New tool ranks COVID-19 responses of 19 hard-hit nations

Oct. 8, 2020

The United States ranks ninth out of 19 based on a newly developed tool to evaluate public perception of different countries' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published in PLOS One, and reported by CIDRAP. 

The 10-item COVID-SCORE tool, created and validated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, the City University of New York (CUNY), and other international organizations, was used in mid-June to survey the attitudes of 13,426 randomly selected participants in 19 countries heavily affected by the pandemic on key issues such as governmental messaging, access to health services, and social welfare. 

Mean country score ranged from 35.76 out of 100 points for Ecuador to 80.48 for China. In general, Asian countries garnered better scores than Latin American and European nations. 

Country scores were strongly tied to the level of people's public trust in their government, with higher scores reflecting higher levels of trust. Lower scores were associated with higher COVID-19 death rates or proportion of participants directly affected by the virus, in addition to low levels of trust. 

The United States' composite score was 50.57, with 773 respondents. At 3.16 out of 5, the country's income, food, and shelter aid were the highest-rated facet of its pandemic response, while it was among the lowest in most countries. Notably, the poll was administered soon after US government stimulus checks were distributed in the spring. 

However, at 3.03 of 5, the United States ranked 17th out of 19 on the topic of government cooperation with other nations and global agencies such as the World Health Organization, while this facet received the highest score across all countries (3.53). This finding is not surprising, given that the Trump administration has pulled its financial support of the organization. 

In contrast, at 3.46 out of 5, Spain was rated highest on its international cooperation; its lowest score (2.09) was for access to free, reliable COVID-19 testing in people with symptoms. Across all countries, access to mental healthcare received the lowest average score: 2.79. 

CIDRAP has the report

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