Webinar Supplement: Coronavirus in Scandinavia

  • In contrast to Norway and Denmark, Sweden had thousands of citizens returning from vacations in the Alps, rending moot their neighbours’ strategies of closing borders.
  • Allegedly the strain of the virus can differ in which case death rates between identical countries reacting identically would differ.
  • Underlying differences that always apply when we compare countries: health, culture, institutions, traditions
  • And then of course the country’s response.
Sweden (
Health, job losses, news), Norway (job losses, health numbers), Denmark (Health, Job losses), U.S (Job losses from Labor dept, health from CDC and JHU). All numbers updated as of May 4th.
  • Obviously, spending on air traffic dropped by about 100%.
  • Spending on hotels, restaurants, and clothing dropped to levels at about 50% (not zero!) of what they usually are during Spring weeks. Obviously e-commerce has boomed, but that’s from very low bases (1–2% of total spending).
  • Spending at supermarkets and pharmacies boomed during a few weeks and have exceeded 2019 spending by roughly 10–15% per week. Again, not very surprising.
  • Spending at building suppliers fell during mid-March to levels at about 80% of their predicted level, after which they delivered a V-shaped return to levels only about a tenth below were it was last year.
  • Household electronics boomed to about 150% of their 2019 levels — and has stayed that for weeks.




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