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Exploring the impact of social distance in the fight against COVID-19


  • Almeida, Fernando

    (Instituto Superior Polit├ęcnico Gaya)


The social distancing measures imposed in some European countries had significant effects on the behaviour of the evolution curves of the number of cases and deaths due to COVID-19. This study addresses the case of Portugal and Sweden because they have imposed quite heterogeneous social distancing measures. The study adopts a quantitative methodology through the correlational analysis between the measures of mobility restriction and their effects on the number of patients and deaths with COVID-19 during the period from the beginning of March to the end of May 2020. The findings indicate that although the number of confirmed cases is similar in both countries, the number of deaths recorded in Sweden was three times higher than in Portugal. This is mainly due to the higher number of tests carried out in Portugal and the strong measures to restrict mobility implemented mainly during the state of emergency, which has slowed the growth rate of the contagion curve. Nevertheless, in both countries, the elderly population was strongly affected with around 40% to 50% of deaths being registered in homes.

Suggested Citation

  • Almeida, Fernando, 2020. "Exploring the impact of social distance in the fight against COVID-19," BizEcons Quarterly, Strides Educational Foundation, vol. 12, pages 3-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:buecqu:0026

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    More about this item


    COVID-19; Mobility; infection rate; death rate;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • P46 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty


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