Australia, and its Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been rated highly in the Global Response to Infectious Diseases (GRID) index. The other leader who does exceptionally well is New Zealand’s Jacinta Arden.
The USA, led by President Donald Trump in its COVID-19 responses fares abysmally in the rankings.
The results are published in a paper titled GRIDTM Index: Tracking the Global Leadership Response in the COVID-19 Crisis by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (Australia) (ICMA). The GRID index is designed to rank how efficiently and effectively the leadership of the country and the preparedness of its health system were in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICMA was of the view that a country’s ranking on the index could be a motivator to a country in terms of being prepared for the next global pandemic or crisis.
Dr Chris D’Souza, the principle developer of the GRID index observes that “in times of crisis, good leaders rally to nurture and protect their flock. Great Leaders with vision go beyond their own national boundaries and unite the world fostering global partnerships to work towards the common good.”
Dr D’Souza recognizes that questions have been raised as to the reliability of the data on each country with regards to its reporting of tests, cases and deaths relating to COVID-19. Some countries have been accused of underreporting the actual impact for various reasons: economic, religious, scientific, national security, lack of transparency and sheer negligence, amongst others. Some leaders have tried to shift the blame and even conveyed misinformation to their citizens. Misinformation in some countries rises to the level of Information warfare tactics with characteristics of psychological operations (PSYOPS) to build morale among their citizens and image projection to the world at large.
As such, Dr D’Souza says that in developing the GRIDTM index, it was important to ascertain if there was a relationship between the level of COVID-19 information coming from a country and the transparency of the country providing the information. He used a country’s ranking on the Corruption Perception Index 2019 (CP Index) published by Transparency International as a surrogate for the level of information transparency in each country. Countries high on the list are perceived as being less corrupt and more transparent, and thus the COVID-19 information from them could be assumed to be more reliable.
Dr D’Souza says that it is interesting to note that apart from a few outliers, there seems to be a positive co-relationship between the transparency CP Index and the global leadership GRID Index.
Both the Indices have a common leader – New Zealand. Australia ranks 4th in the GRIDTM index which is better than its ranking of 12th on the CP Index.
A stark contrast can be seen in the leadership responses of South Korea and the USA. Both countries had their first case of COVID-19 on the 20th of January – the USA ranks 23rd on the transparency Index and South Korea ranks 39th. On the GRID Index, South Korea ranks 8th in its efficiency and effectiveness in its response, and the US ranks a poorly 70th mainly because of President Trump’s abject failure and inability to protect his people.
The result was that lives were saved in South Korea, and lives were tragically lost in the USA. The death toll in the US is currently 23,644 (as of 14th April, 2020) and was growing by 2,000 a day; whereas the death toll in South Korea is 222.
Other countries that did well in the GRID Index were Singapore, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Japan and Taiwan.
Countries that ranked low in the leadership response rankings were India, Russia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil. The USA ranked even lower than these countries in its leadership response to the COVID-19 pandemic.