COVID-19 City Safety Ranking Q2/2021:
Benchmarking of Municipal Pandemic Response (Vaccines, Economy, Prevention, Governance, Safety)
Based on data collected until 20 June 2021
This special analytical case study is conducted by Deep Knowledge Analytics, the DeepTech analytical subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group, which specializes in producing advanced analytics using sophisticated technologies to provide insightful market intelligence and pragmatic forecasts.
The primary focus of the report is to analyze the regional response to pandemics at the municipal level. This publication is the second iteration of an ongoing and periodically updated series of Municipal COVID-19 Analytics reports on the city-level pandemic response analysis. The analysis presented in this iteration of the series uses more than 8,000 data points in total, applying an analytical framework composed of 114 indicators, qualitative or quantitative in nature, classified into 5 qualitatively distinct categories applied to a total of 72 cities and municipalities globally. Then, from these 72 cities, the top 50 cities with the highest scores are selected and analyzed for best practices.
In addition to the municipal response to pandemics, the Ranking examines several contextual factors to ensure the economy is stabilized during emergencies, competently manages internal health system resources, and identifies risks, and prevents them. The Ranking is expected to provide insights into leadership and the economy, society, and health, as well as assist municipalities and states in determining gaps in their preparedness measures to achieve inclusion, resilience, and sustainability in cities through the independent analysis provided.
COVID-19 Municipal Pandemic Response: Top-50 Cities
Rankings of Top-50 Cities According to
COVID-19 City Safety Ranking Parameters
Cities ranked by
The pandemic has revealed poor coordination and coherence between the national government, which takes action to treat the country integrally, and the municipal authorities, who have a better understanding of the local situation and needs of the city. Local authorities play a leading role in defining specific policies for crisis management on a city level. It is essential both for countries with centralized and decentralized forms of government due to asymmetry of Covid impact among regions, national and local areas. As an example, for the reason of limited local independence in decision-making and financing, and strong dependence on the central government for resources and coordination, which has led to a conflict of priorities between different levels of governmental organisations. Cities of Australia and the United States have seen partial success in containing the spread of the virus in its early stages.
On the other hand, some of the municipal governments did not involve the local community and other stakeholders in the emergency response process, nor did they share enough transparency and consistency of protocols and procedures. Along with greater trust in the government and related institutions, this approach helps municipalities to respond to the crisis in a targeted manner. Consistent, clear, and open communication between all parties is critical to finding better solutions, sharing knowledge, and maintaining discipline among the population, which in turn can mitigate the negative impact of the crisis. And vice versa, the lack of such action can lead to some form of rebellion against quarantine measures imposed by national or local governments, which can be seen at the perception of some cities⁸, especially the western liberal democracies as the European Union and America, such as Berlin, Paris, New York, etc.
Another important aspect is having emergency preparedness mechanisms based on lessons learned from past events to detect and respond to a possible pandemic. Those countries that have developed national and municipal plans using their historical experience and switched to them swiftly have done a better job of containing the COVID-19 attack. Among such successful cases are Singapore, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.
Cities ranked by
Among other reasons, civil disorder is due to socio-economic difficulties caused by long-term quarantine or other forms of restrictions, which lead to a weakening of social endurance in the face of crisis. Thus, cities that have experienced a severe economic shock, such as those which have not formed a self-sufficient economy in times of crisis, have it harder to survive this year in shutdown. During the pandemic, it was discovered that many of the cities were unable to serve their populations. As a global emergency has led to a massive increase in urgently needed equipment, pharmaceuticals, workforce, countries without domestic capacity have become insecure. In contrast, cities with well-developed urban infrastructure, local supply chains, diverse economic structures were less likely to face serious resources shortage or setbacks in economic growth, poverty, inequality, and human capital.
Governments that have developed a phased model based on quantitative assessment of risks with explicit and public criteria were better able to manage and mitigate the social and economic consequences of the crisis. According to Rawaf and colleagues, a clear “exit strategy” to unlock and restore “normality” is needed for each country with an emphasis on four principles of infection status, community acceptance, public health capacity, and health system spare capacity. This knowledge will help governments decide when restrictions should be relaxed (to ensure economic continuity) or tightened (to prevent outbreaks).
Cities ranked by
Most cities examined in the research failed to respond to the pandemic promptly and were not prepared for a COVID-19. Urban health care systems could not withstand the increasing pressure of epidemiological disasters.
Due to many factors that vary across the countries, most advanced health care systems have reduced a number of hospital beds in recent years. With the growth of the urban population, the reduction has become significant over the years: there are signs of a growing shortage of beds, as can be seen in extremely high levels of average bed occupancy and stubbornly large numbers of delayed transfers of care.
The UK has fewer hospital beds per 1000 citizens than many comparable healthcare systems. Over the past 30 years, the total number of hospital beds in England has more than halved, from 299,000 in 1987 to 141,000 in 2019. At the same time, England's population has grown from 47.3 million in 1987 to about 56.3 million in 2019. As a result, the number of beds per capita has fallen faster than the absolute reduction in the number of beds.
Besides that, the pandemic has impacted routine primary care for chronic patients. As a result of a year of delayed surgical procedures, diagnostics, and neglected chronic disease, countries that have experienced a severe outbreak or lack of health resources are likely to face a massive wave of death and disability from common chronic diseases that will affect society for decades.
Cities ranked by
The rise of COVID-19 was not an unexpected event. Many countries have experienced outbreak events in the past, which has already prompted governments to develop preparedness strategies for the next possible pandemic. Some of them learned from their experiences, developed emergency preparedness plans, and, most importantly, activated them as soon as the danger became potential.
Instead, most countries in recession and political turbulence were caught off guard and suffered a devastating blow. These governments have chosen economic stability over public safety through containment measures. They delayed imposing restrictions and closing borders until the outbreak was inevitable.
To avoid such a scenario, efficiency was characterized by timely border closures, internal constraints, and the "3T approach" of contact tracing, early testing, and isolation treatment. For this purpose, digital technologies have been widely used to support the public-health response to COVID-19, including population surveillance, case identification, contact tracing, and evaluation of interventions based on mobility data and communication with the public.
Cities ranked by
In terms of access to vaccines, competition between countries has been found to reduce equity in vaccination distribution worldwide. Moreover, some of the disparities were highlighted as uneven distribution among minorities, low-income communities, and neighborhoods. Although immunisation is now underway, less than 10% of the world population is fully vaccinated until now. Cities are facing some problems with managing the process and trying to increase the efficiency of the vaccination process. In contrast, cities that have succeeded in vaccine roll-out tend to have a diversified vaccine portfolio, an aggressive, liberalized vaccination program, an innovative approach using advanced technologies for allocation, data collection systems, and are not involved in geopolitical tensions. In addition, some of them have local vaccine production facilities or have undertaken their own vaccine development efforts.
One more issue related to vaccination is the overall lack of trust in vaccines. The vaccination rate is very important, but the states in some cases did not find those arguments to convince their population to voluntarily vaccinate. Case in point - Russia. Even though a homegrown Covid vaccine has been developed, up to this point only about 10% of the population have been vaccinated and the general distrust of local authorities is very high. For now, Moscow remains the main hotspot of infection in the country.
In some instances, hesitation over-vaccination against Covid which accounts for a significant proportion of the population was fueled by misinformation as well as geopolitics. This has also significantly decreased the velocity of the process.
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Deep Knowledge Analytics is a DeepTech focused agency producing advanced analytics on DeepTech and frontier-technology industries using sophisticated multi-dimensional frameworks and algorithmic methods that combine hundreds of specially-designed and specifically-weighted metrics and parameters to deliver insightful market intelligence, pragmatic forecasting and tangible industry benchmarking.
It is an analytical subsidiary of Deep Knowledge Group, an international consortium of commercial and non-profit organizations focused on the synergetic convergence of DeepTech and Frontier Technologies (AI, Longevity, MedTech, FinTech, GovTech), applying progressive data-driven Invest-Tech solutions with a long-term strategic focus on AI in Healthcare, Longevity and Precision Health, and aiming to achieve positive impact through the support of progressive technologies for the benefit of humanity via scientific research, investment, entrepreneurship, analytics and philanthropy.