Journal article Open Access

A Statistical Analysis of Death Rates in Italy for the Years 2015–2020 and a Comparison with the Casualties Reported from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dario Menasce

Contact person(s)
Dario Menasce
Researcher(s)
Daniele Pedrini; Luca Lista; Mauro Mezzetto; Alberto Oliva; Roberto Spighi; Antonio Zoccoli; Gianluca Bonifazi

We analyze the data about casualties in Italy in the period 01/01/2015 to 30/09/2020 released by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT). Aim of this article is the description of a statistically robust methodology to extract quantitative values for the seasonal excesses of deaths featured by the data, accompanying them with correct estimates of the relative uncertainties. We will describe the advantages of the method adopted with respect to others listed in literature. The data exhibit a clear sinusoidal behavior, whose fit allows for a robust subtraction of the baseline trend of casualties in Italy, with a surplus of mortality in correspondence to the flu epidemics in winter and to the hottest periods in summer. The overall quality of the fit to the data turns out to be very good, an indication of the validity of the chosen model. We discuss the trend of casualties in Italy by different classes of ages and for the different genders. We finally compare the data-subtracted casualties, as reported by ISTAT, with those reported by the Italian Department for Civil Protection (DPC) relative to the deaths directly attributed to COVID-19, and we point out the differences in the two samples, collected under different assumptions.

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