COVID-19: Sweden's Total Mortality in 2020

Once again, the figures demonstrate that this is a serious but not unprecedented pandemic


Article (with one Table) by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 23 January 2021,



As we explained in a recently published article, a central ideological pillar of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution rests on the assertion that the extraordinary state of emergency measures would be justified by the extraordinary nature of the current pandemic. Hence, the bourgeois governments and their supporters among the Lockdown Left claim that humanity is in the midst of a supposedly “unprecedented and highly dangerous COVID-19 pandemic”. Hence, we think that it is important for Marxists to counter this ideological warfare of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, among others, with scientific arguments.


For this reason, the RCIT has analyzed from the very beginning not only the political character of this counterrevolution but also the nature of the pandemic. [1] We demonstrated in much detail that the claims of bourgeois governments and their supporters among the Lockdown Left about the supposedly “unprecedented and highly dangerous COVID-19 pandemic” lacks any factual basis.


As the year 2020 has ended and figures for total mortality of the whole year get published by official agencies, it is now possible to compare the figures of the COVID-19 year with those of the past. For this reason, we have begun a series of articles which deal with the development of total mortality in various countries and regions. [2] As we explained in our last article on this issue, the development of total mortality in a given year is the best approximation in order to understand the severity of the pandemic. [3]


In this article we will analyze the effects of the pandemic for total mortality in Sweden and compare the results with past years. As we have noted repeatedly, Sweden has been one of the few countries which have not imposed any lockdown (nor any other enforcement measures) until now. Unsurprisingly, it has become a main target of attack both by the global bourgeoisie as well as by the Lockdown Left. [4]


We did already analyze the development of Sweden’s mortality figures in the past few months. [5] This article will update our analysis by the latest official data from Statistics Sweden – the official statistical authority of the country.


The latest data on the country’s total mortality has been published three days ago. It is possible that the figures for the last month of 2020 might be altered. However, according to our experience, we do not expect significant changes since we are already in late January and Sweden’s statistical authorities are known for fast and reliable work.


In the table below we reproduce the mortality per capita in Sweden for each month in 2020. In addition, we compare these figures with those for the years 2016 and 2018. We add the monthly figures in order to get the total for the whole year. Furthermore, we calculate the growth rate of the 2020 figure with those of 2016 respectively 2018.




Table 1. Number of deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per month in Sweden (2015-2020) [6]




                                                2015      2016      2017      2018      2019       2020


January                                86,0        85,4        89,9        84,2        79,2        78,2


February                              88,9        82,0        85,9        88,2        78,3        75,5


March                                   85,9        80,1        79,7        90,1        73,6        80,1


April                                     79,2        76,4        77,1        76,9        71,9        102,0


May                                       72,8        69,8        72,2        66,3        67,4        83,4


June                                       70,0        67,7        68,1        65,6        64,6        71,9


July                                        70,4        70,6        66,7        71,1        65,4        66,2


August                                 67,3        69,8        67,3        66,3        66,1        65,1


September                           71,4        69,1        68,6        68,2        66,5        65,3


October                                71,3        72,8        72,7        70,5        70,7        67,9


November                           74,6        75,7        74,1        69,5        72,1        79,1


December                            78,1        82,0        79,0        75,9        74,0        93,5


Total                                      915.9     901.4     901.3     892.8     849,8      928.2


Increase in 2020 (January-December) compared with the same period in 2019: +9.22%


Increase in 2020 (January-December) compared with the same period in 2018: +3.96%


Increase in 2020 (January-December) compared with the same period in 2017: +2.98%


Increase in 2020 (January-December) compared with the same period in 2016: +2.97%


Increase in 2020 (January-December) compared with the same period in 2015: +1.01%








What do these figures of Sweden’s mortality rate tell us? Basically, this data confirms once more our analysis of the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.


First, the increase in mortality rate per capita reflects that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a “fake” or a “hoax” but a real and severe pandemic.


Secondly, while the increase is real, it can hardly be characterized as extraordinary large. The mortality rate per capita in 2020 was 9,2% larger than last year. However, 2019 was an extraordinary year as it saw the lowest number of death in Sweden for decades. When we compare the 2020 mortality rate per capita with the previous years, we see an increase of only +3.96% (2018), +2.98% (2017), +2.97% (2016) and +1.01% (2015). This confirms our analysis that the COVID-19 pandemic is neither unprecedented nor more dangerous than past pandemics.


Thirdly, these data also confirm the position – long held by us and many other democrats – that the “Swedish model” which operates without Lockdown and other enforcement measures does not result in higher mortality rates than countries with draconic Lockdowns.




[1] The RCIT has analysed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 70 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,; by the same author: 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,; COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020,

[2] The first article of this series is: COVID-19: A Comparison of Historical Data. An analysis of the COVID-19 death figures and those of past pandemics and climate disasters based on data from the World Bank, 19 January 2021,

[3] See chapter “Problems of Calculating the Mortality of the Pandemic” in the above-mentioned article “COVID-19: A Comparison of Historical Data”.

[4] For our critique of the Lockdown Left see e.g. chapter V of our above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It; see also by the same author the last chapters in the above mentioned essay: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution; COVID-19 and the Lockdown Left: The Example of PODEMOS and Stalinism in Spain, 24 March 2020,; Social-Bonapartism in Argentina. The Partido Obrero (Tendencia) of Jorge Altamira supports the State of Emergency, 29 April 2020,; When Ultra-Leftism marries Social-Bonapartism and Gives Birth to “Post-Marxist” Obscurantism. A reply to the CWG/ILTT, 5 May 2020,; Brazil: Social-Bonapartism of the Lockdown Left in Practice. How the leaderships of the trade unions, PT, PCdoB, the pseudo-Trotskyist PSTU and PSOL sabotage the struggle against the Bolsonaro government, 10 June 2020,; Lockdown Left says: “Cops Need to Enforce Laws”. The ex-revolutionary L5I as another example for shameful social-bonapartism in the era of the COVID-19 counterrevolution, 24 July 2020,; COVID-19: Zero Socialism in the “ZeroCOVID“ campaign. Following the model of China and Australia, some British Stalinists and “Trotskyists” call for a “total and indefinite lockdown”, 22 December 2020,; COVID-19: The Current and Historical Roots of Bourgeois Lockdown “Socialism”. Police State and Universal Basic Income are key elements of the new version of reformist “War Socialism” of 1914, 19 December 2020,

[5] Michael Pröbsting: 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, 8 December 2020,; 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,

[6] 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 twelve months as well as the calculation of growth is our own.