Pub company Wetherspoon has asked politicians and the public to reconsider the evidence regarding lockdowns.
Chairman Tim Martin said there should be a “proper debate” on this subject, rather than reliance on politicised government propaganda and statistics.
Wetherspoon runs more than 900 pubs in the UK, with many of them – especially in the south of the country – closed at the moment due to Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Martin drew comparisons with Sweden, which did not impose a lockdown, and has had less Covid-19 fatalities per capita in recent weeks than the UK.
In the week ending 21 December, according to the respected Worldometer website, there were 215 fatalities in Sweden, compared with 3,214 in the UK.
Adjusting the Swedish fatality rate for population (the UK population is about 6.8 times larger), the UK fatality rate per capita is over double Sweden’s.
Mr Martin said: “The statistical comparison between the UK and Sweden is freely available on Worldometer, but often seems to be ignored or misreported.
“A particular worry is that the UK is relying on a lockdown strategy, championed by Neil Ferguson, Imperial College and SAGE, yet the Imperial College model forecast around 88,000 fatalities for Sweden, if they did not lock down, but the outcome has been less than 10% of this number.
“Given the huge scale of job losses in the UK, especially in the hospitality industry, and the widely reported “collateral damage” to health, there should be a proper debate on this subject, rather than reliance on politicised government propaganda and statistics.”
From 1 November, just before the second UK lockdown, until the 21 December, Worldometer records 2,244 fatalities in Sweden, compared with 21,061 in the UK. Adjusting the Swedish fatality rate for population, it is approximately 27% less than the UK’s.
As Worldometer also reports, Sweden has had 806 fatalities per million, compared to 979 for the UK since the start of the pandemic.
Wetherspoon said that there does not appear to be a relationship between population density and Covid-19 outcomes.
Singapore and Taiwan have densely populated countries with low mortality, whereas France and the US are much less densely populated than the UK, but have similar Covid-19 outcomes.