Prime Ministers’ Jacinda Arden Australia and Scott Morrison continue to top the Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRID) index; which ranks a country’s leadership response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USA, led by President Donald Trump fares abysmally and is placed last in the rankings.The results are published in a paper titled GRIDTM Index 2: Ostrich Leadership and Ostrich Reactions by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (Australia). The GRID index is designed to rank how efficiently and effectively the leadership of the country and its health system were in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The first iteration was released in April, and received world-wide media coverage.
Dr Chris D’Souza, the principle developer of the GRID index observes that, “The difference between good and bad leadership will be the difference between life and death for many people. The good leaders have put the health of their citizens above all other concerns; the bad leaders seem to have mixed motives juggling between the economy and health; the ugly leaders have been affected by a mix of authoritarianism, over-confidence, self-interest and mostly the ‘ostrich effect’ in their response.”
The countries that have performed well have formed an exclusive ‘first movers club’. This club consists of Denmark, Norway, Greece, the Czech Republic, Israel, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. The first movers club has been formed to learn from each other’s experiences and exchange ideas on the road ahead. Dr D’Souza states that says that, “These countries have come out of the crisis with ‘flying colours’; and are now cautiously reopening their economies. It is no surprise that most of these countries are currently highly placed on the GridTM Index.”
The response of all four BRIC countries to the pandemic, Brazil, Russia, India and China are ranked in the ‘Bad Responses” category on the index; whilst the UK, USA, Italy and Spain are ranked in the ‘Ugly’ category. The USA is placed as last of all countries ranked due mainly to the Trump administration’s self-centred, haphazard, and tone-deaf response to the pandemic that will end up costing Americans trillions of dollars and thousands of otherwise preventable deaths.
Dr D’Souza agrees with the summary given by President Obama who said: “It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’, when that mindset is operationalised in our government”.
Dr D’Souza recognizes that that ranking countries on leadership response is highly complex. The numbers of both infection rates and fatalities seem to vary, often inexplicably, between countries. COVID-19 has touched almost every country on earth, but its impact has seemed capricious. Global metropolises such as New York, Paris and London have been devastated, while teeming cities such as Bangkok, Baghdad, New Delhi and Lagos have – so far – largely been spared.
He says, “The question of why the virus has overwhelmed some places and left others relatively untouched is a puzzle that has spawned numerous theories and speculations but no definitive answers. The more we get to understand this complexity, the more we can fine tune our GridTM Index algorithm.”
Dr D’Souza concludes that, “When a society laments the loss of an economy over the loss of humanity, it doesn’t need a virus, it’s already dead”
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Dr Chris D’Souza