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The Countries Best And Worst Prepared For An Epidemic

by Niall McCarthy

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has stated that another case of the coronavirus has been detected in the United States, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to five. The latest one was confirmed in Arizona and all five cases involve people who recently travelled to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. According to tracking by Johns Hopkins University, nearly 3,000 people have been infected, the vast majority of them in China. The coronavirus has also slowly spread to some neigboring countries with cases reported in Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.

Even though Chinese authorities have said that they have observed evidence of person-to-person transmission, health officials in Orange and LA countries in the United States have said that the precautions in place should stop any spread of the coronavirus. That raises the question: which countries are the most and least prepared to contain large outbreaks of disease? In October of last year, the Global Health Security Index was released and it assessed levels of global health security across 195 countries. It specifically analyzed levels of preparation by focusing on whether countries have the proper tools in place to deal with serious disease outbreaks. Countries were scored on a scale of 0 to 100 where 100 is the highest level of preparedness.

The United States was named as the country with the strongest measures in place and it came first with 83.5 out of 100. The United Kingdom came second with 77.9 followed by the Netherlands with 75.6. China, which has initiated a series of lockdowns in response to the outbreak, comes 51st with a score of 48.2. This map shows levels of preparation across the world and Africa’s vulnerability is immediately noticeable. It has struggled with serious diseases in the past and in 2014 a major Ebola outbreak devastated parts of West Africa, killing over 10,000 people. So far, no country in Africa has reported a confirmed case of the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the continent has some of the weakest countries when it comes to containing disease with Equatorial Guinea (16.2) and Somalia (16.6) the worst scoring countries in the Global Health Security Index.

 

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