for 2020 and 2021 with a period of eleven years before the pandemic. “In Sweden, we have used this measure before, but in many countries, we only look at deaths that have been reported to be due to covid-19,” Joakim Dillner explains.

By studying the excess mortality, the researchers conclude that the covid-related death rate is as much as three times as high as the deaths reported due to covid-19 are.

If you look at larger geographical areas, it is Latin America, Eastern and Central Europe, northern and southern Africa, and the Middle East that have had the highest excess mortality.

For Sweden, the figure was 91 extra deaths per 100,000, which places the Nordic country well below the Western European average of 140.

Countries with the highest mortality in terms of number are India, the USA, Russia, and Mexico according to the study. 

According to Joakim Dillner, it is clear that only a dozen countries have survived without any total excess mortality, and many countries that did well, in the beginning, got worse after. 

It shows, however, that Iceland, Norway, Singapore, and Australia must have done something different.

Read the full article and more on the study here

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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