Do Regulations Matter in Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic? Lessons from Poland

Lukasz Gruszczynski, Mateusz Zatoński, Martin McKee

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


In this article we argue that the design and timing of regulatory responses, as well as the adherence of the population to the relevant rules, have a critical impact on the progression and public health consequences of the pandemic. This hypothesis is empirically tested using the example of Poland, a country which experienced, compared to its Western European neighbours, relatively mild first phase of the pandemic. In this context, we compare Poland with selected Western European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and supplement them by examples from other Visegrad Four (V4) countries – Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. On that basis, we conclude that while the observed differences between the countries in the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic are the result of a multitude of complex and interrelated reasons (such as demographic structure, population density and connectivity or cultural factors), well-designed public health measures, which are implemented early as a part of the proactive strategy that anticipates and reacts quickly to changing circumstances can effectively decrease number of COVID-19 infections and related deaths, provided that adherence of a relevant population is high.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2021


  • COVID-19
  • pandemic and regulations
  • public health measures
  • public health policy
  • adherence
  • pandemic in the CEE


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