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From National Lockdowns to Herd Immunity: Understanding the Spectrum of Government Responses to COVID-19 (2019-2021)

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2021
Trefwoorden COVID-19, Health Policy, Policy Strategies, Policy Capacity, Leadership
Auteurs Michael Howlett
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    Governments around the world responded at roughly the same time but in several different ways to the emerging threat of COVID-19 in early 2020. This article sets out the nature of the different strategies that emerged over the course of the pandemic, focussing on the policy tools deployed. Some of these efforts were successful in containing the coronavirus while others were not, in some cases due to poor initial choices and in others due to poor implementation of the chosen strategy. Although the initial understanding each government had of the nature of the disease was the same, different state capacities and different levels of preparedness and effective leadership can be seen to have resulted over time in the emergence of six distinct approaches to the pandemic which, once deployed, proved difficult, although not impossible, to change as the pandemic unfolded.


Michael Howlett
Dr. M. Howlett is professor at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
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