Social cohesion vs COVID-19

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The control of particularly virulent communicable diseases such as COVID-19 can be considered a global public good. Unabated contagion, both within and across borders, can result in a global public bad. More effective control – such as by flattening the epidemiological curve – could prevent severe social and economic disruption by allowing domestic health and social protection systems to more adequately respond to the health crisis. This article elaborates on some of the main elements of counter COVID-19 responses, drawing on emerging international good practices. While a full evaluation of policy effectiveness is still forthcoming, it is critical to review and synthesize the emerging lessons and evidence even this early.


This article reviews the international good practices in counter COVID-19 responses across countries.


Concerted efforts across borders, such as by sharing data and collaborating in research and by coordinating international support for countercyclical economic and health responses at the national level, are some of the options for countering COVID-19 at the international level. Within countries, more inclusive social protection and health systems, combined with countercyclical economic policies, and concerted behavioral changes tend to produce more effective collective action against the spread of the disease.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on a review of emerging responses to the health crisis.

Practical implications

The policies and practices reviewed in this paper could feed into better-informed crisis responses to COVID-19 and other types of health shocks.


This study is among the first general reviews of policy responses to the COVID-19 health crisis.