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Background On January 30(th) 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a international health emergency due to the unprecedented phenomenon of COVID-19. After this declaration countries swiftly implemented a variety of health policies. In this work we examine how rapid countries responded to this pandemic using two events: the day in which the first case of COVID-19 was reported, and first day in which countries used school closure as one of the measures to avoid outbreaks. We also assessed how countries' health systems, globalization, economic development, political systems, and economic integration to China, Republic of Korea and Italy increased the speed of adoption. Methods We compiled information from multiple sources, from December 31(st) 2019 to June 1(st) 2020, to trace when 172 countries reported their first COVID-19 case and implemented school closure to contain outbreaks. We applied cross-national Weibull survival analysis to evaluate the global speed of detection of first COVID-19 reported cases and school closure. Results Ten days after WHO declared COVID-19 to be an international emergency, relative to seven days from this declaration, countries were 28 (95% CI: 12-77) times more likely to report first COVID-19 cases and 42 (95% CI: 22-90) times more likely to close schools. One standard deviation increase in the epidemic security index rises the rate of report first cases by 37% (Hazard Ratio (HR) 1.37 (95% CI: 1.09-1.72) and delays the adoption for school closures by 36% (HR 0.64 (95% CI:0.50-0.82). One standard deviation increase in the globalization index augments the adoption for school closures by 74% (HR 1.74 (95% CI:1.34-2.24). Conclusion After the WHO declared a global emergency, countries were unprecedently acting very rapidly. While countries more globally integrated were swifter in closing schools, countries with better designed health systems to tackle epidemics were slower in adopting it. More studies are needed to assess how the speed of school closures and other policies will affect the development of the pandemic.




Nazif-Munoz, Jose Ignacio/0000-0002-8944-5182







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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Fonds de recherche du Quebec - SanteFonds de la Recherche en Sante du Quebec