The Relative Performance of Federal and Non-federal Countries During the Pandemic3 The story of COVID-19 can be divided into two broad, overlapping phases. The first phase covers the period from the initial outbreak of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020 until about January 2021. That is the time when – without a preventive vaccine – the world struggled to contain its spread and to provide health care to those who fell ill. The second phase of the story starts in early 2021, when effective vaccines began to be manufactured and administered to national populations. Assessing the performance of a country in the first phase focuses on how well the infection was contained and how many people lost their lives to the disease. Assessing performance in the second phase will continue to involve assessing infection-containment and death-reduction measures, but will in addition entail an evaluation of how effectively vaccinations were administered to a country’s population.1 This chapter restricts itself to examining performance in the first phase.