COVID-19: How Severe is the Pandemic in Sweden Really?

Once again, a comparison demonstrates that the mortality rate in 2020 is barely larger than in 2018


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 8 December 2020,




Statistics Sweden, the country’s official agency for statistics, has published its latest data for the development of its population. These data include, among others, the figures for total mortality. [1] Analyzing such data is important as it reflects the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. If the pandemic would be very severe and devastating, this would result in qualitatively higher figures of total mortality. This is even more the case as Sweden has been one of the few countries in the world which has neither imposed any lockdown nor mandatory mask-wearing.


As the RCIT has demonstrated in numerous works the claim of bourgeois governments and their supporters among the Lockdown Left about the supposedly “unprecedented and highly dangerous COVID-19 pandemic” is simply a propaganda lie. We have shown on the basis of official statistics and analysis of other pandemics in past decades that the current pandemic is serious but it is neither devastating nor unprecedented. [2]


In fact, the ruling class deliberately exaggerates the severity of the pandemic in order to justify the massive expansion of the police and surveillance state which goes hand in hand with a wave of repression and attacks on fundamental democratic rights of the popular masses. In fact, the policy of putting a whole society under curfew orders has not been seen in the Western imperialist countries since the end of World War II in 1945. This is why the RCIT has characterized this policy from early on as the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. While the virus has not been deliberately invented, the ruling classes around the world have prepared for such a kind of pandemic since a number of years. As we showed in a recently published study, several imperialist institutions have elaborated plans for utilizing such events for the expansion of the police and surveillance state (or chauvinist bonapartist state as Marxists call it). [3]


In a recently published article we have analyzed the effects of the pandemic to Sweden’s mortality. [4] We did show that the total number of death for 2020 do not show any dramatic rise. In this brief article we will not repeat our theses but limit ourselves to report the latest figures from Sweden which confirms once again the validity of the Marxist analysis.


In Table 1 we reproduce the figures for the size of Sweden’s population. As we can see, the country had a population of slightly more than 10.2 million people at the end of 2018. Since then, the population has slightly increased by 1.4% and accounts for a bit less than 10.4 million people in October 2020.




Table 1. Sweden’s Population in 2018 and 2020


Year                                                                        Number


December 2018                                                  10,230,185


October 2020                                                       10,377,781


Increase from 2018 to 2020: +1.4%




In Table 2 we reproduce the figures for total mortality. We compare the number of death for January to October 2020 with the figures for the same period in 2018. As we can see 77,069 people died within this period two years ago compared with 79,627 people in 2020. This represents an increase of the absolute number of death by 3.3%.




Table 2. Sweden’s Total Mortality for January - October in 2018 and in 2020


Period                                                                    Total Number


January – October 2018                                   77,069


January – October 2020                                   79,627


Increase in 2020 (January-October) compared with the same period in 2018: +3.3%




Finally, we compare the number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per month for the period January to October in 2018 with that for 2020. Since Statistics Sweden provides such figures we can calculate not only the absolute number of death but also the development of mortality per capita. As reader can see, such mortality per capita has been only slightly higher this year compared with the same period in 2018 – concretely by 1.0%. (See Table 3)




Table 1. Number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per month, 2018 and 2020, Sweden [5]




                                                                2018                                       2020


January                                                 84.2                                        78.2


February                                               88.2                                        75.5


March                                                   90.1                                        80.1


April                                                      76.9                                        102.0


May                                                       66.3                                        83.4


June                                                       65.6                                        71.8


July                                                        71.1                                        66.1


August                                                  66.3                                        65.1


September                                            68.2                                        65.3


October                                                 70.5                                        67.7


Total                                                       747.4                                      755.2


Increase in 2020 (January-October) compared with the same period in 2018: +1.0%




We note in passing that the increase of total mortality figures in 2020 so far is not only low in Sweden but also in various other countries. However, Sweden is remarkable since the supporters of chauvinist state bonapartism claim that the only way to avoid the devastating effects of the pandemic would be the draconic Lockdown policy. Naturally, this has always been wrong as the RCIT explained from the beginning. However, the figures from Sweden provide overwhelming factual confirmation of the Marxist position!


[1] See the links to the relevant tables published on the official website of Statistics Sweden at The Swedish journalist Emanuel Karlsten regularly covers the development of the pandemic and often provides useful analysis. Here is his latest article: Number of deaths in Sweden during the pandemic – compared to previous years’ mortality, 7 December 2020,

[2] The RCIT has analyzed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 50 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: In particular we refer readers to the RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, See also our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020,; Michael Pröbsting: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020,; Michael Pröbsting: The Police and Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020,

[3] Michael Pröbsting: How the Ruling Class Prepared for COVID-19. A number of events before and after the beginning of the pandemic demonstrate the political nature of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, 3 December 2020,

[4] Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: Revealing Figures from Sweden. A comparison of the mortality rates of the first 9 months in 2020 with previous years confirm that this is a serious but not unprecedented pandemic, 23 November 2020,

[5] Statistics Sweden: Number of deaths per 100 000 inhabitants per month, 2015-2020, The figures for each month are reproduced from the official statistics. The sum of the figures of these ten months as well as the calculation of growth is our own. The actual statistics provide also data for the month November. The figure for November 2018 is 69.5 and the figure for the same month in 2020 is 70.5. However, we have not integrated this month in our table as this is most recent data and it is very likely that it will be corrected.