Study Links Happiness to Severity of COVID Response, Morocco at #100


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Rabat – A study conducted by Tracking Happiness ranked Morocco as the 100th happiest country in comparison to the stringency of the COVID-19 response. 

In March, the World Happiness Report of 2020 ranked Morocco as the 106th happiest country out of 153. The report did not find any statistically significant changes from 2017-2019 compared to 2020. 

Tracking Happiness changed the parameters to identify a correlation between the severity of COVID lockdowns around the world in comparison with their happiness score. 

The researchers stated, “It’s very complex and finding a causal relationship is practically impossible.” However, the data still yielded a variety of observations relating to the two variables.

Determining the stringency index

The study used data collected by the University of Oxford to establish a COVID lockdown stringency index for each country. The parameters of the study were based on containment and closure, economic response, health services, and a section titled “miscellaneous”.

Countries with the least stringent lockdowns were shown to be happier. The four happiest countries: Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden, had less stringent lockdowns than 88% of the countries worldwide.

As for the most stringent countries (those that experienced full lockdowns), such as India, Honduras, El Salvador, and even Morocco, the happiness index reflected low scores.

Some outliers include countries such as the Netherlands, Austria, and New Zealand. Although these countries had relatively stringent lockdowns, residents participated in more outdoor activities which may have had a positive effect on happiness.

Japan also ranked as being happier throughout the pandemic citing work-from-home regulations and a higher daily step count.

Many remain hopeful that Morocco’s lockdown regulations will become less stringent as more residents are vaccinated and researchers plan to compare data to analyze global happiness in post-pandemic societies. 

The researchers concluded: “Even though it’s impossible to find a causal relationship between a country’s stringency and happiness, it’s revealing to see the data on how some countries have fared during the pandemic.”