COVID-19: Identifying the Most Vulnerable Countries Using the GHS Index and Global Flight Data

The Global Health Security (GHS) Index demonstrates that the world is not prepared for epidemics and pandemics. To identify countries that are more vulnerable to the spread of an outbreak like COVID-19, the GHS Index team analyzed a subset of indicators within the GHS Index against global flight data. This model demonstrates country capacity to detect and respond to an emerging outbreak, as well as a country’s risk of introduction to one. The analysis identifies more vulnerable countries—those with the lowest scores for this subset of GHS Index indicators—and plots them against highest travel volume and population.

Using the subset of GHS Index indicators, the team calculated the global average score to be 35.9 out of a possible 100 points. This extremely low average demonstrates how ill-prepared the world is to detect and respond to an emerging outbreak. Of the 195 countries included in the GHS Index, 172 scored even more poorly when assessed on this subset of indicators than when assessed on all the indicators in the overall GHS Index.

Finally, to assess country vulnerability in the face of an outbreak like COVID-19, the country scores were analyzed against the total volume of domestic and international travelers per year, using flight data for all 195 countries.

Learn more about the analysis and results here.

Download the GHS Index to see a full set of 33 recommendations to promote global health security. The GHS Index report offers 33 individual recommendations related to the overarching data findings across its six categories, to include a subset of high-level recommendations which can be found here.

The GHS Index is a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHU) and was developed with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

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