The Covid Performance Index

Mr. Hervé Lemahieu, Research Director at Australia’s Lowy Institute think-tank has produced a “Covid performance index” that tracks the infection rates, tests and deaths in more than 100 countries to see if political systems, economic development or other factors have an impact on a nations’ handling of Covid-19.

His conclusion is there appears to be no common factor that can explain success or failure.

At least Finland and Norway have done well according to his index, but Sweden, Denmark and Germany have not performed as well according to his index methodology, even though we all have similar economies and societies.

What is surprising is that replacing Germany with France, United States, United Kingdom, Spain, or Italy does not change the ranking much! It appears that big countries seem to do badly, and that is probably obvious given their income inequality and lack of robust healthcare systems that are not designed for handling pandemics.

Smaller countries can have better planning and be more resilient if the political system is effective and society less divisive.

Sweden is an interesting exception that is clearly the worse performing of all of the Nordics. The reasons are probably rooted in  a strong feeling that “they know best” at the individual level. Many also treat officialdom as an interference of their god-given freedoms. High levels of income inequality, the advanced privatisation of basic services, and massive immigration have weakened that once famous welfare state. Many a wealthy Swede dresses and behaves like an upper class Englishman! Finns should thank their lucky stars that there are just a few captains of industry who behave in such an unpleasant manner.

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