Best City for COVID-19

Analysts at the Higher School of Economics put Moscow in second place in the ranking of the world’s largest megacities in terms of the effectiveness of city authorities’ actions during the coronavirus pandemic. Such a high place for Moscow was primarily ensured by the sustainability of the city budget.

Moscow was in second place in the rating of the effectiveness of the actions of city authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was compiled by experts from the Higher School of Economics (HSE). The rating is based on data on 19 megacities of the world. Analysts compared how city health systems worked during the pandemic, assessed the stability of the economy and social sphere and the sustainability and priorities of city budgets.

Taking into account these three factors, the first place in the HSE ranking was Singapore (67.2 points).

Thanks in part to its status as a city-state, the university estimates that Singapore has been able to effectively contain the epidemic and thus reduce health damage to the city. At the same time, the authorities pursued an active and successful incentive policy to support businesses and citizens.

The second place in the ranking is occupied by Moscow (66.1 points) primarily due to the sustainability of its budget. Compared to other cities, the city had a low level of debt before the pandemic, allowing it to ramp up social spending during the pandemic without going to the federal government for help.

Also, in comparison with other cities, Moscow has a well-developed healthcare infrastructure.

During the epidemic, a large-scale COVID-19 testing system was launched in the capital. At the same time, the indicator of economic stability in the city turned out to be relatively low, as experts point out, although traffic flows in Moscow have recovered quite quickly, and the attendance rates for grocery and non-food stores remain at a rather low level.

The top 5 cities of the rating also included Shanghai (64.9 points), Seoul (62.2 points) and Beijing (62.2 points) mainly due to the maintenance of sustainable economic dynamics during a pandemic. The last places in the ranking, on the contrary, were taken by New Delhi (as a new wave of the epidemic is spreading in it), Kiev (budget cuts with low vaccination and testing rates) and Stockholm (significant excess mortality and conservative fiscal policy).

Note that it is rather difficult to assess how accurately the HSE rating reflects the real situation in Moscow. During the pandemic, several rankings of both cities and countries in general appeared in the world, but they all use their own calculation methodologies.

Anastasia Manuilova