As Italy joins other countries in easing lockdown restrictions on Monday, the country’s bureau of statistics has said the nation’s reported coronavirus death cases are fewer than the actual stated fatalities.
The Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the main producer of official statistics in Italy, in an analysis quoted by Reuters, gave a breakdown pointing to “thousands of fatalities that have never been officially attributed to COVID-19” since the outbreak of the disease in the country.
Italy currently holds the unenviable third spot of countries with highest coronavirus cases, with the U.S. and Spain as the first two.
As of 4 p.m. on Monday, the country had recorded over 210,000 cases and 28,884 casualties from the deadly virus.
ISTAT, from its first report on the impacts covering 86 per cent of the population, said from February 21 when Italy reported its first death till March 31, the nationwide deaths were up by 39 per cent compared with the average of the last five years.
Based on the available statistics, the country’s bureau of statistics said those deaths not attributed to the pandemic “were people who either died without getting tested or resulted from the excessive stress of the health system especially in more affected areas.”
“The combined analysis of ISTAT daily mortality data with the ISS Covid-19 Integrated Surveillance System data showed that the “direct” mortality attributed to COVID-19 in individuals with confirmed diagnosis, was in the first quarter of 2020 of about 13,700 deaths.
“There is an additional amount of about 11,600 deaths for which three possible effects can be hypothesised on the basis of mortality data currently available. There is an additional direct effect of Covid-19 (consisting of deaths of non-tested people), an indirect effect of the virus (such as organ dysfunction as a consequence of viral infection resulting in cardiovascular or other cause-specific mortality, as observed also in influenza outbreaks).
“Lastly the quota of mortality not directly related to the virus but resulting from the excessive stress of the health system especially in more affected areas,” read an excerpt from ISTAT official website.
Most of the states in the northern region (Lombardy) of the country have recorded unusual death cases since the outbreak in Italy.
States like Piedmont and Veneto have witnessed 47 per cent and 24 per cent increases respectively in death cases while the general death cases in the region were up by 186 per cent in March from 2015-2019.
Bergamo has been tagged as the worst-hit state in the country as its deaths increased by 568 per cent while Milan also recorded 93 per cent increase in March compared with the 2015-2019 average.
Other states in the southern region like Lazio, Sicily, Campania also saw a decline in death rates.
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