Special Report

Countries Doing the Best Job Handling COVID

The war in Ukraine, inflation, the volatile stock market, and other new troubles have been front and center in people’s minds, but although the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a back seat, it is still very much ongoing. And just as opinions differed at the beginning of the pandemic as to the best way to react to the outbreak, opinions continue to differ more than two years later.

Many countries are trying to adjust to life with COVID-19, removing most restrictions. At the same time, others are taking a far stricter stance – like China, which is reimposing total lockdowns in some places. Regardless, every country is dealing with new cases – and, sadly, more deaths – daily. About 61,000 people have died of COVID-19 worldwide in the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins. (These are the countries where the most people have died from COVID-19.)

But some countries are doing a better job than others of handling the pandemic with the least economic and social disruption. Which ones would be the best to visit (or live in) right now?

To find the countries that are doing the best in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Bloomberg’s The Best and Worst Places to Be in a World Divided Over Covid, which ranked 53 economies (52 countries and one Special Administrative Region – Hong Kong) based on their reopening progress and handling of the disease, looking at several measures in three areas: reopening progress, COVID-19 status, and overall quality of life. 

In general, countries that removed most of the restrictions rank higher – for instance Norway, which lifted all travel-related restrictions in February. The U.S. still has some restrictions in place, including the requirement that passengers entering or returning to the U.S. by air show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within a day of their departure for America (or proof of recovery from the disease in the previous 90 days). Similarly, while Norway reports having dispensed nearly 210 COVID-19 vaccine doses per 100,000 people, the U.S. reports far fewer, at 173 per 100,000. (These are the states where the most people are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.)

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Countries with low case and death counts also generally rank highly on the list. The case fatality ratio is under 1% in all of the top 10 countries, with many reporting ratios of less than 0.5%. In Norway, the case fatality ratio is 0.2% (it is 1.3% in the U.S.). And while several of the top countries have comprehensive universal health coverage, the U.S.’s coverage is far less comprehensive. It may not be a surprise, then, that while Norway ranks as the best country, the U.S. ranks 30th. 

It may also not be surprising to find Russia and China at the bottom of the list – but Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, ranks last, as it is currently dealing with a severe outbreak.


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