Policy determinants of COVID-19 pandemic-induced fatality rates across nations
Teixeira da Silva, J.A.; Tsigaris, P.
Public Health 187: 140-142
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the most devastating pandemic to affect humanity in a century. In this article, we assessed tests as a policy instrument and policy enactment to contain COVID-19 and potentially reduce mortalities. A model was devised to estimate the factors that influenced the death rate across 121 nations and by income group. Nations with a higher proportion of people aged 65+ years had a higher fatality rate (P = 0.00014). Delaying policy enactment led to a higher case fatality rate (P = 0.0013). A 10% delay time to act resulted in a 3.7% higher case fatality rate. This study found that delaying policies for international travel restrictions, public information campaigns, and testing policies increased the fatality rate. Tests also impacted the case fatality rate, and nations with 10% more cumulative tests per million people showed a 2.8% lower mortality rate. Citizens of nations who can access more destinations without the need to have a prior visa have a significant higher mortality rate than those who need a visa to travel abroad (P = 0.0040). Tests, as a surrogate of policy action and earlier policy enactment, matter for saving lives from pandemics as such policies reduce the transmission rate of the pandemic.