The Complete Failure Of Predicting Pandemic Responses

The Economist Intelligence Unit, Johns Hopkins, and NTI made a report in October. It was completely wrong.
6 min readMay 26, 2020

On February 26th, Donald Trump held a printed report in front of his face. He was literally defending himself with paper.

The report was the Global Health Security Index, published in October 2019. The GHS Index was an attempt by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (why?), Johns Hopkins University, and The Economist Intelligence Unit to benchmark pandemic responses across the world.

They had a lot of experts, a lot of data, and the produced an impressive looking report. It was also completely, catastrophically wrong.

Reality has shown that. Their top-ranked countries have performed the absolute worst. The middling ones have done great. Even the bottom has done fine.

These GHS Index actually works best if you hold them upside down. It’s only predictive value is that it’s almost always wrong. Aside from being embarrassing, this has also contributed to disaster. Trump literally used the report to wave away action in…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at