Scand J Public Health - (-) 14034948231160616 [2023-03-20; online 2023-03-20]
The burden of COVID-19 disease can be measured in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which is composed of two components: the years of life lost through premature death (YLL) and the number of years lived with disability (YLD), adjusted for level of disability. This study measured DALYs due to COVID-19 in Sweden and compared it to the burden of other diseases. The methodology used in the calculation of DALYs was based on the Global Burden of Disease guidelines. The number of patients diagnosed with mild/moderate, severe or critical COVID-19 and/or post-COVID-19 condition between March 2020 and October 2021 was extracted from national registries and used for YLD calculations. In addition, the numbers of death due to COVID-19 in different age groups were used for the YLL calculation. During the study period, 152,877 DALYs were lost to COVID-19 in Sweden, 99.3% of which was attributed to YLL. Loss of DALYs occurred mainly among the elderly, with 66.8% of DALYs attributed to individuals >70 years old. Compared to other diseases, the burden of COVID-19 in 2020 ranked as the eighth leading cause of DALY lost. Similar to other countries, the burden of COVID-19 in Sweden was concentrated mainly among the elderly, who contributed most of the DALY lost due to premature mortality. Yet, DALY loss remained lower for COVID-19 than for several other diseases. The contribution of YLD to DALYs lost was minimal. However empirical data on the occurrence and disability of post-COVID-19 condition are scarce, and YLD may therefore be underestimated.