November 23. For a year now, Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking has tracked the best and worst places to be during the pandemic, combining data ranging from outbreak control to death tolls, vaccination campaigns to progress toward restarting travel.
Since it debuted last November, the Ranking’s best and worst performers each month have fluctuated, with the onset of vaccines, the emergence of the delta variant and the more recent reopening push key moments in the pandemic journey.
The pandemic’s volatile arc meant that no top performer sustained their success all year. New Zealand and Singapore, once No. 1 for walling out the virus and maintaining a level of pre-pandemic normalcy for most of 2020, saw their fortunes plunge as delta infiltrated their Covid Zero fortresses, triggering renewed lockdowns and restrictions. The U.S. — fleetingly No. 1 in June — and Israel, the fastest at rolling out shots and lifting curbs in the early months of 2021, were caught out when the virus flared again over the summer, particularly among the unvaccinated.
Amid the flux, a handful of places proved the most consistent. Most of them never reached No. 1 of the 53 economies ranked, but they never fell below 26th place, either. These seven countries — Norway, Denmark, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea and Switzerland — are the closest the pandemic has to season MVPs: whether rolling out vaccination, fighting delta or reopening the economy, they always scored above average.
At the other end, nine countries — Argentina, Iran, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Poland, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa — have never risen above the Ranking’s mid-point the past year. These places have been the most devastated by the pandemic, infections-wise, and many still struggle with limited access to vaccines.