Why Did the Best Prepared Country in the World Fare So Poorly during COVID?
AbstractThough all countries struggled to respond to COVID-19, the United States' poor performance during the pandemic was unexpected. Despite having more pandemic preparedness capacities than other countries, the United States experienced more than one million COVID-19 deaths, which has contributed to historic declines in national life expectancy. Though some have raised questions as to whether preparedness capacities matter, data that appropriately address cross-country differences in age structure and surveillance approaches show that higher levels of national preparedness was associated with reduced mortality during the pandemic. The United States, however, stands out as a clear outlier in COVID-19 mortality comparisons with other highly prepared countries. We subsequently discuss and summarize the specific gaps in US pandemic preparedness that may have hampered COVID-19 responses in the country. Additional data and research are urgently needed to more accurately understand why the US did not make better use of its prepandemic advantages.
CitationNuzzo, Jennifer B., and Jorge R. Ledesma. 2023. "Why Did the Best Prepared Country in the World Fare So Poorly during COVID?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, 37 (4): 3-22. DOI: 10.1257/jep.37.4.3
- H51 National Government Expenditures and Health
- I12 Health Behavior
- I18 Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health