This chapter compares how different countries responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in the first six months (January–June 2020), as viewed through the lens of collective cognition and complex adaptive systems. It presents the comparative analysis of the ten country case studies to identify these features, and the findings are presented under the three phases of response: (1) risk assessment, (2) actions taken, and (3) recovery. Symbols and signals of collective cognition are identified and classified under seven interrogative words: what, how, who, when, where, why, and which – which provide a framework for understanding the nature of cognition during the crisis and the subtle changes in focus during different phases of response. This analysis is followed by an examination of the barriers and enablers of collective cognition, focusing on the fundamental aspects of space, scale, energy, and complex time. The chapter brings together the theory and the empirical data to take the first steps to developing a model of collective cognition in a crisis.