COVID-19 International Responses: Resources for Comparison with U.S. Policies

COVID-19 International Responses:
Resources for Comparison with U.S. Policies

August 14, 2020
This Insight presents selected resources and CRS products that may be useful for Congress as it compares
U.S. responses to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with other countries’ responses.
COVID-19 emerged in China in late 2019 and has since spread around the globe, infecting mil ions and
leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Since it emerged, the pandemic epicenter has shifted from
China to several countries in Europe and then across the western hemisphere, including Brazil and the
United States. In addition to the high counts of il ness and death, COVID-19 has prompted a global
economic recession
with varying impacts on countries worldwide, according to the World Bank and the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The U.S. economy, as measured by
gross domestic product, contracted at an annual rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020. In the United
States, unemployment also became widespread, with close to 18 mil ion jobless (11.1% of workers) and
more than 30 mil ion Americans receiving unemployment benefits as of July 30, 2020.
Congress has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fal out with three broad emergency
supplemental legislative assistance packages:
P.L. 116-123, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act,
2020, March 6, 2020;
P.L. 116-127, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Families First Coronavirus
Response Act, March 18, 2020; and
P.L. 116-136, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, March 27,
On April 24, 2020, Congress also enacted P.L. 116-139, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health
Care Enhancement Act, which created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP was designed to
provide for loans, guaranteed by the Smal Business Association, to smal businesses, nonprofit
organizations, and veterans’ organizations.
Two additional laws concerning the PPP were later enacted. In June 2020, P.L. 116-142 extended the PPP
loan forgiveness period. P.L. 116-147, enacted in July 2020, extended the authority for commitments for
the PPP, extended the PPP’s covered loan period, and authorized $659 bil ion for PPP loan commitments
and $30 bil ion for 7(a) loan commitments.
Congressional Research Service
Prepared for Members and
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Congressional Research Service
Congress also enacted two additional laws relating to COVID-19. In April 2020, P.L. 116-140, the
Student Veteran Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to
continue paying work-study al owances during emergency periods. The Emergency Aid for Returning
Americans Affected by Coronavirus Act, P.L. 116-148, enacted on July 13, 2020, increased the maximum
amount of funding available in FY2020 for, and revised certain requirements pertaining to, temporary
assistance for U.S. citizens and their dependents returning from abroad.
The House passed a fourth broad legislative package to address the pandemic on May 15, 2020: the
Heroes Act (H.R. 6800). The Senate Committee on Smal Business and Entrepreneurship has held
hearings on the legislation.
Numerous educational institutions and international organizations have compiled and tracked information
on the international response to COVID-19. CRS has provided some of these compilations below in
alphabetical order by organization, along with brief notes on the type of information provided.
 The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s COVID-19 Policy Tracker “summarizes the
key economic responses governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact
of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 The OECD’s Key Country Policy Responses website provides policy papers on 97
countries’ responses to COVID-19. An interactive map al ows users to receive detailed
descriptions of each country’s COVID-19 response. Users interested in comparing
international responses between two countries may also download the underlying data
that support the map. The following spreadsheets are available:1
Fiscal and Monetary Policy Responses by Country,
Employment and Social Responses by Country,
Tax Policy Responses by Country,
Health Policy Responses by Country. and
Science and Innovation Policy Responses by Country.
 The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Health System Report Monitor al ows users
in a single PDF to compare various countries’ (primarily European countries) responses
(primarily health system responses, but also governance and expenditure responses).
Users may select up to 10 countries and up to 4 topics at a time.
 The Cambridge Core Blog contains comparative information on a wide variety of country
responses and some state or province measures, including social safety net efforts and
direct payments to individuals.
 The European Commission’s proposed country-specific recommendations provide
economic and disease control monitoring for European Union (EU) member states and
the United Kingdom.
 The University of Oxford’s Coronavirus Government Response Tracker col ects data on
COVID-19 policy responses for more than 180 countries, as wel regional aggregations
and a separate analysis of al 50 U.S. states. The tracker scores the number and
“stringency” of 17 indicators of government responses (e.g., income support to citizens
and containment policies, such as school closures) and aggregates them into a Stringency
 The Yale Program on Financial Stability’s COVID-19 Fiscal Response Tracker follows
interventions by central banks, fiscal authorities, and organizations aimed at restoring

1 All links except the “Science and Innovation” link open the spreadsheets directly.

Congressional Research Service
 financial stability in 79 countries and international organizations (such as the World
Bank Group and the Nordic Investment Bank). The “Fiscal Stimulus” category includes,
but does not disaggregate, direct payments to individuals, increases in defense spending,
and the construction of new homes.
CRS Reports
For more information on global responses to COVID-19, U.S. foreign assistance for low-income
countries, and global economic effects of the pandemic, among other things, see the following CRS
 CRS In Focus IF11421, COVID-19: Global Implications and Responses, coordinated by
Sara M. Tharakan;
 CRS In Focus IF11575, COVID-19 and Global Food Security: Issues for Congress, by
Alyssa R. Casey and Emily M. Morgenstern;
 CRS Report R46319, Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19): Q&A on Global
Implications and Responses, coordinated by Tiaji Salaam-Blyther;
 CRS Report R46270, Global Economic Effects of COVID-19, coordinated by James K.
 CRS Report R46430, Global Democracy and Human Rights Impacts of COVID-19: In
Brief, coordinated by Michael A. Weber;
 CRS In Focus IF11496, COVID-19 and Foreign Assistance: Issues for Congress, by Nick
M. Brown, Marian L. Lawson, and Emily M. Morgenstern; and
 CRS Insight IN11477, Fiscal and Monetary Policy Initiatives by Major Economies to
Address COVID-19, by James K. Jackson.

Author Information

Hannah Fischer
Sara M. Tharakan
Information Research Specialist
Analyst in Global Health and International Development

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