What Second Wave? Total Deaths in UK and Sweden Now Average for 2021

New figures from the ONS released yesterday show that deaths in England and Wales are running 7.3% below the five-year average for the week ending April 30th. This is the eighth consecutive week that registered deaths have been below the five-year average.

While the UK’s winter epidemic has been over for some months now, Sweden, like much of the continent, has seen a spring wave.

ICUs have been busier in spring than they were in winter.

Maybe that’s because Sweden has been so slow in getting its vaccine programme rolled out.

Except, something doesn’t fit here. There was no corresponding surge in Covid deaths, which have been flat since March.

And overall deaths in the country have been running well below average for 11 weeks, since the beginning of February.

This suggests Sweden’s “spring wave” was largely a casedemic, with any real Covid killing those who were already approaching the end of their life.

In fact, deaths in 2021 in the no-lockdown country are now running overall about average for the year, and if the current trend continues 2021 could end up being a low mortality year.

The same is true of the U.K.. Despite a January Covid surge with considerable excess mortality that led the Government to be ultra-cautious about lifting restrictions, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries mortality monitor says the UK’s cumulative standardised mortality rate (taking into account the size and age of the population) is running only 1.6% ahead of the five year average. This suggests many of the extra winter deaths were just deaths that were due to happen this year brought forward a few months.

Now who was it who said there wasn’t going to be a second wave, only the seasonal ripple of an endemic virus?

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