A Safer World after Vaccination against COVID-19, Government Responses and Health Outcomes: A Comparative Study
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During the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, world governments were split between the herd immunity strategy and that of strict social distancing. Health outcomes of 14 countries analyzed revealed unexpectedly high levels of deaths due to the disease, particularly among those countries which relaxed control as early as April 2020. Public health experts predicted that the COVID-19 Pandemic, though mutated into Delta, would come to an end in mid-2021 when vaccination became available. Unfortunately, the situation was more complicated and disappointing as the coronavirus mutated further into another generation. Omicron spread faster but was less fatal than the Delta, some early records showed. Some countries therefore have declared that the Pandemic was over while China, sticking to its zero infection policy, was still fighting to contain the Omicron variant. As Hong Kong has lost 3875 lives in the spring of 2022, a similar death rate projected for China would be astronomical. In China, the public health crisis has been prolonged, policies of social distancing remain upheld, and international doors cannot be opened. This study reviewed government responses and health performances of 14 countries in 2020, 2021, and early 2022. The 3 periods were characterized by the impact of COVID-19, Delta, and Omicron. Major indicators analyzed include data from Government Responses and Stringency Index developed by Oxford Tracker and health data provided by the WHO and John Hopkins University. Effects on economies and health care financing, mostly reported by the Economist Intelligence Unit, were also discussed.
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