The crew at the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) have done an analysis of excess mortality for 2020 across 32 countries to get a clearer picture of the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns. They used excess mortality instead of “Covid deaths”, they explain, to avoid problems with recording and classification of deaths and include any impact of anti-Covid measures. They used age-adjusted mortality to take into account differences in the average age of populations. They compared 2020’s figures to the average of the previous five years to give a percentage increase or excess during the pandemic year (they have made the tool they used to analyse the data publicly available).
The results are plotted in the graph below. Perhaps the most telling result is that Sweden, which did not impose strict lockdown measures throughout the year (it kept all retail and hospitality and most schools open and imposed no restrictions on private gatherings) saw only a 1.5% increase in age-adjusted mortality. Surely no one can argue that such a small increase in mortality (and almost entirely among the elderly and already unwell) can justify the severe and harmful suspensions of civil liberties we have endured over the past year?