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HEALTH

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

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.

How Italy has changed the way it reports the daily coronavirus figures
Photo: AFP

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.

Member comments

  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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COVID-19

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”

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