The First Year of the COVID-19 pandemic

On the 25th of March (16:00-17:00 CET), Professor Lone Simonsen, Roskilde University, will present on “The First Year of the COVID-19 Pndemic” at the 4th PANSOC webinar this spring.

Image result for Lone Simonsen. Size: 163 x 110. Source:

Send e-mail to if you wish to participate in this webinar.

Blurb: One year ago, many European countries including Denmark went into an unprecedented lockdown.  So far we have been able to suppress transmission of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus to such an extent that less than 1 in 10 Danes have been infected so far.  And in a few months we will all be offered one of the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines that became available in record time.  Is that then the end of the pandemic? I will first discuss the knowns about the COVID-19 pandemic. First, about the collaboration with Kim Sneppen at the NBI regarding the phenomenon of superspreading, and modeling how this defining feature of the virus turns out to be an Achilles heel of the virus that has allowed effective suppression of epidemics of the virus while we waited for a vaccine.  Using Denmark as a case, I will consider the magnitude of the catastrophe that we managed to avoid so far.  Finally I will discuss accumulating data on the effectiveness of the vaccines, and discuss at various scenarios regarding our future life with COVID-19 in the vaccine era and the critical unknowns that cloud our view.

New Paper out!

The Centre leader, Svenn-Erik Mamelund, and co-centre leader, Jessica Dimka, has published an invited comment article in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

The comment is basically explaining the core idea of PANSOC. Here is a quote from the article:

“During pandemics like COVID-19, socioeconomic inequalities produce disparities in both disease outcomes & potential negative consequences of control measures. Preparedness and response plans must address social & medical risk factors”.

You can read the article in full here: Social inequalities in infectious diseases – Svenn-Erik Mamelund, Jessica Dimka, 2021 (

Sosial ulikhet i smitte selv i en av Norges rikeste kommuner

Journalistene i Budstikka har gjort en god gravejobb og viser at innen en av Norges rikeste kommuner så finne store sosiale skiller i smittestatistikken. Artikkelen graver inn selve fundamenmtet for PANSOC. Hvorfor fordeler vi ikke vaksiner etter sosiale forhold, og ikke bare etter medisinske forhold (høy alder og bakenforliggende sykdommer) og folketall? Geografisk skjefordeling tar indirekte, men ikke direkte høyde for underliggende sosial sårbarhet.

Les mer her i intervjuet med senterlederen: Stort smitteskille mellom øst og vest • Budstikka

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.