The COVID-19 pandemic in Italy: policy and technology impact on health and non-health outcomes

Berardi Chiara, Antonini Marcello, Mesfin Genie, Cotugno Giovanni, Lanteri Alessandro, Adrian Melia, Paolucci Francesco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Italy was the first Western country to experience a major coronavirus outbreak and consequently faced large-scale health and socio-economic challenges. The Italian government enforced a wide set of homogeneous interventions nationally, despite the differing incidences of the virus throughout the country.

Objective: The paper aims to analyse the policies implemented by the government and their impact on health and non-health outcomes considering both scaling-up and scaling-down interventions.

Methods: To categorise the policy interventions, we rely on the comparative and conceptual framework developed by Moy et al. (2020). We investigate the impact of policies on the daily reported number of deaths, case fatality rate, confirmation rate, intensive care unit saturation, and financial and job market indicators across the three major geographical areas of Italy (North, Centre, and South). Qualitative and quantitative data are gathered from mixed sources: Italian national and regional institutions, National Health Research and international organisations. Our analysis contributes to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic by comparing policy interventions and their outcomes.

Results: Our findings suggest that the strictness and timing of containment and prevention measures played a prominent role in tackling the pandemic, both from a health and economic perspective. Technological interventions played a marginal role due to the inadequacy of protocols and the delay of their implementation.

Conclusions: Future government interventions should be informed by evidence-based decision making to balance, the benefits arising from the timing and stringency of the interventions against the adverse social and economic cost, both in the short and long term.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-487
Number of pages34
JournalHealth Policy and Technology
Issue number4
Early online date3 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • health policy
  • healthcare
  • health technology
  • global pandemic
  • Health policy
  • Healthcare
  • Pandemic
  • Health technology


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