Italy COVID deaths could be much higher than estimated, mortality rate 25 times lower

Controversy erupts from Italy with a new study suggesting total deaths may have been significantly underestimated while the actual death rate from COVID-19 may have been significantly overestimated

by the commentator on 4 April 2020 15:23

Rome

According to a top Italian epidemiologist, official figures on the COVID-19 pandemic could be wildly different from reality, Worldometer has reported.

There is enormous controversy about both the prevalence of the disease and its lethality. Some have argued that when all the data is in, it will turn out not to have been worse than in a very bad flu season, an argument that in turn suggests severe lockdown measures have been beside the point.

With this in mind, the situation in Sweden -- which has not locked down its society or economy -- has also become a significant factor in the debate.

Worldometer reported the following based on Italian laguage sources:

"[In Italy] the real number of COVID-19 cases in the country could be 5,000,0000 (compared to the 119,827 confirmed ones) according to a study which polled people with symptoms who have not been tested, and up to 10,000,000 or even 20,0000,000 after taking into account asymptomatic cases, according to Carlo La Vecchia, a Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at the Statale di Milano University.

"This number would still be insufficient to reach herd immunity, which would require 2/3 of the population (about 40,000,000 people in Italy) having contracted the virus [source].

"The number of deaths could also be underestimated by 3/4 (in Italy as well as in other countries) [source], meaning that the real number of deaths in Italy could be around 60,000.

"If these estimates were true, the mortality rate from COVID-19  would be much lower (around 25 times less) than the case fatality rate based solely on laboratory-confirmed cases and deaths, since it would be underestimating cases (the denominator) by a factor of about 1/100 and deaths by a factor of 1/4."

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