Thanks for the thoughtful dive into the numbers! It’s important to note that Sweden isn’t unique in Europe for combining minimal restrictions with fewer deaths than its neighbors during the pandemic. Switzerland, where I live, provides additional case that lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates were not effective enough to justify their societal cost. Switzerland had a brief partial lockdown from mid-March to the end of May 2020, and after that some minimal restrictions that were rolled back as soon as conditions improved. In spite of its minimalist approach to pandemic restrictions, Switzerland’s per capita death rate was better than the countries that surround it--all of which had much more draconian restrictions--and was significantly better than that of the US. I wrote about this in my Substack last fall: https://open.substack.com/pub/marischindele/p/this-is-how-we-protect-ourselves?utm_source=direct&r=7fpv6&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

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Very impressive. I wish more writers had your thoroughness. Given the most recent slope of the Norway and Sweden excess mortality curves, I suspect Sweden will soon have even lower excess mortality than Norway.

Do you believe it would be possible to analyze excess mortality from all countries based on this methodology, grouped by how strict the lockdown was? Some countries like China and New Zealand were locked down so long that it may take a couple more years for all the excess deaths to emerge, and I don’t know if lockdown strictness can be reliably determined.

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Thanks, that was really interesting! It is weird though that mortality in Denmark and Norway overshot that of Sweden that much during 2022. Maybe the fact that COVID was endemic early on did give a bit of herd immunity? An idea for you to check would be to compare Sweden with other polities that had outsized mortality early in the Pandemic and see if it offered protection later in 2021 and 2022.

From the Canadian example, I know that Québec had a really nasty February-May 2020, but the rest of 2020-2021-2022 had less over mortality than other Canadian regions that didn't have that early peak. (see for example https://statistique.quebec.ca/en/document/surmortalite-hebdomadaire/publication/surmortalite-hebdomadaire-quebec-et-certaines-regions-du-canada -in French only, but you can see the trend lines)

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This doesn't answer the most important question: why delaying infections until a higher fraction of the population was vaccinated wasn't effective?

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First, sorry for my bad English.

Thank you for this very interesting post.

I can't trust the ocde dataset though. They fail to consider some deaths in Sweden. Didn't they fail to consider some in other countries ?

I think they did, because there is nonsense in the world deaths chart. What about Hungary ? Why this discrepancy between the official Covid deaths and the excess deaths ? Did they overestimate their Covid deaths numbers that much ? And Israel ? Did they really do worse than Hungary ? And did they underestimate their Covid deaths numbers that much ?

I compared the ocde and owid rankings. They're quite different. Some countries have a bad ranking in ocde et and a better one in owid : Israel, Canada. Others have a better ranking in oecd than in owid : Hungary, Lithuania. Not sure it is all because of baseline methods.

In conclusion, how to compare countries excess deaths with such different datasets ?

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We need to compare how the people move in the countries. You assume that the people have a normal life in Sweeden, I'm sure a lot of people prefer to stay home, so mandatories lockdowns are not a central government mandate, the people could organize to take lockdowns by themselves.

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