19.9 Overall Score (down 7.8 since Aug 1st.)

United States

  • 17.9 Public Health
  • 6 Financial
  • 40 Fact-Based
  • 17.9 Public Health
  • 6 Financial
  • 40 Fact-Based

Still battling widespread COVID-19 cases and deaths, which were exacerbated by the former administration's limited use of facts and science, limited emergency healthcare spending, and limited debt relief, the Biden administration, by contrast, is taking aggressive action to combat the virus, although it may take time for the score to reflect these changes.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Despite high wealth, the United States suffers from high debt, low numbers of hospital beds, and a fairly unequal society, driving its score down.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 106.9%
  • GDP/capita $67,427
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 41.4
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 6
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 81.3
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 20.4

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)

Public Health Directives

The United States’ public health policy is weak, with a major decline in contact tracing and school closings pushing its score down since January.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 2
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1229.60
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 1076.5
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

The United States has a relatively low score due to Congress's inability to pass signfiicant debt relief and a relatively small stimulus package until early in 2021. The full effect of the March recovery bill is not yet reflected in the data.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 1.6%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

The United States does not perform well in this category, as the government has engaged in misinformation as much as any country in the Index, though it has not limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 5
  • Press freedom 0

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

While the United States has had among the worst case and death rates in the world, rates are beginning to decline, aided by efforts by the Biden administration to manage spread and accelerate vaccination.

  • Total deaths 55,333
  • Death rate per 100K 167.2
  • Total cases 29,495,424
  • Cases per 100K 1,361
  • Percent of positive tests 4.7
  • Change in positivity rates -7.4
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown

Differentiating Factors

  • U.S. vaccinations surpass number of known COVID-19 cases: On March 9th, the U.S. reached a milestone, as 31 million people were fully vaccinated, surpassing the 29 million recorded cases of COVID-19 to date. Read More
  • B.1.1.7 variant spreads across America: The highly contagious B.1.1.7, or "U.K variant," has been recorded in 46 states and Washington, D.C., raising concerns over America's ability to contain the virus, despite an efficient vaccination rollout. Experts worry that the rate of vaccinations may not be enough to outpace a surge in the B.1.1.7 variant. Read More
  • Biden signs $1.9 trillion relief bill: President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan on March 11th. The legislation includes direct stimulus payments of $1,400, extended weekly unemployment benefits, and billions of dollars to speed up vaccine distribution and coronavirus testing. Read More
  • Workers told to keep COVID-19 cases secret: Workers from major U.S. companies, including Amazon, Smithfield Foods, General Electric, and Amazon, allege that they were told not to share information about their own or co-workers' COVID-19 diagnoses, even among employees. Several have filed OSHA complaints, and epidemiologists worry that gag rules may mask the true rate of infections. Read More
  • $2.2 trillion relief bill provided support: In March, the U.S. government passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill which included one-time payments of up to $1,200 to any American earning below $99,000. Read More
  • Record-breaking unemployment: Reaching a previously unsurpassed record of new unemployment claims per week in early July, jobless claims continue to threaten recovery. Read More
  • Trump continues touting misinformation: President Trump has been repeatedly criticized at home and abroad for amplifying misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus; he notably claimed that 99 percent of cases are 'harmless' during a speech on July 4th celebrating American independence. Read More
Compared with Other Western Hemisphere Countries
  • 63.3
    Canada 918,406
    Per 1M

    Canada has a relatively strong score, with poor public health policy countered by a continued reliance on fact-based communication.

  • 39.2
    Mexico 2,167,729
    Per 1M

    Mexico's score has deteriorated over time, due primarily to its extremely weak financial response and relatively weak public health policy, including very limited testing.

  • 65.9
    Argentina 2,201,886
    Per 1M

    Argentina’s strong policy score is mainly due to its strong political response, characterized by clear, fact-based communication and regular press briefings by President Fernandez.

  • 37.8
    Brazil 11,519,609
    Per 1M

    Brazil has a relatively weak score, primarily due to its poor public health policies, especially its very low levels of testing, coupled with President Bolsonaro’s spreading of misinformation about the virus.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

Be the source of actionable insight.

Select one of the subscription options below to read the full Covid-19 Global Response Index. Unlock even more global intelligence with a subscription to FP Insider.

Already an FP Insider?

Best Value

One-Year All Access
FP Insider


1-year of full access to FP Insider exclusive content and subscription benefits

See benefits  ▾

  • All FP Analytics Special Reports, including the COVID-19 Global Response Index
  • FP Analytics Power Maps
  • Editorial conference calls
  • Unlimited articles on ForeignPolicy.com
  • Digital and print editions of FP’s award-winning magazine
  • Print archive, containing 50 years of FP journalism
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Security and defense news alerts
  • Bonus episodes of FP podcasts
  • FP mobile app

❌ Hide benefits


COVID-19 Report Bundle


30-day Access to the COVID-19 Global Response Index and Global Race to Vaccinate report

Looking for group access? Contact us directly

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