Saturday, November 14, 2020

EURO WHO Dashboard and the COVID-19 situation in the WHO European Region



My former student Kayla King has been participating in the development of some very useful tools at the World Health Organization (WHO).  She has passed along a short and quite useful write up of the EURO WHO Dashboard, which quantifies and visualizes European states' COVID 19 measures.  I hope you find the write up and the Dashboard useful. They follow below with links.

Most interesting from the perspective of data driven governance (within informal structures of public international organizations) is the WHO-EURO COVID19 PHSM Explorer. As Who explains:

This application provides detailed timelines of countries’ public health and social measure (PHSM) responses and epidemiological situations. The “Country Analysis” timeline displays how individual PHSMs within a selected country form the country’s composite PHSM response, and the “Regional Overview” timeline presents the historical progression of PHSMs across countries in the WHO European Region. The PHSM Severity Index is not intended for, nor should it be interpreted as, assessing the appropriateness or impact of PHSM responses. COVID-19 PHSM data is collected from publicly available sources from governments, international, national, and regional authorities and media. Please see the "Description" tab below the PHSM explorer for additional details. When interpreting the data presented, please note that differences between information products published by WHO, public health authorities, and other sources may occur. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data through a rigorous systematic approach to data-collection, categorization, coding and analysis, and continuous validation exercises, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is a fast-paced, dynamic situation in which data are collected from a wide

The development of data indicators is interesting for the choices it represents and is incentive effects to coherence in public policy responses by states. They all focus on systematic restrictions on movement and on the wearing of masks.  The object, from an organizational semiotic perspective, is focused on the development of technologies of mass control--of a granular ability to herd (or husband) the masses within and into places deemed of value to those who oversee these decisions.  That is not a criticism of WHO responses to COVID-19 but an observation of the consequences that will survive COVID and may bleed into other areas of social control in completely unrelated context.  To those ends both liberal democratic and Marxist Leninist states are making substantial progress in their ability to monitor their populations, and increasingly to put them in their place by limiting their movements (in accordance with law of course). The implications for personal autonomy (again COVID makes a bad though limiting case for its application) within the context of human rights (individual versus collective), the constitutional traditions of states, and the emergence of administrative private-public management complexes in which humans are viewed as factors in the production of whatever is necessary to be produced, husbanded or managed, suggests that we are at the beginnig rather than the end of a long and likely transformative set of conversations.  These follow below as well. 





Ordinal Scale


Wearing of Masks


0 - No mask policy

1 - Recommended wearing masks in any setting

2 - Require wearing masks on a risk-based approach (in settings where physical distancing is not possible, e.g. public transport, retail, refugee camps)

3 - Require wearing masks universally (in any setting in the community and in any transmission scenario)




Closing of schools

0 - No measures
1 - Recommend/Require adapting in-person teaching (physical distancing, hand hygiene, staggered arrival, separate entrances, etc.)
2 - Recommend/Require suspension of in-person teaching (transition to online or distance learning)
3 - Require suspension of in-person teaching on some levels or categories (e.g. just secondary schools)
4 - Require suspension of in-person teaching on all levels


Closing of offices, businesses, institutions and operations


0 - No measures 
1 - Recommend closing (or work from home) and/or recommend/require adapting (e.g., implementing sanitary measures)
2 - Require closing (or work from home) for some sectors or categories of workers
3 - Require closing (or work from home) for all-but-essential services (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies, and doctors)


Restrictions on gatherings


0 - No restrictions
1 - Restrictions on very large gatherings (the limit is above 1000 people)
2 - Restrictions on gatherings between 101-1000 people
3 - Restrictions on gatherings between 11-100 people or restrictions on certain types of gatherings (e.g. religious, sporting, cultural, or national events)
4 - Restrictions on gatherings of 10 people or less or ban on all types of gatherings


Restrictions on domestic   movement


0 - No measures
1 - Recommend not leaving house and/or recommend limiting domestic movement
2 - Restriction on domestic movement (e.g. ban on travelling between or into certain regions or outside a certain radius from place of residence)
3 - Requirement not to leave house with exceptions for the following: essential activities (grocery shopping and ‘essential’ trips), daily exercise, limited social interactions (visiting family or friends), or travel to other places of residence
4 - Requirement not to leave house with exception only for essential activities (grocery shopping, pharmacy or 'essential' trips)
5 - Requirement not to leave house with exceptions for essential activities (grocery shopping or 'essential' trips) allowed only under certain conditions (e.g. allowed to leave house only once a week, during designated timeslot or only one household member can leave at a time)



Limitations to international travel


Entry ban and/or visa restriction

E0 - entry ban and visa restriction for no countries

E1 - entry bans and/or visa restrictions for select countries (entry ban/visa restriction for at least one country but open to more than 100 countries)

E2 - entry bans and/or visa restrictions for some countries (open to 10 - 100 countries)

E3 - entry bans and/or visa restrictions for majority of countries (open to less than 10 countries)

E4 - entry bans and/or visa restrictions for all countries


Quarantine and/or COVID-19 test

Q0 – Quarantine and negative COVID-19 test for no countries

Q1 – Quarantine and/or negative COVID-19 test for one or more countries

Q2 – Quarantine and/or negative COVID-19 test for all countries


EURO WHO Dashboard


New WHO dashboard quantifies and visualizes European countries’ COVID-19 measures. WHO/Europe has just launched its Public Health and Social Measures (PHSM) Severity Index Here to provide standardized data on the ways in which countries in the WHO European Region have sought to slow or stop community spread of COVID-19. This latest tool systematically captures and analyzes individual governmental PHSM responses to COVID-19 in the 53 countries of the Region.


This tool was created in March 2020, and has systematically cultivated and curated data from January 2020 to present. It draws from the following six indicators: 1) the wearing of masks; 2) closure of schools; 3) closure of offices, businesses, institutions and operations; 4) restrictions on gatherings; 5) restrictions on domestic movement; and 6) limitations to international travel.


These indicators represent common, restrictive large-scale interventions taken by a significant number of countries throughout the Region. The scope, severity and timing of their implementation is also aggregated to produce a composite PHSM Severity Index score, which is an average of these six indicators.

This level of analysis enables a comparison of individual public health measures within a country as well as overall responses across countries. It also allows for the nuances of each individual government’s actions to be analyzed and understood. Common PHSM strategies, outliers and emergent patterns can be seen through a regional-level analysis and these insights, supported by country-specific examples, provide a comprehensive overview to inform policy-making.

Countries are implementing packages of measures calibrated to the local context and epidemiology of the disease. These measures help to stop chains of transmission and prevent outbreaks and are therefore critical in limiting the further spread of COVID-19 at the community level.


*Note: user must click on PHSM tab and accept terms/agreements prior to accessing PHSM Severity Index.

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