Given the volume of research and discussion on the health, medical, economic, financial, political, and travel advisory aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, it is essential to enquire if an outbreak of the epidemic might have been anticipated, given the well-documented history of SARS and MERS, among other infectious diseases. If various issues directly related to health security risks could have been predicted accurately, public health and medical contingency plans might have been prepared and activated in advance of an epidemic such as COVID-19. This paper evaluates an important source of health security, the Global Health Security Index (2019), which provided data before the discovery of COVID-19 in December 2019. Therefore, it is possible to evaluate how countries might have been prepared for a global epidemic, or pandemic, and acted accordingly in an effective and timely manner. The GHS index numerical scores are calculated as the arithmetic (AM), geometric (GM), and harmonic (HM) means of six categories, where AM uses equal weights for each category. The GHS Index scores are regressed on the numerical score rankings of the six categories to check if the use of equal weights of 0.167 in the calculation of the GHS Index using AM is justified, with GM and HM providing a check of the robustness of the arithmetic mean. The highest weights are determined to be around 0.244-0.246, while the lowest weights are around 0.186-0.187 for AM. The ordinal GHS Index is regressed on the ordinal rankings of the six categories to check for the optimal weights in the calculation of the ordinal Global Health Security (GHS) Index, where the highest weight is 0.368, while the lowest is 0.142, so the estimated results are wider apart than for the numerical score rankings. Overall, Rapid Response and Detection and Reporting have the largest impacts on the GHS Index score, whereas Risk Environment and Prevention have the smallest effects. The quantitative and qualitative results are different when GM and HM are used.

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Keywords COVID-19, global health security risk, numerical rankings, ordinal rankings, pandemic, Pythagorean means, risk management
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Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Organisation Department of Econometrics
Chang, C-L, & McAleer, M.J. (2020). Alternative Global Health Security Indexes for Risk Analysis of COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9). doi:10.3390/ijerph17093161