I got stuck in Italy during Covid-19. I entered from the usa Feb 20th and left July 26.My question is what date can I return and for how long. I'm on an American passport. Obviously the 90 days is up Oct 26th but what confuses me is the 180 day rule. Thats why I asked "what date can I return". Must I wait 180 days out of Italy ? Im not really considering the pandemic rules in my travel because I can't go until Nov 1 anyway…
Your situation is actually straightforward. You need to stay out of the Schengen area for 90 full days, after which you may stay for another 90 days, at least as far as this rule is concerned. So on October 25 (not 26), you could be admitted for a 90-day stay (if you are admitted at all, obviously). The rule is stated in a somewhat confusing way to counter an earlier interpretation from the EU court of justice and deal with some corner cases but that doesn't make a difference in simple cases like yours.
Note that the 90/180 day limit is not the only restriction on visits to the Schengen area. Among other things, border guards are also supposed to evaluate the purpose of your trip and your ability and willingness to leave the Schengen area in case. An earlier overstay could in theory raise questions about that, although the Covid-19 situation should work in your favor in this case.
In other words, the overstay doesn't change anything to the application of the 90/180 maximum stay rule but could be an issue in itself.