36.2 Overall Score (up 8.5 since Aug 1st.)

United States

  • 57.7 Public Health
  • 43.5 Financial
  • 40 Fact-Based
  • 57.7 Public Health
  • 43.5 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 Jan 1.)

Public Health Directives

The United States’ public health policy is near the median—most of its policies are consistently in this vicinity, although it does poorly on testing policy and restricting public gatherings.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 0
  • Testing policy 0
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1227.06
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 749.2
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

The United States’ financial response is near the median, with somewhat strong income support policy compensating for weak debt relief and a relatively small stimulus package.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 14.1%
  • 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 Jan 1

The United States’ extremely high case rate and fairly high death rate are likely impacted by its poor public health policy and the Trump administration's routine neglect of facts in public communications, resulting in a weak score in this category.

  • Total deaths 347,901
  • Death rate per 100K 1051.1
  • Total cases 20,184,236
  • Cases per 100K 60,979
  • Percent of positive tests 12.1
  • Change in positivity rates +7
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown

Differentiating Factors

  • U.S. records highest single-day deaths: January 6th saw America's highest number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic began, reaching 3,865. Read More
  • Pfizer denies production delays: Pfizer clashed with U.S. health officials in mid-December, over accusations that the company is not meeting its promised vaccine-production targets. Pfizer maintains that it has millions of doses awaiting shipment instructions and that it intends to produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Read More
  • Moderna vaccine to receive FDA authorization: The FDA was expected to grant emergency authorization to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccination in late December, enabling the use of two separate vaccinations in the fight against the coronavirus. Officials anticipated that distribution of six million doses could begin within days of authorization. Read More
  • 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, 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
  • 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
Compared with Other Western Hemisphere Countries
  • 59.2
    Canada 585,400
    Per 1M

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

  • 39.9
    Mexico 1,437,185
    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.

  • 85.3
    Argentina 1,629,594
    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.

  • 49.7
    Brazil 7,700,578
    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.

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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