New Delhi: COVID-19 strongly impacted the manufacturing sector in India, according to a study which provides new insight into how countries respond to systemic shocks such as the pandemic.
Previous attempts to quantify the impact of COVID-19 mostly looked only at the pandemic in a single dimension, such as gross domestic product or a country’s unemployment rate.
The latest study, published in PLOS One, explored resilience across a variety of social, economic and political domains in several countries, including the US, Brazil, India, Sweden, New Zealand and Israel.
“We found significant discrepancies between what experts had predicted would be the most resilient countries if struck with a pandemic,” said Sara Del Valle, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US.
The researchers found that the most pandemic-impacted sectors also differed across countries.
The study shows that human health, public administration and defense were strongly impacted in the US and Sweden, while manufacturing was strongly impacted in Brazil and India.
The construction sector was moderately or strongly impacted across all countries, according to the researchers.
Unlike other countries, retail trade — excluding motor vehicles and motorcycles — was very strongly impacted in India relative to other sectors, as was the land transport sector, they said.
“We found that citizens in these countries responded quite differently to stringent COVID policies,” Del Valle said.
“For example, we saw stricter governmental pandemic policy was associated with higher political unrest across states within the U.S., while the opposite was true for states in Brazil,” the researcher explained.
The researchers assessed how observed responses and outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with pre-pandemic characteristics or vulnerabilities and the systems in place prior to the pandemic that may have impacted the ability to respond to the crisis.
Education, for example, played an important role in pandemic response, the researchers said.
Even after adjusting for strictness of governmental COVID policies, they found that higher education was significantly associated with lower amounts of political unrest across the US.
Diversity in responses even within countries showed the potential for regional differences to impact pandemic response.
“Understanding the differences in countries’ abilities to respond after a pandemic can help society be better prepared for future pandemics,” Del Valle added.
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