The report was based on death notices from only 87% of Italian cities, but marks the most comprehensive data available to date.
- Associated Press
- Last Updated: May 4, 2020, 8:00 PM IST
Italy’s national statistics agency has released the first comprehensive data on the effect of the new coronavirus on Italy’s mortality rates. The data found 38.7% more people died through March 31 than the average over the past five years.
ISTAT calculated an increase of 25,354 excess deaths from the start of the outbreak Feb. 20 through March 31, compared to the average from 2015 to 2019.
But only 54% of those excess deaths were actually positive for the virus, meaning Italy’s official death toll of nearly 29,000 is likely off by at least 10,000. The report from ISTAT was released on the same day Italy began easing Europe’s first and longest lockdown restrictions.
The report provides data to back up the anecdotal evidence of the staggering toll COVID-19 has taken on some provinces in hardest-hit Lombardy region: Bergamo saw its mortality rate increase 568% compared to the five year average while Cremona’s increase was 391%.
The report was produced in conjunction with Italy’s Superior Institute of Health.
It said while only 54% of the excess dead were actually positive for the virus, the others were likely either positive but never tested or died as an indirect result of the pandemic because of the ‘crisis of the hospital system and fear of going to the hospital.’
ISTAT’s figures are not complete. The report was based on death notices from only 87% of Italian cities, but marks the most comprehensive data available to date.