COVID-19 and Official Statistics: A Wakeup Call?

20 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

Date Written: February 12, 2021


As COVID-19 spread globally, fast political decisions and the implementation of drastic measures were necessary to slow down proliferation and counter the economic disruption. The demand for broad, timely, high-frequency statistics about economic and health developments surged. At the same time, the pandemic outpaced the frequency at which most conventional statistics become available. Unconventional data helped to bridge these time lags, and to supply information on aspects of society not suitably covered by traditional official statistics, but that the need of the day suddenly made prominent for decision makers. The lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that greater preparedness and flexibility in facing “future unknowns” is essential. Enabling users of statistics to quickly tap on data dimensions and relationships needed for their decisions when confronted with exceptional circumstances, is essential for guaranteeing salience and, ultimately, trustworthiness of official statistics.

Keywords: high frequency statistics, data access, official statistics

JEL Classification: C82, F60

Suggested Citation

Biancotti, Claudia and Rosolia, Alfonso and Veronese, Giovanni Furio and Kirchner, Robert and Mouriaux, Francois, COVID-19 and Official Statistics: A Wakeup Call? (February 12, 2021). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 605, Available at SSRN: or

Claudia Biancotti

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Alfonso Rosolia

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
00184 Roma
0039 06 4792 3077 (Phone)

Giovanni Furio Veronese (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
+49 621 189 1886 (Phone)
+49 621 189 1884 (Fax)

Robert Kirchner

Deutsche Bundesbank ( email )

Wilhelm-Epstein-Str. 14
Frankfurt/Main, 60431

Francois Mouriaux

Banque de France ( email )


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