Interesting article from a moderate( anti Boris) Tory Matthew Parris :

There has been a considerable hoo-hah in the press about the recent World Health Organisation report estimating Covid-related deaths internationally during the pandemic. The measurement chosen has been ‘excess deaths’ – the difference between the number who died during the pandemic and the number who, on average, died in the same place before the pandemic struck. This has enabled us to compare the British figures with excess deaths across the rest of Europe per 100,000 of the population; and it appears we’re not, after all, at the top of the death-league, but near the middle.

Though its methodology has attracted serious criticism, I was struck by the report. But what really struck me has turned out to be of no interest to any of the media responses I’ve seen, which have all been about our outcome relative to those of other European countries. We did better, for instance, than Italy, Spain and Germany but worse than France – though during the pandemic we’d thought we were doing exceptionally badly.

Well, bully for us. But I find these relativities of limited interest, given that we’re mostly in the same ballpark as our near European neighbours. True, Sweden and France did much better than us, but the countries that did worse – Italy, Germany and Spain for example – had excess deaths respectively of 133, 116, and 111 per 100,000. Britain’s figure was 109. Even the United States was only 140, just ahead of Italy. Fairly small differences in the way countries count could easily alter such pecking orders.