The actual number of deaths from corona virus in Italy in February and March could double the official figure, raising concerns that the real death toll could exceed the 29,000 mark ever announced.
Data released by Italian authorities on the day the country loosened the curfew that had been implemented for the past nine weeks, AFP reported on May 5. Accordingly, the number of deaths in Italy from February 20 to March 31 may be nearly double that of the previous figure.
The Italian government is struggling to determine how many people actually died during the pandemic. The Italian Civil Defense Agency estimated that Italy had 12,428 deaths from the disease by the end of March. But the ISTAT State Statistics Office and the ISS Institute of Public Health said the figures needed to include an additional 11,700. Other deaths also occur around this time.
The above figure is calculated by comparing the total number of deaths in Italy from February 20 to March 31 with the statistical average of this period for the preceding five years.
“In March, the national average showed an overall increase of 49.4%,” ISTAT and ISS said in the joint statement. They said that nearly 11,700 deaths were not counted as “excess deaths”.
According to the statement, the death rate for men in their 70s increased 2.3 times across the country, and for men in the 80s the group was 2.2 times around this time. “These are very important cases of excess deaths,” the two agencies said.
As of May 5, Italy had 211,938 virus infections, with 29,079 deaths. This is the country with the second highest case of deaths due to the United States.
However, Italian figures only come from hospital deaths. Very few elderly people in nursing homes have been tested for Covid-19, while cases of virus death in the community have not been clarified.
ISTAT and ISS said there are three possible explanations for 11,700 deaths beyond this level.
The first reason is that they have actually been infected with a virus even though they have never been tested.
Another reason may be the “indirect effect” of the virus on existing conditions that worsen the situation, such as impaired liver or kidney function.
The third cause may be due to the negative impact due to the high pressure on the health system, especially in the severely affected periods during a pandemic.
In April, Italy reported an additional 15,539 deaths from corona virus. ISTAT and ISS do not have enough reliable data for this month.