Covid-19: A Dynamic Analysis of Fatality Risk in Italy

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Italy was the second country in the world to face a wide epidemic of Covid-19 after China. The ratio of the number of fatalities to the number of cases (case fatality ratio, CFR) recorded in Italy was surprisingly high and increased in the month of March. The older mean age of population, the changes in testing policy, and the methodological computation of CFR were previously reported as possible explanations for the incremental trend of CFR, a parameter theoretically expected to be constant. In this brief report, the official data provided by the Italian Ministry of Health were analyzed using fitting models and the linear fit method approach. This last methodology allowed us to reach two findings. The trend of the number of deaths followed a 1–3-day delay of positive cases. This delay was not compatible with a biological course of Covid-19 but was compatible with a health management explanation. The second finding is that the Italian number of deaths did not increase linearly with the number of positive cases, but their relationship could be modeled by a second-order polynomial function. The high number of positive cases might have a direct and an indirect effect on the number of deaths, the latter being related to the overwhelmed bed capacity of intensive care units.

Original languageEnglish
Article number185
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 30 2020


  • case fatality ratio
  • Corona virus
  • epidemiology
  • rehabilitation
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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