Special Covid-19 Series, Issue #36

Autore : Action Institute

Data: 31-05-2021

Tipo: Other

Tematica: Action Institute

Hello, Action Institute Community!

While the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the global economy, we at Action Institute aim at delivering a whole-rounded perspective, cutting through the noise.
Our weekly Special series approaches the effects of the virus from different perspectives: from medical facts to health policy, from economic policy to macroeconomic issues, from politics to financial markets, from technology to the impact on businesses, and more. We encourage our esteemed readers to provide us with feedback and suggestions.

This weekly issue proposes a selection of papers and articles focused on (i) Politics, Institutions and International Policy and (ii) Health Policy.



“Just because you do not take an interest in politics, it doesn’t mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.”, Pericles

 “The effect of Covid on EU democracies” (CEPS, Sophia Russack, May 3rd, 2021). By answering the following question “what are the effects of different crisis rules or procedures on the democratic character of national governance?”, the report has shown that while in some member states the democratic institutions and electoral processes have proved robust and flexible, outstanding democratic issues across all member states are: an overly powerful executive, limited checks on government, and the sidelining of parliaments. Trust, or the lack of it, in the respective political elites is a particularly divisive issue.

 “By How Much Are Countries Underreporting COVID-19 Cases and Deaths?” (Council on Foreign Relations, Claire Felter, May 10th, 2021). The article tries to report by how much countries underreport COVID-19 cases and deaths. This estimation is not easy to do since countries have different ways of defining death by COVID-19. The WHO advises that deaths should be listed as due to COVID-19 only if no alternative cause of death can be found. On the contrary, in the US, jurisdictions should report deaths from probable COVID-19 cases as well as confirmed ones. One particular case is Brazil: with nearly 15 million COVID-19 reported cases and over 400,000 deaths, it accounts for 13% of the global death toll despite having just 3% of the world’s population.

 “Pandemic leadership: beware of anecdotes” (Bruegel, Mark Hallerberg and Joachim Wehner, May 11th, 2021). When the coronavirus struck in 2020, some argued that female leaders, non-populists and those trained as scientists do better than males, populists, and non-scientists. Nevertheless, the study finds no systematic support for the hypotheses that either scientists, women or non-populists were any quicker in locking down. The main conclusion is that we need to be careful with generalisations about how certain leadership traits translated into different policy responses during the pandemic.

 “We can end the Covid pandemic in the next year” (FT, Martin Wolf, May 25th, 2021). Developed countries failed to ensure a sufficient production and equal distribution of vaccines to developing countries. The following article highlights the strategy suggested by the paper “A Proposal to End the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Ruchir Agarwal and Gita Gopinath of the IMF to achieve herd immunity by next year. This strategy’s objective is to vaccinate at least 40% of the population of all countries by the end of 2021 and 60% by July 2022. The study estimates the cumulative economic benefits at $9tn ($1,150 per person) against a cost of $50bn.



“In Public Health, honesty is worth a lot more than hope.”, The Economist.

 “Government won’t get us herd immunity. Businesses can.” (Brookings, Joshua Gotbaum, May 3rd, 2021). The article examines whether governments alone could achieve the goal of herd immunity. According to the article, employer immunization requirements could lead to herd immunity, since governments won’t mandate vaccination, but employers can if they choose. COVID-19 public health measures have unfortunately been politicized, but letting businesses themselves decide whether or not to require vaccination should be bipartisan. Republicans and those skeptical of government regulation should appreciate that individual businesses will make their own decisions based on their own needs. 

 “4 Strategies to Boost the Global Supply of Covid-19 Vaccines” (Harvard Business Review, Prashant Yadav and Rebecca Weintraub, May 6th, 2021). Long before the first COVID-19 vaccines were authorized, it was known that equitably supplying them to populations around the world would be an enormous challenge. Now the failure to do so is readily apparent. The world needs to now regroup in order to greatly accelerate the manufacture and distribution of vaccine supplies. This article offers four tactics to do so: improving the flow of raw materials; harmonizing regulatory processes; expanding vaccine-manufacturing capacity and establishing a supply chain infomediary.

 “Should children be vaccinated to slow the spread of coronavirus?” (FT, Nikou Asgari and Anna Gross, May 7th, 2021). The biggest vaccine manufacturers have all tried their jabs on young people, and Canada is the first country to approve a vaccine for children. Pharmaceutical groups have, in fact, carried out studies which follow a “age de-escalation, dose escalation” method that gives small amounts to the older participants first, in order to test the correct dose for children. Overall, the following article analyses the risks and benefits related to vaccinating children. It addresses the issue related to the scarcity of vaccines, the lower probability of younger cohorts to die from COVID-19 and the transmission mechanism between young and older individuals.


Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs.

Herbert Hoover […]


Good health is essential to social and economical development and it empowers all of the public sectors.

World Health Organization […]


Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.

Peter Drucker […]

Human Capital

Talent is a source from which water flows constantly renewed. But this source loses its value unless it is properly used.

Ludwig Wittgenstein […]