A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

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2020 Aug;25:100464.
 doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100464. Epub 2020 Jul 21.

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

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Abstract

Background: A country level exploratory analysis was conducted to assess the impact of timing and type of national health policy/actions undertaken towards COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes.

Methods: Information on COVID-19 policies and health outcomes were extracted from websites and country specific sources. Data collection included the government's action, level of national preparedness, and country specific socioeconomic factors. Data was collected from the top 50 countries ranked by number of cases. Multivariable negative binomial regression was used to identify factors associated with COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes.

Findings: Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity (adjusted rate ratio [RR]=1.06; 95%CI: 1.01-1.11), median population age (RR=1.10; 95%CI: 1.05-1.15) and longer time to border closures from the first reported case (RR=1.04; 95%CI: 1.01-1.08). Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence (RR=1.12; 95%CI: 1.06-1.19) and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) (RR=1.03; 95%CI: 1.00-1.06). Reduced income dispersion reduced mortality (RR=0.88; 95%CI: 0.83-0.93) and the number of critical cases (RR=0.92; 95% CI: 0.87-0.97). Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people. However, full lockdowns (RR=2.47: 95%CI: 1.08-5.64) and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats (i.e. high scores on the global health security scale for risk environment) (RR=1.55; 95%CI: 1.13-2.12) were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates.

Interpretation: In this exploratory analysis, low levels of national preparedness, scale of testing and population characteristics were associated with increased national case load and overall mortality.

Funding: This study is non-funded.

Keywords: COVID-19; Country-level analysis; Public health policies.

Conflict of interest statement

Rabail Chaudhry MD, MSc: This author declares no financial interests. George Dranitsaris PhD: This author declares no financial interests. Talha Mubashir MD: This author declares no financial interests. Justyna Bartoszko MD, MSc: This author declares no financial interests. Sheila Riazi MD: This author declares no financial interests.

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