Prevention vs. Promotion-Focus Regulatory Efforts on the Disease Incidence and Mortality of COVID-19: A Multinational Diffusion Study using Functional Data Analysis
JOURNAL NAME: Journal of International Marketing, American Marketing Association Journal
AUTHORS: V Kumar (Customer engagement Expert, USA), Ashish Sood (Associate Professor of Marketing, University of California Riverside), Shaphali Gupta (MICA), Nitish Sood (Pursuing a Doctorate of Medicine (MD) at Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA.)
1. In one to two sentences, explain the problem addressed in this article:
The unexpected spread of COVID-19 globally resulted in higher disease incidence and mortality in some countries more than others. This study attempts to explain why these differences occurred; and whether the magnitude of such a large scale impact could have been curtailed through non-pharmaceutical interventions such as restriction of gatherings, establishment closures, economic & health relief measures, and public information campaigns from different government bodies.
2. Write a synopsis of approximately 300-400 words that summarizes the key insights in your article. If applicable, include a real-life scenario or anecdote as an example that illustrates the issue.
The timing, severity and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic varied substantially across countries and also across regions within a country. This raises the question of why some countries suffered a higher number of COVID-19 infections & mortalities than others did despite sharing similar characteristics. In the absence of a clear and proven medical treatment to treat infections, countries adopted various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) to contain disease incidence and mortality in varying measures.
These NPIs supported by the Regulatory Focus Theory, included limits on private gatherings, restrictions on internal movement, shelter-in-place orders, closing of schools, universities, and non-essential businesses.
Infection was curtailed by limiting public transportation, international travel, and imposing additional screening and quarantine requirements. Additional resources were released to enhance health expenditure and to meet higher demand for physicians and hospital beds. Various relief efforts were initiated including freezing financial obligations, stopping loan repayments, banning evictions, releasing direct cash payments and running public information campaigns. Digital tools like location based proximity tracing and data integration to support surveillance, testing, contact
tracing, and strict quarantine were provided. Countries varied significantly in both the extent and timing of implementing these NPIs.
We assembled a unique and comprehensive dataset on disease incidence and mortality, country characteristics, and NPIs across 70 countries. We gathered information across countries on the policies perceived to be related to prevention focused and promotion-focused NPIs and the susceptibility to COVID-19. We use functional clustering to cluster countries across diverse geographic, demographic or economic characteristics with similar patterns of disease incidence and mortality. Countries in Cluster 1 with consistently low levels of disease incidence had the highest levels of both prevention- and promotion-focused NPIs and low levels of susceptibility. In contrast, countries in Cluster 5 with high levels of disease incidence from earliest time had moderate levels of prevention- and promotion-focused NPIs and susceptibility.
We employ functional regression to investigate the impact of NPIs on disease incidence. On the whole, prevention-focused activity -- closures, was more effective than prevention-focused activity -- containment, in controlling disease incidence. However, promotion-focused relief measures were more effective than prevention focused activity -- containment, in controlling disease incidence. Moreover, the susceptibility towards the disease moderated the impact of NPIs on mortality.
Our simulations yield insights into relative efficacy of these NPIs and help policymakers formulate pandemic response strategies to learn across clusters and co create appropriate policies. Going forward, this study can provide directions to the policymakers to have a combination of preventive and promotion interventions to mitigate disease spread and mortality at a country level.
3. Please condense your above summary into a bulleted list of 2–3 practitioner takeaways:
- This study can help public policy officials cluster countries based on the similarity of the disease spread, across diverse geographic, demographic or economic characteristics; and to explore how a reallocation of resources between prevention- and promotion-focused interventions may influence disease incidence and mortality.
- Public policy officials can predict the disease incidence in a country by integrating information from (a) past patterns of disease incidence in that country, (b) past patterns of disease incidence in other countries, and (c) knowledge of the promotion/prevention based interventions, and other unique characteristics of that country.
4. In one to two sentences, describe how marketers and managers would use this research:
This is the first study, to our knowledge, to investigate the relative effectiveness of diverse non-pharmaceutical interventions in mitigating disease incidence and mortality, and if learnings from one country could help the formulation of pandemic response strategies in other countries. The learnings from this global study serve to guide the development of an evidence-based countrywide pandemic response and provide insights on the diffusion patterns of the spread of a disease.
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