Sweden, having famously refused to follow the world in imposing lockdowns and mask mandates in 2020, had the best Covid pandemic record in Europe, a new analysis by the BBC shows.
The U.K., meanwhile, had one of the worst over the three years from March 2020 to February 2023.
The new analysis, released to coincide with Chief Medical Officer Sir Chris Whitty giving evidence to the Covid Inquiry, focuses on all-cause mortality and adjusts for the age profile in each country to take into account underlying factors that affect death rates. It finds that over the three years to February 2023, the U.K.’s death rates “went up by more than 5%, which is more than France, Germany and Spain (all up between 3% and 4.5%), but by less than Italy’s (up more than 6%)”.
The BBC quotes Edinburgh anthropologist Professor Devi Sridhar arguing that the success of the U.K.’s vaccination campaign meant its outcomes improved in the second year of the pandemic. The accumulation of natural immunity, deaths being brought forward and the mild Omicron winter of 2021-22 go unmentioned as factors in the low mortality of that 12-month period, however.
Prof. Sridhar then claims that in the pandemic’s third year, death rates rose in many countries as they opened up again – a truly bizarre statement. The ‘third year’ refers to the period March 2022 to February 2023. The U.K. removed its last restrictions in July 2021. Blaming excess deaths after March 2022 on reopening is plain nonsense when the country had already been fully open for seven months. Where’s BBC Verify when you need it?
Responding to Sweden’s success, Prof. Sridhar commented that it’s hard to read straight across from Scandinavian countries to the U.K., arguing “we’d never look like either Sweden or Norway”, and describing them as “healthier, wealthier and more equal” countries that are very different to the U.K. Right. So, the U.K. would have had a disaster of Fergusonian proportions had it failed to impose stay-at-home orders and mask coercion on the population. But Sweden is populated entirely by rich, athletic socialists so could get away with it. That’s anthropology, I guess.
To balance that egregious piece of minimising of a key pandemic outcome from its favourite public health expert, the BBC then included a quote from an actual medical specialist, who praised Sweden for showing the world the folly of its lockdown and mask groupthink. No, wait, that didn’t happen – I was mistaking the BBC for an impartial public news service that actually cares about facts.
Well, it can’t hide the results, even if it can wheel out Devi to play them down.