It is well known that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Italy hard and early. But some argue the country’s battle with the virus is fraudulent because it has significantly reduced the death toll from COVID-19, putting it on par with the seasonal flu.
“Italy has drastically reduced the official number of deaths from Covid-19 by more than 97%,” according to a Facebook post. “This means that Covid has killed fewer people than… an average seasonal flu. 2020. The year of the fraud.”
The post, which also includes a headline from a website called “Technology News & Trends,” was shared by America’s Frontline Doctors, a group famous for making unproven, false and misleading claims about COVID-19.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to fight potential fake news and misinformation on its news feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
This is a misinterpretation of data. Italy’s National Institute of Health has not cut its death toll from COVID-19 by 97% – it has released a detailed analysis of the characteristics of COVID-19 patients who have died in the country.
The October 5 report listed 130,468 COVID-19 deaths in the country so far.
In one section, the report analyzed the cases of 7,910 people who died of COVID-19 in hospitals and looked for the most common comorbidities, meaning they had two or more health conditions at the same time.
That analysis found that 2.9% of the deceased COVID-19 patients had no comorbidities, 11.4% one, 18% two and 67.7% three or more. The conditions include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune diseases.
This is where the distortion comes in. Of all deaths, 97.1% had one or more conditions listed alongside COVID-19, while the other 2.9% had none.
Some have used this information to falsely claim that the Italian health department “reduced” its COVID-19 death toll by 97% because those people had been previously diagnosed with other illnesses.
But pre-existing conditions are a risk factor for people contracting COVID-19, and chronic illnesses in the elderly are common. The presence of another condition in itself is not proof that a person has not died from COVID-19.
The Italian National Institute of Health addressed these rumors in an Oct. 25 press release.
The agency reiterated that the 2.9% figure, also reported in previous editions, refers to the percentage of patients who died after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and who no other conditions were identified prior to the infection. .
“The joint ISTAT-ISS reports prepared from death certificates show that COVID-19 is the directly responsible cause of death in 89% of the deaths of people who test positive for the SARS-CoV-2,” it said. office in the edition. “Given that chronic diseases are a risk factor for death from COVID-19 and are very common in the general population, it is not surprising that these conditions are common in the SARS-CoV-2 positive deceased population.”
An interactive map maintained by the Italian Ministry of Civil Defense shows that the Italian death toll from COVID-19 is currently around 132,500.
A Facebook post claimed Italy has cut its death toll from COVID-19 by “more than 97%”.
This is incorrect and misinterprets a report from the Italian health department highlighting the most common diseases people already had when they died after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Pre-existing conditions are a known risk factor for COVID-19, and the agency said the analysis shows that COVID-19 is the direct cause of death in 89% of people who test positive for the virus.
We rate the claim as false.