Global COVID Reponses and Comparisons


Photo Courtesy of Statista

Natalia Kirilova, Reporter

As worldwide coronavirus cases pass 91 million, Australia and New Zealand have seen major successes in their COVID-19 protocols and response. The daily number of cases in Australia has not surpassed 50 since early September, and New Zealand has not seen daily cases more than 50 since early April. It is not uncommon for New Zealand to see 0 daily cases on some days. These supremely low numbers are in major thanks to the quick and strict responses of government officials including curfews, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and mask mandates.

Not all US states have mask mandates, which is a contributing factor of the United State’s large number of COVID cases and deaths. As of January 13th 2021, only 38 states require people to wear face coverings in public according to AARP. Florida, for instance, has no travel restrictions according to Florida Health. The Florida Department of Health Public Health Advisory recommends people wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, that businesses/organizations require individuals entering their premises to wear a face covering, and that individuals not participate in gatherings with more than 10 people. However, in New Zealand, travel restrictions were implemented only two days after the World Health Organization deemed the virus an international public health emergency. New Zealand also administered many COVID tests that worked right from the beginning. Also, New Zealand underwent one of the strictest nationwide lockdowns on March 25. This lockdown required schools, non-essential businesses (like restaurants), and public venues to close. According to the Regulatory Review, New Zealand citizens were not permitted to gather outside of their households, and could only leave their homes for “essential personal movement,” (like grocery shopping). Police also urged citizens to report any violations. This early and solid response has led to much of New Zealand returning to normalcy, while in countries like the United States, the coronavirus situation seems to be getting worse. Leadership under Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has effectively controlled the COVID curve in New Zealand.

According to the Australian Government Department of Health, Australia has had 28,595 cases as of January 10th, 2021. The highest number of daily cases Australia suffered was on July 30, 2020 with 721 cases. Although the USA has a population nearly 13 times the population of Australia, Australia’s overwhelming success in containing the virus has raised questions if the US can learn anything from Australia. Australia has an average population density of 7 people per square mile, while the US has a population density of approximately 93 people per square mile. According to the CIA Worldfactbook, Australia’s urban population is about 86.2% of the total population (2020), and the United States’ urban population is about 82.7% of total population (2020). The United States’ covid cases is more than 22.3 million, and new record daily cases are not uncommon. Australia has seen a total of 909 deaths thus far, whereas the United States has topped more than 384,000 deaths as of January 13th, 2021. Although the United States has a much larger population than Australia, the United States’ COVID cases and deaths are significantly worse and not proportional to Australia’s based on population. Alas, both New Zealand and Australia are island countries which may have aided them in their fight against the coronavirus, along with their populations being much smaller.

Comparing the two countries with the most COVID cases, the United States and India, based on population highlights some key differences. According to the Guardian, while the United States has over 22 million cases (more than any other country), the country with the next highest number is India, with just about 10.5 million cases. India has a population density of about 172 people per square mile according to Microsoft News, and has a population of 1.366 billion people. The United States has a population density of about 93 people per square mile according to Statista, with a population of 328.2 million people. Although the United States has a significantly lower population, the number of cases are more than double that of the next highest country, India.