Sustainable Development Goals in Early COVID-19 Prevention and Control
Recent failures in COVID-19 prevention and control in some of the richest countries raise questions about the relevance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the fight against pandemics. To examine this issue, we adopted the measure of countries' progress for the SDGs in the SDG Index Scores (SDGS) and employed two analytical devices. The first was regression-aided adjustment of the number of deaths and confirmed cases. The second was the use of robust regressions to control the undue influence of outliers. The results are mixed. Between the SDGS and the adjusted infection rates, we found no significant correlation; however, between the SDGS and the adjusted death rates, the correlation was negative and statistically significant. These results provide a nuanced contrast to the hasty conclusions some of us might be tempted to draw from apparent positive correlations between SDGS and the cases and the deaths. The SDGs represent the fruit of painstaking global efforts to encourage and coordinate international action to enhance sustainability. We find the results reassuring, in that they suggest that the countries with higher SDGS have been able to control the devastation of deaths from COVID-19 more effectively, despite being unable to control the propagation of infections.
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