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Using experimental statistics to monitor of the impact of COVID-19 in Denmark

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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge demand for fast data to measure its impact on society. Statistics Denmark, in collaboration with other members of the national statistical system, has been using new data sources and methods to provide faster indicators of development. These Experimental Statistics, whose methodologies are subject to continuous development and are not part of the official statistics production, can nevertheless be of great value when users demand fast, innovative and reliable measures of development. In the context of the COVID-19 situation, they provide valuable information to understand the pandemic’s impact on consumption, industry, employment, transportation, trade, etc.

COVID-19 Experimental Statistics

Deaths per day

Statistics Denmark publishes deaths-per-day in their StatBank. These are updated every Friday and include all deaths recorded up to and including the previous weekend. Due to the very short interval between the day of occurrence and the date of publication, the figures should be considered provisional and may have minor deviation with quarterly statement of number of deaths. The chart below compares the 10-day moving average of the number of deaths per calendar day in 2020 with the corresponding 2015-19 average. Starting in April 2020, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic appears clearly in the data.

Source: www.statistikbanken.dk/dodc1 and www.statistikbanken.dk/doddag *February 29 was excluded

Covid-19 tests, infections, hospitalization, survival and deaths

Statistics on COVID-19 infections, hospitalization, number of patients in intensive care and on ventilator support, as well as survival and deaths, are compiled based on information from Staten Serum Institute’s monitoring reports. The figures are updated by Statistics Denmark daily on weekdays. Deaths recorded within 30 days of COVID-19 infection are included regardless of whether COVID-19 is the root cause or not. Administrative data from Cause of Death register are used and the figures may be updated as information on deaths become complete. Statistics on the number of infections by age group and geographic location are also available.

Impact of Covid-19 on the economy

Economic sectors

Preliminary figures from the Business Tendency Survey conducted in April 2020 show that the Service and Retail sectors were the worst hit by the pandemic (see the full report). The Business Confidence Indicator also shows a plunge from 96.0 in March to 50.5 in April 2020, a sharper decline than during the financial crisis of 2008. The indicator is a composite index based on data on fours economic sectors, namely industry, constructions, services, and retail. However, industry seems to be not affected by the pandemic as of March which recorded an increase of 10% in revenue from the previous month (see the full report).

Consumption

Credit card and mobile phone payments in Danish and foreign stores are used to produce faster measures of private consumption. Further information on the effect of COVID-19 on consumption are available from this website. The figures are updated weekly.

Employment

Daily statistics on unemployment are compiled based on the number of cash benefit and unemployment benefit recipients, and the total number of unemployed and newly registered unemployed persons. Statistics on the number of total vacancies and new vacancies are also produced as an indicator of the demand side of employment. The information is collected by the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment. Recently published figures show a strong negative effect of COVID-19 on employment.

Transport

From a daily count of vehicles passing through 30 measurement points across the country, transport statistics is compiled which contain figures on total road traffic, passenger cars and vans traffic, and truck traffic. Recent figures show a sharp decline since March 2020. More information is available from the Danish Road Directorate website.

Aviation

Daily statistics on number of commercial flights from Copenhagen Airport are compiled in collaboration with Danmarks Nationalbank, based on data from the OpenSky Network. Recent figures show a sharp decline starting in mid-March which almost reached baseline by the end of the month.

Maritime

Using AIS data available from the Danish Maritime Authority, a ship index is compiled to measure the number of cargo and container ships that have entered Denmark’s ports. Daily figures are available which are updated weekly. More information is available from this website.

International trade (non-EU)

To measure the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on external trade, information from the Customs is used to compile daily indicator of exports to non-EU countries. The figures show that exports remained above 2019 levels. Imports, however, fell in late March but rebounded to 2019 levels in Easter. For more details, see this working paper and the source data.

Modeling the COVID-19 effects on the economy

Statistics Denmark’s model group has developed a module for their economic model (ADAM) to estimate the macroeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The module allows users to input their assumptions about the length and severity of the pandemic to estimate the impact on the economy accordingly. Relief and crisis packages are considered in the model. More information is available from the ADAM website.