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Report Report

Governments’ response to COVID-19: From pandemic crisis to a better future

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus is challenging governments to act in ways normally reserved for war, depressions, and natural disasters. The pandemic has caused global upheaval that may endure for months—or longer. Governments are taking extreme measures to limit the human cost and economic disruption. It is the most consequential set of public policy and mass behavior change actions most of us have seen in our lifetimes.

In a fast-moving crisis, as information swarms in from every direction, citizens look to their governments for information, guidance, and leadership. They expect to be kept safe and healthy. Pressure on public officials to act is enormous. How can they hope to gain clarity amid chaos? How can they move from ad hoc solutions to a well-planned path to recovery? And, as we eventually emerge from the crisis, how can they ensure more resilient, effective responses in the future?

This study considers how governments should think about short- and long-term responses to the COVID-19 crisis. Rather than offering specific policy recommendations, we’ll look at how governments can structure their decision-making to address the challenges they face.