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The World Health Organisation (WHO) would like to accord its gratitude to the Government of Malaysia and PEMANDU Associates for its independent efforts at developing a daily-updated Global COVID-19 Index (GCI) that tracks the severity and recovery of different member states from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen its potential in helping identify best practices amongst member states, with clear evidence in the form of the 118-page Global Pathfinder Health Best Practices report that they have produced together with Delivery Associates. We believe the tool will be powerful at helping to identify potential member states at risk and further best practices, particularly for those facing second or third waves of the pandemic. It is for that reason that we have provided our technical insights to help improve the underlying methodology further. Input from the WHO technical team have been incorporated into the GCI, so that it becomes a powerful tool to help in the global fight against COVID-19.


However, given the GCI functions on a ranking system, we at WHO would not recommend looking at the absolute rankings as it creates potential sensitivities amongst member states. We would instead encourage that users use the GCI for its altruistic intent, which are to identify clusters of member states that have best practices to glean from.


We keenly look forward to any future enhancements that the Government of Malaysia and PEMANDU Associates have committed to put into the GCI moving forward.



The GCI Methodology Explained

The GCI is driven fully by big data, and the index scores 180 countries / WHO Member States on how well they are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.


The intent of the GCI Index is to enable countries to compare their relative performance against other countries which then enables the identification of appropriate best practices from the successful nations. In order to develop a relative score, the GCI utilises the min-max method. This statistical method assigns a score between 0-100 that considers the data point’s relationship to the rest of the sample size. We have also built in checks to identify and manage outliers that may skew the sample set.


The Global COVID-19 Index (GCI)’s Severity and Recovery Indexes have a weightage of 70% that is dynamic and changing daily.


The WHO Validated Methodology applies 30% scoring driven by semi-dynamic information that is based on WHO’s Triple Billions Indices (covering Universal Health Coverage, Health Emergencies Protection and Healthier Populations) and sub-components from the European Commission’s (EU) Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) INFORM Risk Index.


Meanwhile, the Legacy GCI Methodology’s 30% component score is driven by static information currently derived from specific categories of the Global Health Security Index.



The GCI Recovery Index

The GCI Recovery Index is designed to evaluate the main recovery parameters that are being reported daily to give a clear indication of how a country is performing on its path to recovery in relative comparison to other countries.


WHO Validated Methodology:


The following key dynamic parameters over the past 90 days contributes 70% of the Recovery Index:


  • Active Cases per Population
    This parameter is calculated by removing recoveries and deaths from the total confirmed cases. It also visually enables the representation of the actual flattening and reduction of the epidemic curve.
  • Recoveries per Confirmed Case
    This parameter factors a country’s success in treating patients that have been diagnosed COVID-19 positive.
  • Tests Conducted per Confirmed Case
    This reflects how much a country has invested in large scale testing, the latter of which is represented by a country doing a high number of cases to identify a single positive case.
  • Country Measures on Testing and Contact Tracing
    We utilise the data from Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) by the Blavatnik School of Government of Oxford University. The OxCGRT tracks the ongoing Testing and Contact Tracing Policies implemented by Governments of each country.

The remaining 30% consist of semi-dynamic components derived from the WHO’s Triple Billions Indices and specific sub-components from the European Commission’s (EU) Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) INFORM Risk Index. These Indices are updated at least once on an annual basis.


The seven semi-dynamic parameters used are:


  • WHO Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Billion
    The UHC Billion aims to ensure that an additional 1 billion people receive the quality health services they need without financial hardship. It uses both Average Service Coverage and Financial Hardship as its key components. This data will be updated on an annual basis from all WHO Member States.
  • WHO Health Emergencies Protection (HEP) Billion
    The HEP Billion aims for 1 billion more people to be better protected from health emergencies. Its key indicators rely on IHR State Party Self-assessment Annual Reporting (SPAR), vaccine coverage of at-risk groups for epidemic- or pandemic-prone diseases; and timely detection and response to potential health emergencies. This data will be updated on an annual basis from all WHO Member States.
  • WHO Healthier Populations (HPOP) Billion
    The HPOP Billion goal is for 1 billion more people to enjoy better health and well-being. The HPOP Billion marks the first time that WHO has created a single measure of change in the domain of the behavioural, environmental and socially determined healthiness of global populations. It utilises 16 subindicators which are linked to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO’s resolution WHA66.10. This data will also be updated on an annual basis from all WHO Member States.
  • INFORM Socio-Economic Vulnerability Score
    The INFORM Soci-Economic Vulnerability Score ranks countries on their level of development, inequality and dependency on foreign aid. A higher score indicates a higher vulnerability that the member state is exposed to, and will mean they are at a higher risk should a pandemic affect them. We apply this directly to the GCI Severity Index but inverse it for the GCI Recovery Index.
  • INFORM Governance Score
    The Governance score is derived from two lenses; the Government Effectiveness Index and Corruption Perception Index. This is a measure of existing country’s Governance mechanisms to effectively respond to a national-level hazard such as a health epidemic. A higher score indicates that a country’s existing governance will likely be more effective in handling COVID-19. We apply this directly to the GCI Recovery Index but inverse it for the GCI Severity Index.
  • INFORM Communication Infrastructure Score
    The Communication and Infrastructure score considers Electricity, Internet, Mobile Cellular Access and Literacy Rates. This is a measure of how quickly and widespread public communication efforts can reach a country’s population. A higher score indicates better infrastructure. We apply this directly to the GCI Recovery Index but inverse it for the GCI Severity Index.
  • INFORM Physical Connectivity Score
    The Physical Connectivity score considers Road Density, Water and Sanitation Access. This is a measure of how easy it will be for a country’s population to connect to needed utilities and also for help to reach them. A higher score indicates better infrastructure. We apply this directly to the GCI Recovery Index but inverse it for the GCI Severity Index

Legacy Methodology:


The following key dynamic parameters since the start of the pandemic in January 2020 contributes 70% of the Recovery Index:


  • Active Cases per Population
    This parameter is calculated by removing recoveries and deaths from the total confirmed cases. It also visually enables the representation of the actual flattening and reduction of the epidemic curve.
  • Recoveries per Confirmed Case
    This parameter factors a country’s success in treating patients that have been diagnosed COVID-19 positive.
  • Tests Conducted per Confirmed Case
    This reflects how much a country has invested in large scale testing, the latter of which is represented by a country doing a high number of cases to identify a single positive case.
  • Tests Conducted per Population
    This reflects how large a percentage of population has been tested and gives confidence to a country on its ability to lift restrictions.

The remaining 30% consist of static scores derived from the Global Health Security Index (GHS), an initiative led by the Johns Hopkins University that was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The GHS was developed to assess a country’s readiness to cope and handle any epidemic.


The reason for the GHS score inclusion is to ensure that there is a way to compare the relative performance of two countries that may be experiencing identical case numbers, but actually have different inherent capabilities to handle the epidemic.


The three parameters used are the:


  • GHS Category 2 (Early Detection & Reporting of Epidemics)
    This measures a country’s ability to detect the presence of an epidemic in its borders.
  • GHS Category 3 (Rapid Response to Mitigate the Spread of an Epidemic)
    This measures a country’s ability to communicate and disseminate information to its people.
  • GHS Category 4 (Health Infrastructure and System to Treat the Sick and Protect Health Workers)
    This aggregates key health data such as beds per population, doctors per population, and access to basic healthcare.

The GCI Severity Index

WHO Validated Methodology:


The GCI Severity Index is designed to exhibit the most recent ‘scarring’ characteristics so that countries that have been affected badly from a health perspective by COVID-19 can be compared with countries that have been similarly affected, and yet have been able to recover.


The data used by the WHO Validated Methodology utilises the most recent 90-days data to more accurately reflect the changing circumstances the individual Member States are facing.


The following key dynamic parameters contributes 70% of the Severity Index:


  • Confirmed Cases per Population
    This parameter is intended to ensure cases are seen in relative to the size of each country
  • Proportionate Death Rate due to COVID-19
    This parameter takes into consideration the crude death rates of each country and factors its population size, and then compares this to the death rates due to COVID-19 over the past 90-days in the country. This enables relative comparison to the death rate had COVID-19 not struck the country.

The remaining 30% consist of semi-dynamic components derived from the WHO’s Triple Billions Indices and specific sub-components from the European Commission’s (EU) Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) INFORM Risk Index. These Indices are updated at least once on an annual basis. The inverse score of the components calculated by the GCI Recovery Index (refer above) is utilized in the WHO Validated Methodology.


Legacy Version:


The GCI Severity Index of the Legacy Methodology is designed to exhibit ‘scarring’ characteristics so that countries that have been affected badly from a health perspective by COVID-19 can be compared with countries that have been similarly affected, and yet have been able to recover.


As such, the Legacy Methodology applies data from the start of the pandemic since January 2020 instead of limiting to the latest 90-days applied in the WHO Validated Methodology.


The following key dynamic parameters contributes 70% of the Severity Index:


  • Confirmed Cases per Population
    This parameter is intended to ensure cases are seen in relative to the size of each country since the start of the pandemic.
  • Proportionate Death Rate due to COVID-19
    This parameter takes into consideration the crude death rates of each country and factors its population size, and then compares this to the death rates due to COVID-19 since the first case was reported in the country. This gives a true reflection of how death rates are being affected by COVID-19 in these countries.

The remaining 30% consist of static scores derived from the Global Health Security Index (GHS), an initiative led by the Johns Hopkins University that was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The GHS was developed to assess a country’s readiness to cope and handle any epidemic.


The reason for the GHS score inclusion is to ensure that there is a way to compare the relative performance of two countries that may be experiencing identical case numbers, but actually have different inherent capabilities to handle the epidemic.


The two static parameters used are:


  • GHS Category 1 (Preventing the emergence or release of pathogens)
    This measures a country’s ability to prevent an epidemic.
  • GHS Sub-category 6.5 (Public health vulnerabilities)
    This measures how vulnerable a country’s public health system is to an epidemic should the latter occur.

The GCI Microsite has 3 main sections:


GCI Global Dashboard
 

Get a global perspective of the COVID-19 status, through visual interactive maps showing 184 countries’ progress towards recovery. The GCI Global Dashboard also shows the full list of all 184 countries Severity and Recovery rating scores.

 

What the Global Dashboard covers:

 
  1. Recovery and Severity Index maps
  2. Lockdown and Recommended Relaxation Maps
  3. Country Comparison Matrix
  4. Ranking of Countries by Recovery Index
GCI Country Dashboard
 

Get a selectable view for 184 countries on their individual Recovery and Severity Indexes / Ratings. The GCI Country Dashboard gives you a more in-depth look at the latest Active Case curve, daily confirmed cases, daily recoveries and daily deaths, and stringency scores for each country.

 
Key GCI Analytics
 

A daily update of key data points that are not commonly considered – all towards a more instructive view of the COVID-19 scenario.

 

In addition, the GCI also gives you country matching functionality, allowing individual countries to identify other countries around the world sharing similar characteristics such as population, average population density, income levels and general climate.

What it is

The GCI has been built to visually track countries and regions that are recovering better than others in terms of population size and efforts being undertaken to treat and test for COVID-19.


How it works

The GCI Recovery index factors information on recovery rates, active cases per population, and the amount of standardised and consistent testing the individual countries currently conduct. It also takes into consideration countries’ previously evaluated ability to detect, respond and treat those that have been infected with any epidemic based on the publicly available Global Health Security Index published in October 2019.

The dynamic data used by the GCI is updated daily based on recoveries and test information for each country.



How it can be used

Countries with a higher recovery rating have made significant strides in being able to consider relaxation of restrictions. This is of particular interest once neighbouring regions achieve similar levels of recovery and becomes indicative of when it may be possible to relax border restrictions in a very targeted manner.

It also enables countries to actively seek out best practices from those performing better in their recoveries.

What it is

The Severy Rating Map allows you to visually track countries that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 from a health perspective in relation their population size and also additional mortality as a result of COVID-19 in comparison to normal.


How it works

The GCI Severity Index factors information on proportionate death rates due to COVID-19 and confirmed cases as a factor of the country’s population. It also utilises data from the publicly available Global Health Security Index published in October 2019 to score for the categories of detection and public health system vulnerabilities.

The GCI Severity Index looks into daily confirmed cases and deaths, but also factors in data on national mortality rates to paint a proper picture of how badly affected the country has been from a health perspective.



How it can be used

The Severity Index was designed to be a scarring parameter so that countries that are still struggling to cope with the epidemic can refer to countries that have been similarly badly affected but have recovered for best practices.

What it is

How and when should countries ease or ramp up their lockdown efforts? The map gives a quick glance into the various countries’ strictness in containment and closure methods currently employed. It also enables a visual tracking of which countries have borders closed regardless of recovery progress made.


How it works

The lockdown map utilises information compiled by the Oxford University’s Coronavirus Government Response Tracker to assist in visualising the current severity of lockdowns employed around the world.


How it can be used

With on potential regions that may have commenced concurrent relaxation of restriction. This will be an early precursor to potential travel bubbles that can be considered by neighbouring governments and businesses.

What it is

The map is a visualisation combining the GCI’s indicative recommendation if stringent measures being deployed by countries can already be relaxed based on clear guidelines set by WHO.


How it works

The recommendation by individual country level is developed by combining analysis from the GCI Recovery index, compliance to the World Health Organisation’s relaxation criteria and information from the Oxford University’s Coronavirus Government Response Tracker. It is updated dynamically on a daily basis to reflect the latest information on the COVID-19 transmissions and active cases.


How it can be used

The GCI aims to give Governments a potential indicative recommendation based on the data on whether relaxation of measures can be considered. It also aims to give an indicative look on when some countries may have no choice but to balance out economic factors and health factors hopes of keeping livelihoods of its people going.

What it is

The GCI aims to give a daily update on whether the world at large is indeed flattening the COVID-19 curve.


How it works

The GCI aggregates the total number of cases, recoveries and deaths daily from 184 countries to determine if active cases have flat-lined and are in decline.


How it can be used

This visual representation is aimed at answering the question about whether the world in its entirety is positively recovering from COVID-19.

What it is

The visualisation allows countries to compare themselves against others which have suffered similar levels of severity (y-axis – the higher the more severe), and are able to recover (x-axis – the further left the more recovered).

It also enables countries to see if they are making progress on a daily basis towards positive recovery.



How it works

The Country Comparison Matrix is developed from both the GCI Severity and Recovery Indexes and is updated on a daily basis.


How it can be used

This tool is currently being developed to enable interactive tracking of a country’s progress on both the GCI severity and recovery indexes. It also helps Governments identify countries which have suffered similar intensities of the COVID-19 epidemic and can potentially be referred to as more targeted best practice countries.

What it is

The top 20 GCI Recovery Index countries are listed here daily.



How it works

The table is sortable and searchable and is updated to reflect the daily rankings from a Recovery Index perspective.


How it can be used

The table allows for individual countries to be quickly searched to see their relative ranking. The table is clickable to bring you through the detailed GCI Country Dashboards for the respective countries.

What it is

This table contains data which has been analysed by the GCI following consultations with recognised academics, medical professionals and epidemiologists that have provided constructive feedback into the GCI. The data shown in this table are part of the dynamic parameters updated daily and used in generating the GCI Severity and Recovery scores.



How it works

The data shown is calculated using information from the Johns Hopkins University, Oxford University, World Bank, World Health Organisation and United Nations. The information is updated daily to reflect the changes in active case tracking on COVID-19.


How it can be used

This data will potentially allow for policy makers to compare their countries with other countries to see how they rank on parameters not commonly aggregated for 184 countries. It also opens up possibilities of academic research to determine correlation and regression analyses.

What it is

This table is generated by a GCI-developed tool to match countries based on their similar characteristics such as population, population density, income and climate.



How it works

The matching is calculated by a GCI-developed tool that considers key country parameters for comparison to find other countries with similar characteristics. The tool is being developed further to consider interactive changes to the parameters in the future.


How it can be used

Governments can use the GCI to quickly determine similar countries and their comparable recoveries rather than always being referred to best practice countries that may have significantly different characteristics which may prove irrelevant when it comes to implementation.



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