Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic
My notes on the ongoing 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.
- Don’t compare countries’ coronavirus death counts
- All deaths in Sweden 2020 vs the average 2015-2019
Don’t compare countries’ coronavirus death counts
TL;DR It’s meaningless. Don’t waste your time.
- Countries use different criteria for counting coronavirus victims. For example: (a) a person who died with the virus, not because of it, is included in the count in some countries but not others, (b) in Belgium they count everyone who dies at a retirement home, (c) in Great Britain they don’t count anyone who dies outside of a hospital, (d) in New York they count anyone they suspect have COVID-19, i.e. without lab tests, (e) some countries require a lab test showing the presence of coronavirus, or it doesn’t count.
- Criteria have been known to change over time.
- Regions/cities in the same country may use different criteria.
- Some countries are exceptionally good at this type of counting and are unlikely to fail to count a coronavirus victim, which means they will appear to have a higher death count, by comparison.
- Some countries intentionally hide the correct numbers.
- Death count is one measurement, loss of expected good quality years of life is another. The death count does not distinguish between the death of an infant and the death of a 90-year old with advanced dementia.
- A country may introduce a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and if the lockdown is successful the coronavirus death count goes down, but people still suffer because of the lockdown itself. Unemployment, destitution, depression, crime, suicide, … and so on. Information like this is lost when all we do is look at a death counter.
- If the health care system becomes overwhelmed, then all patients are at risk. Non-coronavirus patients could die if they don’t get the help they need, but their deaths probably won’t be included in the coronavirus death count since they technically died of something else.
All deaths in Sweden 2020 vs the average 2015-2019
This graph includes ALL deaths as reported by the SCB, Sweden’s statistics government agency.
NB! These are NOT “coronavirus-deaths”, these are ALL deaths. Some of these people died from the coronavirus, others died from something else.
Same data split by gender.