The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Italian Daily Death Rate Up 20% Because of Coronavirus, Lombardy Up About 80%

One way of getting a perspective on the magnitude of the problem, at least today, and in what seems to be the hardest-hit country.


Italy's population is about 60 million, and its normal death rate is 10.6 per 1000, which is to say about 640,000 deaths per year, or about 1750 per day; the 350 or so extra deaths per day over the last couple of days (if this data is correct) are about 20%.

But apparently about 2/3 of the deaths have been in Lombardy (in Northern Italy; Milan is the capital), which has about 1/6 of Italy's population. If the daily deaths are likewise 2/3 in Lombardy (not certain, because it's possible that the geographical incidence of the deaths has changed over time), then we're talking about 240 or so extra deaths per day on top of the usual 300 or so in Lombardy, or about 80%.

These are unusually high numbers, of course, since Italy appears to have the highest death rate of any country right now; and of course they are just the numbers for the last couple of days. (Daily deaths in China have apparently fallen sharply, after climbing sharply and then staying high for a couple of weeks.) They are also back-of-the-envelope estimates based on imperfect data, but I hope they give a more useful perspective on the magnitude of the epidemic than do the raw numbers.