Estimating the Severity of COVID-19: Evidence From the Italian Epicenter

14 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2020 Last revised: 31 May 2021

See all articles by Paolo Buonanno

Paolo Buonanno

University of Bergamo

Sergio Galletta

ETH Zürich

Marcello Puca

University of Bergamo; CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF); Webster University - Webster University Geneva

Date Written: April 2, 2020

Abstract

We provide new results on the misreported level of mortality in the Italian region of Lombardy and in the province of Bergamo using official and original data sources. Since February 2020 Lombardy and in particular the province of Bergamo have been severely hit by the novel COVID-19 infectious disease. Combining official statistics, retrospective data and original data (i.e., obituaries and death notices) we provide a tentative estimate of the "real'' number of deaths caused by COVID-19 as well as the total number of persons infected. Our findings suggest that the reported mortality rate attributable to COVID-19 accounts only for one half of the observed excess mortality rate between March 2020 and March 2019.

Keywords: Coronavirus; COVID-19; Mortality Rate Estimation; Pandemic; Italy; Lombardia

JEL Classification: I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Buonanno, Paolo and Galletta, Sergio and Puca, Marcello, Estimating the Severity of COVID-19: Evidence From the Italian Epicenter (April 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3567093 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3567093

Sergio Galletta

ETH Zürich ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Marcello Puca

University of Bergamo ( email )

Via dei Caniana 2
Bergamo, 24127
Italy

CSEF - University of Naples Federico II - Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF) ( email )

Via Cintia
Complesso Monte S. Angelo
Naples, Naples 80126
Italy

Webster University - Webster University Geneva ( email )

Route de Collex 15
Bellevue, CH- 1293
Switzerland

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