Coronavirus: United States surges to overtake New Zealand in Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking

New Zealand has been usurped by the United States in Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking - a list of the best and worst countries in the world to be during the coronavirus era.

The ranking looks at how major countries around the world are handling the pandemic, taking into account social and economic disruption, mortality and infection rates, freedom of movement and how the vaccine rollout is going.

A new criterion this month is 'reopening progress' - a measure of each economy's openness to the world - with two metrics introduced to capture the ease of moving in and out of a place and how much air travel has recovered.

It's with this new criterion that the US has surged up the rankings from a lowly 13th in May to 1st in June, and New Zealand has been knocked off its perch.

"This pivot has ushered in dramatic changes to the ranks," Bloomberg writes. "The US is now No.1, with its fast and expansive vaccine rollout, dominated by the highly effective Messenger RNA shots, stemming what was once the world's worst outbreak."

New Zealand has slipped down the rankings thanks largely to what Bloomberg describes as a "lack of urgency" in its vaccine rollout. 

The top-ranked 20 countries in the COVID Resilience Ranking for June 2021.
The top-ranked 20 countries in the COVID Resilience Ranking for June 2021. Photo credit: Bloomberg

Just 10.3 percent of Kiwis are covered by vaccines, Bloomberg calculates, based on the number of doses administered and the mix of vaccine types used. That puts us behind the likes of Australia, Colombia, Romania and Peru.

According to Our World In Data, 7.69 percent of New Zealanders had been fully vaccinated by June 21. By the same date, just 3.39 percent of Australians had received both jabs.

Coronavirus: United States surges to overtake New Zealand in Bloomberg COVID Resilience Ranking
Photo credit: Our World In Data

"The Asia-Pacific, which has relied on shutting out the world to snuff out COVID-19 - delivering vastly lower mortality rates - scores poorly on reopening," Bloomberg reports.

"No COVID-19 has led to a lack of vaccine urgency in some places, with both New Zealand and Australia administering doses to cover less than 15 percent of their populations."

New Zealand also scores poorly on vaccinated travel routes - a score derived from the number of inbound and outbound routes a country has with the rest of the world - and our 2021 GDP growth forecast.

But we excel in most other areas, with lockdown severity, flight capacity, positive test rates, fatality rates, community mobility, universal healthcare coverage and human development all ranking among the best in the world.

"'COVID havens' like No.2-ranked New Zealand and No.13-ranked Singapore use border curbs and lengthy quarantines to keep case levels near zero," Bloomberg says.

"While life internally has largely returned to normal, they remain shut to the outside world with even a handful of cases triggering the sorts of restrictions highly vaccinated places are abandoning."

Bloomberg says this places us "at risk of being stuck in cycles of lockdowns" - but notes that quashing COVID-19 and "the internal freedoms that affords" has kept New Zealand and the likes of Australia and China in the top 10.

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