43.4 Overall Score (down 22.2 since Aug 1st.)


  • 57.4 Public Health
  • 0 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 57.4 Public Health
  • 0 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and improved contact tracing has helped slow the spread and slightly improved its overall score since January.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Despite a relatively strong overall healthcare system, Italy’s low number of hospital beds likely played a major role in COVID-19’s devastating impact there.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 135.5%
  • GDP/capita $41,582
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 35.9
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 88.7
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 24.1

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Italy’s limited testing and low emergency healthcare spending likely played a role in it becoming an epicenter of the pandemic early on, but its policy response likely helped the country manage its first wave; however, it is still near the median score for public health, which is a concern, given its rapid rise in cases.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $122.23
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 442.5
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

Italy has a very weak score on financial support, driven largely by its low level of income support for workers, which it also implemented fairly late in the crisis.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 13%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Italy’s government has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.

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

COVID-19 Status as of Jan 1

Italy’s current status with regard to COVID-19 is weak; it has experienced a substantial rise in both case and death rates since the early fall as it may be entering a second wave, although strong restrictions have helped lower case rates substantially.

  • Total deaths 74,621
  • Death rate per 100K 1234.2
  • Total cases 2,129,376
  • Cases per 100K 35,219
  • Percent of positive tests 11.9
  • Change in positivity rates +10
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 18 Retail, restaurants, and hairdressers reopen 14.35
2 May 25 Sports facilities reopen 10.09
3 Jun 15 cinemas and theaters reopened 4.75
4 Aug 17 Nightclubs close, masks mandated 8.06
5 Sep 14 Some schools reopen 23.57
6 Sep 18 Relaxes ban on spectators at sporting events, allowing up to 1,000 fans per game 23.95
7 Oct 25 Restaurants and bars must close at 6pm, max of 4 people per table 263.55
8 Nov 05 National curfew from 10pm to 5am, all museums and galleries close, all shopping centers close on weekends, schools go full-time online, public transportation only allowed with 50% capacity (from 80% before) 492.13

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Neighboring/Nearest Countries
  • 41.2
    Switzerland 452,296
    Per 1M

    Switzerland's reliance on facts and an open media drove its score up to the median, helping to counter weak financial support and limited restrictions on social interactions.

  • 80.4
    France 2,697,014
    Per 1M

    France maintained its improved public health policy from the early fall, keeping its score relatively strong, although poor contact tracing and a relatively small stimulus package kept it from being higher.

  • 41
    Spain 1,928,265
    Per 1M

    Spain's score jumped since January to just over the median, having implemented stricter public health policies, but the country's minimal stimulus support still drags down its overall score.

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