Demographic impacts of the 1918 influenza pandemic

Professor Siddharth Chandra, Michigan State University will present on this exciting topic Thursday March 18 (16:00-1700 CET).

Please send us an e-mail for the zoom-link at

The 1918 influenza pandemic had a profound impact on populations around the world. This presentation highlights research on pandemic impacts on various aspects of key demographic aggregates in various parts of the world. These include estimating the demographic toll of the pandemic in the absence of reliable birth and death registration data, the timing and magnitude of waves of infection and mortality, the age structure of mortality during the pandemic, and impacts of the pandemic on births and maternal health. Where relevant, lessons are drawn for understanding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.    

Social inequalities in NPI adoption during COVID-19

The second of nine PANSOC webinars this spring will convene on 11th March: Jessica Dimka, S-E Mamelund and Nan Zou Bakkeli, all at Oslo Metropolitan University, will present on “The role of SES in adopting non-pharmaceutical interventions during the first wave of COVID-19 in Norway

Please send e-mail to to get the ZOOM-link for the webinar

Blurb: In the absence of antiviral medications and vaccines to fight the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 governments had to respond by relying on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to control the disease burden. Socioeconomic inequalities likely influenced the ability or willingness of individuals to adopt these measures in both private and work contexts. Using survey data from a representative sample of the Norwegian working population, we study to what extent socioeconomic status as measured by income was a significant predictor of more handwashing, keeping 1m distance from others, using protective equipment such as masks, more use of home office, and less use of public transportation in a private and work context during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter and spring of 2020. With the exception of using protective equipment and using less public transportation in a private context, all analyzed NPIs showed a clear and independent positive association with income controlling for age, sex, region and education. Social disparities in adopting central public health measures suggested by governments may be important drivers for higher risks of infection, hospitalization and mortality for people of lower socioeconomic status, as documented in Norway and several countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet our new Masters Student: Carla Louise Hughes

Carla Louise Hughes is a Masters Student of International Social Welfare and Health Policy, OsloMet. Read more about Carla and our team here: Our team – Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society (PANSOC) (

  • Tell us about your project

I intend on writing an in-depth quantitative master’s thesis regarding the association between the 1918 flu pandemic and suicide rates. The objective of this project will be to quantify existing data regarding the Spanish flu and examine the social effects and health circumstances that occurred during that period. In addition to this, my aim with this project is to assist future research, particularly in aiding forthcoming research regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic.

  • You are starting a project on a historical pandemic in the middle of a current pandemic, how does that feel?

To be starting a project on a historical pandemic, whilst also living through the current COVID-19 pandemic feels remarkably eye opening. I hope that by understanding the 1918 flu pandemic from another perspective and from somewhat personal experience, this will allow me to think more comprehensively about the social issues that occurred during that time.

Beyond this, I personally feel enthusiastic about starting a project on something that is historic, yet current in its own sense. I believe that projects of this nature are exceptionally thought-provoking during the current climate.

  • Why are you doing a masters in Norway and with PANSOC?

As an international student studying International social welfare and health policy, I have a keen interest in social issues and challenges within the health sector. Equally, I have a fascination with data collection and research methods including data analysis and statistics. This combination led me to meet a suitable fit both in Norway and with PANSOC.

In more general terms, I had enjoyed the scenic and peaceful life in Norway prior to deciding to leave my home country to live here. So, I could say that the Norwegian lifestyle was also a contributing factor.

  • What are your plans for a future dream-project in academia?

With a background in Psychology and interest in statistical analysis, I hope that a future dream-project may include some exploration of the current COVID-19 pandemic and mental health issues that coincided with this.

An area of interest could be to observe child development and abilities to read facial cues and expressions as a result of compulsory mask wearing during the pandemic. Other contributing  factors to consider in this project could also be reduced social integration, particularly with other children.

An alternative area of interest may be to focus on older generations and levels of loneliness during the pandemic; predominantly concentrating on those who have or do not have access to technology throughout this time.

The COVID-19 locdown one year later

On the day of the one-year anniversary of the national lockdown, The Winter Seminar for Human Geographers in Norway commemorate the pandemic by inviting you to this engaging panel, where Svenn-Erik Mamelund invites two historians and two geographers to discuss the role of borders in historical and present pandemics.

Friday 12 March, 13:00-14:00 on Zoom
Register for free here, for updates and information:
Join Zoom Meeting: Launch Meeting – Zoom

New paper on the 1918 influenza using Agent Based Modelling

New excellent paper out by the co-leader of The Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society, Jessica Dimka, and long-time collaborator, professor Lisa Sattenspiel at University of Missouri Columbia.

“We didn’t get much schooling because we were fishing all the time”: Potential impacts of irregular school attendance on the spread of epidemics – Dimka – – American Journal of Human Biology – Wiley Online Library

PANSOC webinars spring of 2021 Thursdays 16:00-17:00 (CET)

For ZOOM-link to each of the seminars, please e-mail us at:

Painter: Svenn-Erik Mamelund

25th February: Joel Floris & Kaspar Staub, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM), University of Zurich: The “Pandemic Memory Gap”

11th March 11: Jessica Dimka and S-E Mamelund, both at Oslo Metropolitan University: “The role of SES in adopting non-pharmaceutical interventions during the first wave of COVID-19 in Norway”

18th March: Siddharth Chandra, Michigan State University, USA: “Demographic impacts of the 1918 influenza pandemic”

25th March: Lone Simonsen, Roskilde University, Denmark: “The First Year of the COVID-19 pandemic”

15th April: Rick J. Mourits, International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: “Occupational characteristics and spatial inequalities in mortality during 1918-9 influenza pandemic in the Netherlands”

22nd April: Lisa Sattenspiel, University of Missouri, USA: “Comparing COVID-19 and the 1918 flu in rural vs. urban counties of Missouri”.

29th April: Taylor Paskoff University of Missouri, USA: “Determinants of post-1918 influenza pandemic tuberculosis mortality in Newfoundland”.

6th May: Gerardo Chowell-Puente, Georgia State University, USA: “Comparative analysis of excess mortality patterns during pandemics in Arizona and Mexico”.

20th May: Jessica Dimka, Oslo Metropolitan University: “Disability, Institutionalization, and the 1918 Flu Pandemic: From Historical Records to Simulation Models”. (1600-1730 CET)

10th June: Prof. Erica Charters, University of Oxford, “How epidemics ends”.

PANSOC webinar: The “Pandemic gap”

Joël Floris & Kaspar Staub, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM), University of Zurich, presents on the “Pandemic gap” at PANSOC webinar series 25th February 16:00-17:00 (CET). For ZOOM-link to the seminar, please e-mail us at:

See the full program of 9 webinars this spring here: PANSOC webinars – Centre for Research on Pandemics & Society (PANSOC) (

Blurb: “But as is so often the case in our country, the population is needed. We, dear fellow citizens, have it in our hands”: This public call from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga, on 21 March 2020 for all people to work together to counter the coronavirus pandemic is of utmost relevance because the population and its behaviour are the most important aspect in an epidemic. But experiences of past epidemics in the public at large are insufficient and we postulate a pandemic disaster memory gap, particularly in Switzerland among the general public. Consequently, we are calling for more science communication to a wider public, as well as to policy-makers.

For a short introduction to the concept of “Pandemic memory gap”, please see thus Op-Ed published in in Swiss Medical Weekly 12.11.2020: Swiss Medical Weekly – Op-eds – The “Pandemic Gap” in Switzerland across the 20th century and the necessity of increased science communication of past pandemic experiences (