39.1 Overall Score (up 11.4 since Aug 1st.)

United States

  • 37.8 Public Health
    Directives
  • 35.4 Financial
    Response
  • 40 Fact-Based
    Communication
  • 37.8 Public Health
    Directives
  • 35.4 Financial
    Response
  • 40 Fact-Based
    Communication

The United States’ policy has been relatively weak, given the federal government’s limited use of facts and science, limited emergency healthcare spending, and limited debt relief.

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 Oct 1.)
37.8

Public Health Directives

The United States’ public health policy is relatively weak, its score primarily driven down by limited testing and inconsistent restrictions on travel, gatherings, and events.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 0
  • Testing policy 0
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1229.60
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 342.2
  • Contact tracing 1
35.4

Financial Response

The United States’ financial response has been relatively weak, with its score pulled down mainly by weak debt-relief policy, depsite a generous financial stimulus early in the crisis.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 14.1%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1
40

Fact-Based Communication

The United States has not performed well in this category, as the government has engaged in misinformation as much as any country in the Index, although 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 Oct 1

The United States’ case rate is likely impacted by its poor public health policy and its leaders’ routine neglect of facts in public communications, resulting in a weak score in this category.

  • Total deaths 206,928
  • Death rate per 100K 625.2
  • Total cases 7,233,043
  • Cases per 100K 21,852
  • Percent of positive tests 5.1
  • Change in positivity rates -2.8
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 2 Lockdown

Differentiating Factors

  • Death toll tops 200,000: The US accounts for 21 percent of confirmed COVID-19 deaths around the world despite having only 4 percent of the world's population. Read More
  • Workers told to keep COVID-19 cases secret: Workers from major U.S. companies, including Amazon, Smithfiled 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
  • CDC changes testing guidance: The CDC changed its guidance in late August, saying that contacts of positive COVID-19 cases without symptoms do not need to get tested. The abrupt change has been linked to pressure from top Trump administration officials, who have been accused of trying to keep case numbers artificially low. 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
  • 76.2
    Canada 158,758
    Cases
    4,206
    Per 1M
    9,297
    Deaths

    Canada’s relatively strong score, due to a generous financial response and a reliance on fact-based communications, is hurt by a relaxed lockdown, poor contact tracing, and little emergency healthcare spending.

  • 52.8
    Mexico 743,216
    Cases
    5,764
    Per 1M
    77,646
    Deaths

    Mexico scores around the median, due primarily to its extremely weak financial response and relatively weak public health policy, including very limited testing.

  • 79.8
    Argentina 750,988
    Cases
    16,616
    Per 1M
    16,937
    Deaths

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

  • 48.2
    Brazil 4,810,935
    Cases
    22,633
    Per 1M
    143,952
    Deaths

    Brazil scores near the median, primarily due to its poor public health policies, especially its very low levels of testing, coupled with President Bolsonaro’s reliance on misinformation about the virus.

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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