US takes the top spot on Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking as vaccine rollout speeds up return to normal

A crowd of mostly unmasked people seen in Danville, Pennsylvania.
A crowd of mostly unmasked people during Danville Business Alliance's 35th Annual Spring Fling street festival. As vaccinations rates go up, masks are coming off, speeding up a return to normal. Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As vaccination rates go up and masks come off, the US is now the best place to be during the pandemic, according to Bloomberg's monthly Covid Resilience Ranking.

The index ranks 53 major economies each month on how they're handling the virus and the level of social and economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Unlike previous rankings, the latest index takes into account "reopening progress," which includes factors like vaccination progress, lockdown severity, flight capacity, and vaccinated travel routes.

And it's this latest addition that has helped the US rise from the 13th spot in May, overtaking New Zealand for the number one spot in June.

As the coronavirus era stretches on, Bloomberg said "normalization" is now a key factor on top of countries' ability to contain the virus.

With 47% of its population vaccinated, "restaurants are packed, masks are no longer required for vaccinated people, and Americans are going on vacation again," said Bloomberg.

Just four states - Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington - are not fully reopened in the US due to not having hit vaccination goals, according to a New York Times reopening tracker. Most of the country is expected to be fully reopened by July.

Similarly, European countries that have high rates of vaccination and are open to tourists - France, Spain, and Switzerland, among them - are also in the top 10 of Bloomberg's list.

The updated index saw previous COVID-19 havens like New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore slide in their rankings. These countries have relied largely on strict border control measures and lockdowns to contain the virus.

New Zealand and Australia are also struggling to ramp up vaccination rates, with only 10% and 14% of their population vaccinated respectively.

But Bloomberg cautioned that these rankings are not static, and could change, especially as the virus mutates.

Already, the Delta variant has caused the UK to delay its reopening plans and has driven new outbreaks in other countries, scuppering a return to normal.

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