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The Economic Impact of Long COVID in Italy: An Analysis Up to 2024 and Beyond Volume 57- Issue 2

Matteo Maria Cati*

  • University of Bologna, Italy

Received: June 24, 2024; Published: June 27, 2024

*Corresponding author: Matteo Maria Cati, University of Bologna, 2 Scaravilli Square 40126 Bologna, Italy

DOI: 10.26717/BJSTR.2024.57.008972

Abstract PDF


This paper examines the economic impact of Long COVID in Italy from the onset of the pandemic up to 2024, with projections extending into future years. Utilizing data from various sources, including recent findings from the Italian National Institute of Health and employing Python for statistical analysis, we assess the repercussions on healthcare costs, labor market dynamics, and overall economic productivity. The findings highlight significant strains on the healthcare system, reduced labor force participation, and broader economic challenges. Our study underscores the need for targeted policies to mitigate these effects and support economic recovery.

Keywords: Long COVID; Economic Impact; Healthcare Costs; Labor Market; Italy


The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects globally, not only in terms of public health but also on economic stability. While the acute phase of COVID-19 has garnered significant attention, the long-term effects, particularly Long COVID, have increasingly become a focus of concern. Long COVID, characterized by prolonged symptoms post-infection, presents new challenges for economies worldwide. This paper investigates the economic impact of Long COVID in Italy, leveraging real-world data and employing Python for rigorous analysis.

Literature Review

1) Health Economics of Long COVID: Studies have documented the healthcare costs associated with Long COVID, including increased hospital admissions and long-term medical care needs [1,2].

2) Labor Market Implications: Long COVID has been linked to reduced labor force participation due to prolonged illness, affecting productivity and economic output [3,4].

3) Economic Growth and Productivity: The broader economic impact includes reduced consumer spending, increased government spending on healthcare, and potential shifts in economic growth trajectories [5,6].

Data and Methodology

Data Sources

1) Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT): Data on healthcare expenditures, labor market statistics, and economic indicators [7].

2) Ministry of Health, Italy: Data on Long COVID prevalence and healthcare resource utilization [8].

3) OECD: Economic indicators and reports on Italy’s economic performance and projections [9].

4) European Commission: Reports on the economic impact of Long COVID on labor market participation and overall economic effects in the EU [10].


1) Data Collection and Preprocessing: Using Python, we preprocess the datasets to handle missing values, normalize variables, and merge datasets from different sources.

2) Descriptive Analysis: Initial descriptive statistics to understand the distribution and trends in the data.

3) Econometric Modeling: Regression analysis to quantify the impact of Long COVID on various economic indicators.

4) Scenario Analysis: Projecting future economic impacts under different scenarios of Long COVID prevalence and healthcare interventions.

Updated Analysis for Future Projections

Based on recent findings, we now adjust our model to reflect that 45% of the population previously affected by COVID-19 is experiencing Long COVID [11]. Given Italy’s population of about 60 million and approximately 25 million COVID-19 cases, this results in about 7 million individuals experiencing Long COVID (Figure 1).

Figure 1



The regression analysis reveals a statistically significant negative impact of Long COVID on GDP growth. The descriptive statistics indicate a substantial increase in healthcare costs and a notable decline in labor force participation among those affected by Long COVID. Scenario analysis projects that without significant intervention, Italy could face a prolonged impact of long Covid – 29 on its economic performance.

Explanation of the Graph

The graph generated from the Python code illustrates the projected GDP growth rates under three different scenarios of Long COVID

prevalence and healthcare interventions:

1) Pessimistic Scenario: Assumes a 5% increase in Long COVID cases and a 2% increase in healthcare spending. This scenario projects a noticeable negative impact on GDP growth, reflecting the potential outcomes if Long COVID prevalence increases without adequate interventions.

2) Neutral Scenario: Assumes a 3% increase in Long COVID cases and a 1% increase in healthcare spending. This scenario represents a moderate impact on GDP growth, indicating a balanced approach between optimistic and pessimistic projections.

3) Optimistic Scenario: Assumes a 1% increase in Long COVID cases and a 0.5% increase in healthcare spending. This scenario projects the least negative impact on GDP growth, suggesting that with effective interventions and control measures, the economic impact of Long COVID can be mitigated.

The x-axis represents the years from 2024 to 2028, while the y-axis represents the GDP growth rate as a percentage. The different lines on the graph correspond to the projected GDP growth rates under each scenario, illustrating how varying levels of Long COVID prevalence and healthcare spending could influence Italy’s economic trajectory.


Our findings suggest that Long COVID poses a serious threat to Italy’s economic recovery post-pandemic in a scenario of structural problem, such as the very high Public Debt/GDP ratio. The healthcare system faces increased financial burdens, and the labor market experiences reduced productivity. Policymakers need to consider strategies such as increased healthcare funding, support for affected workers, and economic stimuli to counteract these effects [12-19] (Appendix Text) (Appendix Figures 1 & 2).

Appendix Figure 1


Appendix Figure 2



Long COVID remains a critical public health and economic issue. This study highlights the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to manage the long-term economic impact. Future research should focus on the efficacy of various interventions and explore the socio-economic dimensions of Long COVID.


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