70.4 Overall Score (down 3.7 since Aug 1st.)


  • 22.6 Public Health
  • 61.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 22.6 Public Health
  • 61.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Denmark's score is very strong, due to a robust healthcare system and to generous fiscal responses that safeguarded employment. Public health directives have improved substantially in recent months.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Denmark’s universal healthcare system, coupled with a high GDP per capita and low debt-to-GDP ratio have contributed to its effective pandemic-response policies, though it is hurt by its low number of hospital beds.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 34.3%
  • GDP/capita $55,675
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 28.7
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 4
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 85.7
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 17.5

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Oct 1.)

Public Health Directives

Despite Denmark’s very high testing levels, relatively low emergency healthcare spending and a relaxed lockdown pull down its score.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 1
  • Public event cancellations 1
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $16.52
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 655.2
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Denmark’s financial response has been relatively strong, driven by its generous income support.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 16%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Denmark’s prime minister conducts weekly briefings that emphasise clear, fact-based messages.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 0
  • Press freedom 0

COVID-19 Status as of Oct 1

Denmark has a very strong score in this category, with a fairly low death and case rate and a very low positivity rate, meaning that it is testing a wide range of its population.

  • Total deaths 650
  • Death rate per 100K 112.2
  • Total cases 27,998
  • Cases per 100K 4,834
  • Percent of positive tests 1.2
  • Change in positivity rates +0.9
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 15 Primary schools reopen 35.52
2 Apr 20 Non-essential health care services and some businesses, such as hair salons, reopen 29.84
3 May 11 Retail stores reopen 22.35
4 May 18 Restaurants and secondary schools reopen 12.28
5 May 21 Museums and zoos reopen 11.10
6 May 27 Cultural activities reopen 9.47
7 Jun 08 Numbers allowed at public gatherings raised from 10 to 50 6.88
8 Jul 01 Numbers allowed at public gatherings raised from 50 to 100 5.11
9 Aug 22 Facemasks mandatory on public transportation 18.45
10 Sep 19 Public gatherings limited to 50 people, and bars and restaurants must close at 10pm, until October 4th 64.89

Differentiating Factors

  • Lockdown measures reimposed: Restrictions on gatherings were reinstated following the rise of daily infections after measures were relaxed in March and May. Read More
  • Early success opening schools: Managing the outbreak through a nationwide lockdown helped to enable the opening of schools, with the youngest pupils returning first in limited cohorts; mandatory masks and handwashing set an example for other nations. Read More
  • High wage-reimbursement levels: Denmark has kept its rate of unemployment low by reimbursing companies for up to 90 percent of furloughed workers' wages. Read More
  • Early action enabling slow re-opening: The government has taken a two-part approach to the pandemic, initially focused on suppression via lockdown, and then mitigation, including contact tracing. In April, it became the first European country to re-open schools. Read More
  • Keeping hospital visits low: Primary physicians and general practitioners are responsible for the majority of coronavirus diagnoses, with the aim of keeping hospital visits to a minimum. Read More
Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 64.3
    Norway 13,914
    Per 1M

    Norway scores just below the median, pulled down by its weak public health and financial response scores, despite a strong reliance on facts and a free press.

  • 58.2
    Sweden 93,615
    Per 1M

    Despite being known for a relatively strong public healthcare system, Sweden has been hit hard with cases; the country’s lack of stay-at-home orders and school closures, limited testing, and few gathering restrictions overshadowed its financial support, reliance on facts, and accountability with an open press.

  • 72.8
    Germany 291,722
    Per 1M

    Germany has improved its score a bit in the past few months, after a sharp decline in the fall. Its improvements in contact tracing, which are already likely underestimated in the data, and restrictions on public gatherings, have played important roles in this turnaround, although there has been a recent spike in cases, likely due to both recent restriction relaxations and vaccine rollout issues.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

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New Zealand

Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:

Pre-COVID Conditions:

  • Debt to GDP ratio
  • Infant mortality rates
  • Hospital beds per 1,000 people
  • Gini coefficients measuring inequality
  • Health access and quality

COVID-19 Public Health Directives:

  • Stay-at home orders
  • School-closing policy
  • Public-gathering restrictions
  • Cancellation of public events
  • Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
  • Emergency healthcare spending per capita
  • Travel restrictions
  • Contact tracing

COVID-19 Financial Response:

  • Stimulus package as a share of GDP
  • Income support
  • Debt-forbearance

Public Communications:

  • Instances of misinformation by leadership
  • Limitations on press freedom, censorship

Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:

  • Death rates per 1 million
  • Case rates per 1 million