New Zealand's and Canada's governments exhibited the best leadership skills concerning the coronavirus pandemic in 2021. According to an Ipsos survey polling 22,000 people across 28 countries, 73 percent of all respondents thought the two nations did a good job at keeping the virus at bay and their residents safe. This result is not surprising, since New Zealand in particular employed a strict policy with real, wide-ranging lockdowns in the past, although a hard-to-contain outbreak in Auckland forced Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to veer off course a little this August. What's more surprising: The biggest global superpowers had some of the worst approvement scores in the poll as our chart shows.
Coming in last among the 13 countries and organizations in the questionnaire is the U.S. with 46 percent of participants claiming it navigated the pandemic safely. While this score is pretty low in comparison with Germany's 71 percent and even the UK's and South Korea's 58 percent, it's still a remarkable improvement compared to 2020 when Donald Trump was still president. In last year's Ipsos poll, only 22 percent of survey participants said that they felt the U.S. government showed good leadership skills while battling the global pandemic. South Korea, on the other hand, actually saw a decline in approval from 61 percent in 2020 to 58 percent in 2021.
While cases are surging in Central and Eastern European countries and new lockdowns are on the horizon, the Ipsos poll also reflects the hopefulness of its participants. 45 percent of the people polled thought that the virus was contained due to the rise in vaccinations and the pandemic would soon be over. As of now, estimates amount to 260 million infections and 5.8 million deaths caused by Covid worldwide.