Ranking Countries’ COVID-19 Response

As the coronavirus pandemic passes the first year mark, a number of organizations are taking stock and ranking countries COVID-19 response. By fully understanding which approaches have worked and which haven’t, we can understand how to better fight this global tragedy in the weeks, months, and perhaps even, years ahead.

Understanding which countries are handling the pandemic well is important for those who want to be able to begin traveling again.

The Lowry Institute which is an Australian think tank has recently compiled the COVID Ranking Index to determine what impact geography, political systems, population size and economic development has had on outcomes around the world. It is a fascinating look at how individual countries and regions have risen to the challenges of COVID-19.

1Country flag of New ZealandNew Zealand94.4
2Country flag of VietnamVietnam90.8
3Country flag of TaiwanTaiwan86.4
4Country flag of ThailandThailand84.2
5Country flag of CyprusCyprus83.3
6Country flag of RwandaRwanda80.8
7Country flag of IcelandIceland80.1
8Country flag of AustraliaAustralia77.9
9Country flag of LatviaLatvia77.5
10Country flag of Sri LankaSri Lanka76.8

How were the rankings determined?

In approaching the task of measuring the comparative effectiveness of countries’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of criteria are relevant. Fewer reported cases and deaths, both in aggregate and per capita terms, point towards a better response to the virus. More tests conducted on a per capita basis reveal a more accurate picture of the extent of the pandemic at the national level. Lower rates of positive tests, meanwhile, indicate greater degrees of control over the transmission of COVID-19.

To gauge the relative performance of countries at different points in the pandemic, this Interactive tracked six measures of COVID-19 prevalence in countries with publicly available and comparable data. In total, 98 countries were evaluated in this Interactive in the 36 weeks that followed their hundredth confirmed case of COVID-19, using data available to 9 January 2021. Data was extracted from the Our World in Data series, which is maintained by researchers at the University of Oxford and the non-for-profit Global Change Data Lab.

Fourteen-day rolling averages of new daily figures were calculated for the following indicators:

  • 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

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