How Italy has changed the way it reports the daily coronavirus figures

How Italy has changed the way it reports the daily coronavirus figures
Photo: AFP
What's been going on with the daily numbers of coronavirus cases in Italy? Why are we seeing different sets of numbers being reported? Here's what's changed, and a quick explanation of how we're reporting the figures at The Local.

Like many media outlets, we've been bringing you daily updates on the number of coronavirus cases here in Italy, as well as the number of deaths, the number of people who have recovered, and other data on the crisis as it's released by the Italian authorities.

And we've all been watching these numbers especially closely over the past week for signs that the epidemic in Italy may be peaking.

But there was confusion on Wednesday and Thursday when, after the daily 6pm news conference, given by the Department for Civil Protection, the media started reporting different numbers. So why did that happen?

According to data site Worldometers, it's because the Department for Civil Protection started reporting the numbers in a different way on Wednesday, apparently without warning.

Officials are now reporting the new cases minus the numbers of those who have recovered and died that day – instead of simply giving the total number of new cases confirmed. Which means the number given is quite a lot lower.

Worldometers, which asked ihe Department for Civil Protection to explain their new method of reporting, writes that officials are “incorrectly representing the figure as “newly infected” when, in fact, it represents the “change in active cases””

You can read a full explanation of the changes here – under “Updates” at the bottom of the page.

At The Local we have continued to report the full number of new cases, as we have done all along, to avoid confusion. Other media doing this include Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

We're still getting the figures directly from the Department of Civil protection, but to avoid confusion we are only reporting the total number of new cases given each day, found within the official data – and not the “change in active cases” figure being quoted at the press conference.

Thanks to all the readers who have been following our coverage so far. If you have any questions about our reporting please do get in touch.


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  1. It would be helpful if you gave a breakdown of the number of deaths in the different provinces.. I’m on the edge of lombardy and Piedmont. If the numbers are going down in these regions I would like to know?

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