Between January and June, 51,405 people died from a population of 10.3 million, the Statistics Office announced on Wednesday. That is the highest toll for the first six months of a year in over a century and a half, when 55,431 people died amid a famine. At that time, the population was around 4.1 million.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deaths were 10 percent higher than the average of the past five years, and 40 percent higher in April.

Over half a year since the epidemic started, Sweden has recorded over 85,000 coronavirus cases of the 22.4 million global total, as well as 5,802 deaths of over 788,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The case fatality rate in Sweden, or the number of people diagnosed who go on to die, is 6.8 percent, compared with 2.6 percent in Norway, and 3.8 percent in Denmark.