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Seljak, Modi, Boehm (RPM)
April 23, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Uros Seljak, Chirag Modi, Vanessa Boehm (LBL/Berkeley)
How deadly is COVID-19? A time series analysis of Italy mortality data
A counterfactual analysis of 2020 mortality data reported from towns in Italy, with data from the previous five years as control, reveals a large excess of deaths in March 2020. The analysis shows a good agreement with reported COVID-19 mortality for age<70 years, but an excess in total mortality increasing with age above 70 years, suggesting there is a large population of predominantly old people missing from the official fatality statistics. We estimate that the number of COVID-19 deaths in Italy is 52,000 $\pm$ 2000 as of April 18 2020, more than a factor of 2 higher than the official number. We determine infection fatality rate (IFR) lower bound of 0.84% for Lombardia and infection rate of 23% for Lombardia, a factor of 35 above the number of positive tests. The infection rate for Bergamo province is 63%, suggesting herd immunity has been reached there. The analysis can help predict corresponding numbers in USA: we predict 0.5% lower bound on IFR for NYC and Santa Clara county. We observe that the COVID-19 mortality tracks closely the overall mortality of the underlying population, explaining why we see so many more deaths below age of 65 as a fraction of total in NYC relative to Italy.