COVID Misery and Response Rankings

Canada’s Macdonald-Laurier Institute created a COVID Misery Index. They compared the misery experienced by Canada against 14 other nations.

They used 16 measures for which there is sufficient data from the comparison countries and divide them into three broad categories:
disease misery, which looks at data related to the direct impact of COVID-19 on populations;
response misery, which reflects the recommendations and restrictions implemented by governments; and
economic misery, which measures the financial impact of lockdowns and borrowing on individuals and governments.

There have been the widely followed metrics COVID cases, COVID ICU cases and COVID deaths per million.

It should be noted that countries self-report COVID metrics. It is certain that many countries and regions have bad records and most are reporting false metrics. COVID metrics are highly political. Most countries in Africa do not have a general population census. Many countries do not want to count the growth of minority populations. China has delayed reporting its 2020 population census because they do not want to admit to a declining population or rapidly declining population growth.

Deaths are not properly counted or recorded in many countries. Countries that have virtually no medical system where births cannot be kept clean with $1 to $2 kits are unable to determine if there are COVID deaths.

In richer countries with high-quality mortality reporting systems nearly 100% of deaths are registered, but in many low- and middle-income countries undercounting of mortality is a serious issue. The UN estimates that only two-thirds of countries register at least 90% of all deaths that occur, and some countries register less than 50% — or even under 10% — of deaths. Mortality data is usually provisional and incomplete in the weeks, months, and even years after a death occurs.

The level of the problem can be determined by seeing that South Africa is reporting the highest COVID cases and COVID deaths. South Africa has better per capita income and has a medical system. Are the other African countries virtually immune to COVID or are they failing to count, unable to count or unwilling to count or unwilling to report true numbers.

In 1918, the Spanish flu was hitting the USA and other European countries. Spain was almost the only country openly reporting its flu cases because Spain was neutral in WW1. Warring nations hid reports or downplayed them.

MLI also looks at excess death metrics from Our World in Data. Excess mortality age 15+ and excess mortality for 85+. Theses measure captures the change in mortality rate from the same week of the previous year for all individuals aged 15 and above or 85 and above. Nations locked down to free up capacity in hospitals in anticipation of a large influx of COVID-19 admissions, other health care needs were postponed or canceled. These actions could and did often cause increased mortality. This measure captures the average difference between the same week in the previous year and is averaged across the duration of the pandemic.

Excess death metrics can also be gamed but might be less likely to be gamed. Very few people are looking at the excess death metrics.

The Australian Lowy Institute created a systemic ranking system for COVID impact and response by countries.

SOURCES – MLI, Lowy Institute, World in Data,
Written by Brian Wang,

7 thoughts on “COVID Misery and Response Rankings”

  1. No, any remotely fair-minded person would see that most of the blame falls on:

    A. the Chinese government for having bad lab biosecurity (even NYT acknowledges it was a lab leak now)
    B. The CDC for telling people to NOT wear a mask early in the pandemic, back when containing it was still possible.
    C. The FDA for not permitting human challenge trials to get the vaccines ready by May 2020, then not authorizing AstraZenica, then pulling J&J for stupid reasons.

  2. Here in Western Australia, we have a population of 2.5 million. We had nine deaths in the initial outbreak. We have had no deaths in the last 11 months. We have had 2 weeks of lockdown in the last 11 months.

  3. I am not a Liberal by any stretch. One does not have to be a Liberal, just educated, to recognize that Trump is a buffoon. And, no, I am not enamored with Biden. Neither Party has brought any acceptable candidate to the podium, for several cycles. I thought Bill Clinton did a reasonable job especially in his second term. But for a great President you have to go back to Eisenhower. I am also a big fan of Taft. No one mentiones Taft. That is sad oversight.
    It is strange that some "conservatives" are very militaristic about protecting American interests, but can't stand the idea of curtailing anyone's freedom for a few months to protect lives at home where it really matters. They shout "Constitution" without a clue. What happened to "All enemies foreign and domestic" and check out the preamble of the US Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
    common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." A big chunk of "Welfare" is health and wellness.

    Sorry, the concession of "somewhat" when we had 4x more deaths/capita shows your lack of objectivity, the failure of your math education, or your lack of value of human life.

    It is the defiant mask resisters, mask danglers, & self-quarintine shirkers that killed their fellow Americans.

  4. Overall, any COVID statistical study fails on GIGO principles. Besides the issues noted with data collection in the Third World and police states, the only statistic that is being gathered at the same level with the same definition globally is excess deaths. Different countries use different cycle counts on the COVID tests to diagnose cases and rules for declaring COVID as cause of death also vary.

  5. I knew we would get a lib throwing a tantrum about this one. A more broad consideration of the impact of covid interferes with the lib's religious belief that the only way to talk about covid is to say "orange man bad" a million times. Canada has had an extremely heavy handed response to covid, which does reduce infections somewhat. But the emergence of an extreme police state also has negative consequences for people.

  6. So, by their ridiculous calculation, Canada suffered more than the the US? Preposterous. 462 deaths/million in Canada. 1,781 deaths/million in the U.S. And obviously in absolute deaths 24,396 vs 593,409 the families in the US have lost a lot more relatives.
    Amazing how people can twist statistics to get the result they want.
    And Canada did not have an administration playing down everything, so it was hard to tell what was really happening. Phony cures everywhere and promoted by the President… People encouraged to not wear masks… To act like cocky morons.
    The UK did some of the same stupidity.
    No need for a misery index. Deaths per capita tells the story quite well as long as the deaths are counted. Russia has an under count, India will likely be under counted (it is possible they could make some corrections). As things stand, I have to go with the numbers and say Hungary has had it the worst. I do think Italy, France and Spain had more terror, because at the time, no one knew just how bad things could get. And if you caught it early on, there was a substantial risk of death, because less was known about how to treat it. NY too, had quite a bit of uncertainty and fear…but most of the US was much less affected early on. 2,909 deaths/million in Hungary. That is worse than New York and New Jersey. And that is their whole country. I haven't seen any stories about it there, but it must be dreadful.
    Canadian suffering? How self-absorbed can this "institute" get?

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