On Classifying the Pandemic: A Potential Contribution of Cluster Analysis for Policymakers
Purpose: The recent pandemic (COVID-19) is considered as the most crucial health misfortune of this century globally. It became the greatest challenge after the second World War. Countries fear the imminent economic and financial crisis leading to recession due to this outbreak. There are countries with no cases reported, clusters of cases, and community transmission with various social measures and varying public health measures depending on the local evolution of virus. This study analyzes the countries based on their common characteristics and COVID-19 spread leading to better policy making
Methodology: To achieve the objective and understand the internal dynamics of the spread, this study employs the kNN clustering technique by using daily data of COVID-19 cases from January 22, 2020 to September 20, 2020.
Findings: Based on the results, four different clusters were identified. These clusters reflect the growth of cases and strategic measures to contain spread. There were 134 countries in the largest cluster while the other 3 clusters had 35,13 and 6 members respectively. The study shows that the governments and the stakeholders including public played a significant role in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The countries which were efficient in devising policies and also implementing them controlled the spread quickly. Therefore, the findings of study deliver important implications for the policymakers.
Originality: The clustering of countries explained in this study will serve the steppingstone for those interested in infectious diseases in general and COVID-19 research in specific.
Implications: Many countries controlled the virus to a larger extent, but it is said that virus has reduced but not ended so it is essential to take great care. The study not only provides substantial evidence and understanding of the pandemic’s spread but also proves to be useful for policy makers and other stakeholders.