Are epidemiological estimates able to describe the ability of health systems to cope with COVID-19 epidemic?

Silvana Castaldi, Ester Luconi, Bruno Alessandro Rivieccio, Patrizia Boracchi, Giuseppe Marano, Elena Pariani, Luisa Romano, Francesco Auxilia, Federica Nicolussi, Alessandra Micheletti, Giancarlo Manzi, Silvia Salini, Massimo Galli, Elia Biganzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is an infectious disease which was declared a pandemic and hit countries worldwide from the beginning of the year 2020. Despite the emergency vigilance plans, health systems in all countries experienced a different ratio of lethality, amount of admissions to intensive care units and quarantine management of positive patients. The aim of this study is to investigate whether some epidemiological estimates could have been useful in understanding the capacity of the Italian Regional Health Services to manage the COVID-19 epidemic. Methods: We have compared data between two different Italian regions in the Northern part of Italy (Lombardy and Veneto) and the national data to determine whether different health strategies might be significant in explaining dissimilar patterns of the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy. Data have been extracted from a public database and were available only in an aggregated form. Results: The regions in question displayed two different health policies to face the COVID- 19 epidemic: While Veneto’s health service was largely territorially oriented, Lombardy’s strategy was more hospital-centered. Discussion: The key to facing epidemics like this one consists in identifying solutions outside of hospitals. This however requires there be well-trained general practitioners and enough healthcare personnel working outside hospitals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2221-2229
Number of pages9
JournalRisk Management and Healthcare Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemic
  • Epidemiological estimates
  • Health systems
  • Italy
  • Region

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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