Lowy Institute Scores India 86th of 98 Countries on COVID Response

India scores near the bottom of a COVID-19 performance index out of 100 countries in response to the pandemic.

3 min read
India scores near the bottom of a performance index on COVID response. 

India scores near the bottom of a COVID-19 performance index where almost 100 countries were profiled for their response to the pandemic.

The Lowy Institute published its index on Thursday, 28 January, and New Zealand, Vietnam, and Taiwan appear as the top three countries with the best worldwide handling of the crisis. Meanwhile, Britain, Brazil, and the US rank among the bottom.

Overall, countries in the Asia-Pacific did a better job at controlling the pandemic while Europe and the US were “quickly overwhelmed.”

China was excluded from the list as the Lowy Institute cited a lack of credible public data.

Top 6 countries on the list
Top 6 countries on the list
(Photo: Lowy Institute)

The Institute evaluated 98 countries post their 100th confirmed case of COVID-19 and used publically available data till 9 January 2021. As of mid-January, there are 90 million confirmed cases across 190 countries and two million deaths from the infection.

India at rank 86.
India at rank 86.
(Photo: Lowy Institute)

India & COVID: Surviving a Hard Year

2020 was unprecedented for the entire world, as we grappled with an infectious pandemic and an ‘info-demic’ where counter-narratives and fake news spread like wildfire.

The Lowy Institute analysed how countries fared as their institutions, healthcare, and emergency responses were put to the test.

How was the data measured? As per the Institute, fourteen-day rolling averages of daily numbers for the following six measures were tracked:

  • Confirmed cases
  • Confirmed deaths
  • Confirmed cases per million people
  • Confirmed deaths per million people
  • Confirmed cases as a proportion of tests
  • Tests per thousand people

Then an average of these indicators was calculated for individual countries in each period and “normalised to produce a score from 0 (worst performing) to 100 (best performing).”

COVID-19 Performance Across Populations

Countries on the list were sorted into broad categories – regions, political systems, population size, and economic development – to see if these had an impact on the handling of the crisis.

For example, it found that counties with a larger population of 100 million people or more had a harder time handling the crisis.

“Most countries with populations of more than 100 million people descended relatively quickly into the throes of the virus, with few signs of overall improvement, even by the beginning of 2021. Central governments of more populous countries face the challenging task of mitigating the spread of the virus among a greater number of people separated by fewer hard borders. Additionally, the higher prevalence of COVID-19 in more populous states may be related to the increased likelihood of those countries having one or more ‘mega cities’ with populations over 10 million. Densely inhabited urban areas – often highly globalised, such as New York, Tokyo and New Delhi – proved to be early incubators of the coronavirus.”
The Lowy Institute

For us, densely populated cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi had a tough time at the peak of the pandemic.

(This story was first published on FIT and has been republished with permission.)

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