COVID-19 Testing in Various Countries

Government Response Stringency Index: a composite measure based upon 9 response indicators including school closures, workplace closures, and travel bans, rescaled to a value from 0 to 100 (100 = strictest response). This Government Response Tracker is from the Blavatnik School of Government, a school of public policy, at the University of Oxford.

Our World in Data, a data repository that monitors over 207 countries on important social and economic parameters, has also been collecting data on health issues, lately the COVID-19 statistics. The stringency index for the countries has been binned into six continents. Curiously, there is no central America, and those countries are grouped with North America. This is minor, and also beneficial in a way, because continents such as Europe and Asia have no homogeneity, and it may be better to not compare them with a socioeconomically homogenous continent such as North America that contains the only USA and Canada.

Figure 1

In Figure 1, we can see the histogram of Stringency Index for 30 countries. The countries were chosen in alphabetical order, with names starting with the letters, A, B, and C. This is simple random sampling because there is no order other than alphabetical order. There are three countries in the first three-class intervals, with low stringency index; two countries in the fourth interval, four countries in the fifth interval, and six countries in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth interval. There are three countries in the highest stringency index slab. So at least 25 out of the 30 countries are in the high stringency category.

Figure 2

In Figure 2, we can further see which continents these 30 countries are from. South America has the highest stringency. Africa has moderate stringency colours. Asia scores high but not as high as South America. Europe displays the full range of stringency from low to high. North America, which includes Central America, in this classification, scores from 58.33 upwards. Oceania scores are low, presumably because island nations have some advantage in implementing lockdown policies.

Figure 3

Next, I have compared the stringency index, with the GDP per capita scores of each country. There is no linear association, and the correlation is -0.13 which is not high. In Figure 3, however, one can see a cluster near the far right of the x-axis, which indicates that many high stringency index countries have low gdp_per_capita, although low stringency countries, do not have high gdp_per_capita. This may correlate with the behaviour of the government in many countries.

Dr. Badri Toppur
Associate Professor, Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai
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