The Pew Research Center asked residents of fourteen countries how well their countries are combatting the coroanvirus. Majorities in all but two countries said they’re doing a good job:
How well does that self-assessment correspond with coronavirus case rates?
|Country||Total Cases||Total Cases per 100K pop||Cases in last 7 days||Cases in last 7 days per 100K pop||% saying “good job, us!”|
Globally, since the beginning of the pandemic, 24.4 million humans, 313 people per 100,000, have tested positive for coronavirus. The rate in the U.S. has been 5.7 times the global rate, with 5.88 million Americans making up nearly 25% of the world’s positive cases, even though we make up only 4% of the world’s population.
Over the past week, the median rate of new cases worldwide (in countries for which the New York Times has data available) has been 13.5 people per 100,000. That’s close to the median rate—13— for the countries in Pew’s survey of national perceptions of pandemic response effectiveness. Italy, an early pandemic hotspot, is at that median rate of 13 cases over the past week per 100K population. Italy’s swift lockdown and information transparency, along with ongoing local quarantines, travel restrictions, and widespread mask-wearing, appears to have brought the pandemic under control.
America’s current weekly case rate of 91 per 100K is the 18th-highest of 158 countries reporting and second-highest of the countries in Pew’s survey.
So in this case, yes, Americans seem to have a relatively fair sense that they aren’t doing a great job fighting the global pandemic.
Well, most Americans. Partisanship is still clouding perceptions, not just here but around the world:
In two countries – the United Kingdom and the United States – people are divided in their beliefs when it comes to rating their government’s performance responding to the coronavirus. These two nations also have high levels of political polarization on views of the government’s handling of this crisis. In the U.S., 76% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party say the government has done a good job, while just a quarter of Democrats and Democratic leaners agree, a 51 percentage point difference. A majority of right-leaning Britons (55%) give a positive rating to their country’s handling of the pandemic, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, but just 26% on the left hold the same opinion.
People in Spain, which is currently led by the left-leaning Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, are also split ideologically on assessing their government’s response to COVID-19, but in the opposite direction: 73% on the left are pleased with how their country has managed the outbreak while 40% on right are not, a 33-point difference. Those on the left are also more positive on their country’s response to the outbreak than those on the right by double digits in Italy (18 points more positive), Sweden (17 points) and South Korea (15 points) [Kat Devlin and Aidan Connaughton, “Most Approve of National Response to Covid-19 in 14 Advanced Countries,” Pew Research Center, 2020.08.27].
Set your party labels aside and look at the numbers. If your country has a high rate of infection, your country isn’t doing a good job. The effectiveness of closing the bars, wearing masks, staying home, expanding testing, and tracing contacts does not correlate with party affiliation.
(By the way, while the U.S. case rate per 100K over the past week is 91, South Dakota’s is 170. the only places in the U.S. with higher current rates are Alabama, Mississippi, the U.S. Virgin Islands, North Dakota, Iowa, and Guam.)