Coronapandemin – en smygande kris vintern 2020


  • Magnus Ekengren
  • Alina Engström
  • Mark Rhinard


The Covid-19 pandemic: A creeping crisis for Sweden, winter 2020

Why did the Swedish Government fail to act earlier against the Covid-19-virus in the light of the many foreshadowing outbreaks in China and in Italy and other EU Member States? With the help of the concept creeping crisis ("smygande kris"), this article analyses the tardiness with which the Swedish authorities acted to prevent the spread of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic (January – February 2020). The term refers to the phenomenon of belated measures despite extensive knowledge of slow-acting threats with sudden outbursts such as pandemics and global warming. The article explains the procrastination of Swedish actions as a result of psychological repression (“it couldn’t happen here in our country”), as well as cognitive delays that meant that understanding the threat evolution in the abstract did not spur action in proportion to the insight (“we saw it coming, but didn’t act until we felt it in our everyday life”). It ends by discussing possible ways to create more practically and temporally informed knowledge (“know-how”, “know-when”) of creeping crises for the generation of timely actionable to stop these before they explode into acute crises.