Health Risk Index Report

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Every two weeks we calculate and share with you the CIEE Health Risk Index (CIEE HRI or HRI), one of the variables CIEE uses to assess risk in countries impacted by COVID-19. Going forward, in addition to the HRI table and the usual figures that illustrate trends in the HRI over time, we'll be offering some brief narrative observations about changes to the HRI since the last report.

  • CIEE countries in Africa/Middle East continue to show some dramatic improvement, in particular with increasing rates of vaccination.
  • Asia-Pacific countries continue to be rated a low risk, with most holding steady or improving. Singapore is experiencing an increase in cases as the country moves away from a zero-covid strategy, but still remains low risk relative to other countries around the globe.
  • Europe is largely holding steady at low to moderate risk, and it is noteworthy to point out Portugal’s incredibly high one-dose vaccination rate of 88%.
  • Latin America is showing some noteworthy improvements with very few exceptions.
  • North America countries are either holding steady or are improving.

CIEE is seeing a significant increase in student demand for Spring 2022 college study abroad programs in Europe and Asia. In addition, we are seeing strong interest from our high school and college partners to participate in global strategy meetings in Denver and Rome in the coming weeks. The world seems to be awakening.

***HRI 2.0I***
In June, we changed our methodology for calculating the HRI to place a greater emphasis on recent conditions as we have found that past severe outbreaks are not necessarily predictors of future ones, especially as vaccination rates increase and countries adopt new approaches following severe outbreaks. We call the output of the revised methodology HRI 2.0.  You will see that most country risk ratings changed as we moved from the HRI to HRI 2.0 – some considerably so. While this somewhat disrupts the trends we have been tracking over time using the previous risk metrics, we feel it is vitally important that our methods of assessing risk evolve as new information becomes available. 

The HRI 2.0  is different from the original HRI because we have:
  • added new metrics, including vaccination rate, that have become available since we began our bi-weekly HRI in April 2020.
  • included within the data inputs the current level of community transmission normalized by population (new cases during last 14 days per 100,000 people), which we previously reported separately as the Health Recency Report (HRR).
  • placed greater emphasis on normalizing metrics by population, rather than using raw case numbers.

About the HRI:

  • The index is a numerical value from 1 to 100 where higher numbers indicate higher risk as assessed by our calculations.
  • The lower the number, the fewer risk factors that will require mitigation. 
  • Arrows represent changes to the index of greater than two points - green arrows if the change was in the direction of lower risk; red if the change was in the direction of increased risk.  
  • The values are for comparative purposes only and are calculated weekly or biweekly so we may assess changes over time.
  • The values do not represent absolute risk, and there are no universal thresholds at which CIEE would or would not run a program.
  • Data is provisional and subject to change. Some risk values for past weeks may change occasionally as countries and/or data source sites update their past data to reflect more accurate information such as case and death counts for specific days.
  • The vaccination column does not take into account vaccine type/brand. There are additional vaccines beyond the three authorized in the US being used throughout the world, which in studies have shown differing efficacy rate

Community Transmission by Country

In the figure above you can see how the level of community transmission (as measured by new cases in the past 14 days per 100,000 people) in different countries compares with community spread in the United States as a whole (the red line). Because local COVID-19 impact is wildly variable across the United States, for additional comparison, there is a line to indicate community spread in the state with the lowest community spread (Connecticut), 5th highest community spread (North Dakota), and the highest community spread (Alaska).

Health Risk Indices by Region

Below are four figures offering an additional way to visualize the changes to the HRI over time. Each figure shows the HRI from April 13, 2021 through October 8, 2021 for countries within a region and, for comparison, the United States. In each figure, the y-axis shows HRI values from 0 - 100. Because a lower HRI value indicates a lower risk as assessed by our calculations, a downward slope represents a decrease in risk (a.k.a. an improvement in conditions). Note there is a line to indicate when our calculation methodology changed (beginning of HRI 2.0).

Africa & Middle East

Asia Pacific


Latin America

North America


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