The Effect of Social Distancing Measures on the Demand for Intensive Care: Evidence on COVID-19 in Scandinavia

15 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020

See all articles by Steffen Juranek

Steffen Juranek

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science

Floris Zoutman

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Understanding the effectiveness of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19 is crucial to justify economically costly social distancing measures. We present a case study focusing on the three Scandinavian countries. Whereas Denmark and Norway imposed relatively strict measures, Sweden follows an extraordinarily lenient approach. We use an event-study approach in which Sweden serves as a counterfactual to Denmark/Norway to estimate the measures' effectiveness. We estimate that in the counterfactual in which Denmark/Norway implemented Sweden's more lenient measures the number of hospitalizations would have peaked between around 15-20 days later. The peak number of hospitalizations in Denmark (Norway) would have been 133 (231) percent higher, and the peak number of ICU patients would have increased by 107 (140) percent.

Keywords: COVID-19, social distancing, intensive care, case study

JEL Classification: I180, I120, H120

Suggested Citation

Juranek, Steffen and Zoutman, Floris, The Effect of Social Distancing Measures on the Demand for Intensive Care: Evidence on COVID-19 in Scandinavia (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8262, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594014

Steffen Juranek (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Floris Zoutman

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

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