Using Newspapers Obituaries to Forecast Daily Mortality: Evidence from the Italian COVID-19 Hot-Spots

9 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020 Last revised: 2 Jul 2020

See all articles by Paolo Buonanno

Paolo Buonanno

University of Bergamo

Marcello Puca

University of Bergamo; Webster University - Webster University Geneva

Date Written: May 30, 2020

Abstract

Real-time tracking of epidemics helps governments and health authorities to make timely data-driven decisions. Official mortality data, whenever available, may be imperfect and published with a substantial delay. We report the results of using newspapers obituaries to forecast the mortality levels observed in Italy during the COVID-19 outbreak between February 24, 2020 and April 15, 2020. Mortality levels predicted using obituaries outperforms forecasts based on past mortality according to several performance metrics, making obituaries a potentially powerful alternative source of information to deal with epidemics surveillance

Note: Funding: None to declare

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: COVID-19; Forecasting; Excess mortality; Big data

Suggested Citation

Buonanno, Paolo and Puca, Marcello, Using Newspapers Obituaries to Forecast Daily Mortality: Evidence from the Italian COVID-19 Hot-Spots (May 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3614057 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3614057

Marcello Puca (Contact Author)

University of Bergamo ( email )

Via dei Caniana 2
Bergamo, 24127
Italy

Webster University - Webster University Geneva ( email )

Route de Collex 15
Bellevue, CH- 1293
Switzerland

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