Why Sweden vs Norway Tells Us so Little, and Other Interesting Statistics

It’s virtually required just now that people point to Sweden as insane, because Norway has a lower death rate. It’s true that Norway has only 0.039 of a death per thousand of population, while Sweden has 0.263.But these are both incredibly low numbers, and teasing out the reasons for a variation when the numbers are so low is not easy. The lack of lockdown in Sweden may well be part of the answer. If it is, then it’s because there is greater spread in Sweden due to the light lockdown; and therefore Sweden will also be nearer to herd immunity and a complete end to the epidemic. Whatever the conclusion turns out to be, other comparisons are more extreme, and therefore more enlightening.

First, see here, for a comparison of New York and Tokyo where the death rates vary by over 200 times.

Second, this report from Bob Klein in the USA is little short of mind-blowing.

There are more COVID 19 deaths in Somerset County,  New Jersey (252) and the City Worcester, Massachusetts. (253) than:

All of South Korea 247

All of Chile 227

All of Israel 219

All of Argentina 214

All of Finland 211

All of Norway 207

And also all of:

Panama 168

Bangladesh 168

Morocco 168

Saudi Arabia 162

Greece 139

Serbia 125

South Africa 103

Iraq 92

Honduras 71

Croatia 69

Bulgaria 66

Afghanistan 64

Cameroon 61

Thailand 54

Nigeria 51

Lithuania 45

Burkina  Faso 43

There are more deaths in Wayne County,  Michigan (1732) than almost all of Mexico 1,727 

More than all of India 1,079

Ireland 1,190

Russia 1,073

More deaths in Los Angeles (1,065) than Indonesia (792)

More deaths in Fairfield County, Connecticut (774) 

than all of Poland 628

and Austria 584

and Philippines 568

More deaths in Bergen County, New Jersey (1,057) than 

Angola,  Anguila,  Benin, Bhutan,  Botswana, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo,  East Timor, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Uganda, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yeman, Zambia and Zimbabwe PUT TOGETHER, all of whom have 0 deaths, or statistically meaningless (deaths per million).

Haiti has about 1 death per million, as do Hong Kong and Guinea and Ghana.  China?  3 per million.

USA is at 199/per million, Italy at 469/million, UK at 414/million, Spain at 533/million and France at 367/million.

Did you notice? China, where it started, only 3 per million?


Johns Hopkins. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic_by_country_and_territory


Klein is looking for an answer to these figures. The one he himself offers is Vaccine/Virus Interference. The phenomenon of Vaccine or Virus Interference is barely known to the general public, but fairly well known to science. See external link here, and do your own wider internet research. In essence, being vaccinated against one virus may cause greater susceptibility to others.  Klein points out that the high death rate countries are the wealthy Western ones, where over-vaccination (his term) is normal.

If this is even partly correct, it requires urgent investigation. Currently mass vaccination is being touted as the answer to Covid. If vaccination is part of the problem, we really need to know.

I first heard of Vaccine Interference only two days ago, and have had little time to think about. Looking at the Klein article has given me further pause for thought. I tried to find figures on flu vaccination of the elderly by country, since the flu vaccine is the prime candidate for interference with Coronavirus. The best data I could find was a graph in a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) document here.The most recent data are for 2018.
I first compared Norway and Sweden. The former had about 35% vaccination, while Sweden had 50%. This MAY go some way to explain the Swedish-Norwegian difference.
I then compared death rates for the countries with a high vaccination rate – Italy and higher – and those with a low rate – Slovakia and lower. The average death rate for the high vaccination countries was 353 per million, for the low vaccination ones it was 24. (All data taken from worldometer.info. Details below.) This is an astonishing variation in death rates in two sets of countries chosen only by their propensity to vaccinate old people for flu. I’m no statistician, but there is surely something here for statisticians to look at.
A further point of interest thrown up by this little investigation was that Portugal is an outlier in the high vaccination countries. Without Portugal, their average death rate per million is 402, while Portugal is only 104. Portugal and Spain together form the Iberian Peninsula. Why would their death rates be so different? (Portugal 104, Spain 544.) The media answer is that Portugal was far quicker and far better than Spain at lockdown. Should that be the explanation, as Portugal now eases off, we should see a second wave, which will not be seen in Spain. (Due to greater build up of immunity in Spain.) Here we have another pair of neighbouring countries like Norway and Sweden to look at. Watch this space!
Data taken from worldometer.info on 4th May 2020

This article was written by Keith