Italy’s coronavirus death toll rises by 766 as rate of intensive care admissions slows

Italy's coronavirus death toll rises by 766 as rate of intensive care admissions slows
Photo: AFP
The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy since the beginning of the epidemic continued to rise steeply on Friday with another 766 fatalities recorded. Over 4,000 patients remained in intensive care.

The overall death toll now stands at 14, 681 meaning Italy is still the country worst hit by global coronavirus pandemic.

There are growing suggestions however that the real toll from the virus in Italy is far higher.

“For sure, the figures are wrong,” said Matteo Villa, a researcher at the Italian Institute for Political Studies and author of a new study (in Italian) titled ”Coronavirus: Lethality in Italy, between appearance and reality”

He said that the death toll may have been underestimated by up to 6,000, or a third of the official total.

READ ALSO: What's the problem with Italy's official coronavirus numbers?

The number of new confirmed infections continued to slow slightly on Friday with 4,585 new cases in the last 24 hours, compared to 4,668 on Thursday.

The number of people to have officially recovered from the virus in Italy continues to grow with another 1,480 in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 19, 758. Although the real number is likely to be far higher given most mild cases of the disease were never tested.

The number of patients in intensive care across Italy's hospitals was 4,068, although that figure is a rise of only 15 on Thursday's number, which 18 more than on Wednesday. In the early stages of the epidemic the number of people being admitted to intensive care rose by hundreds each day.

All Italian regions have recorded numerous coronavirus deaths but nowhere has been harder hit than Lombardy in the north which now counts over 8,000 victims of the virus. Emilia-Romagna and Piemonte have both recorded over 1,000 deaths.

The Italian government on Wednesday extended the country’s current lockdown measures until April 13th.

In a speech on Wednesday night, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte told the public any loosening of the measures could spark a new rise in the number of cases.

“If we started to loosen the measures, all of our efforts would have been in vain and we would pay a very high price,” he said.

He also warned he could not commit to when the lockdown would end.

“The moment the data is consolidated and the experts give their response, we'll be able to identify an end date. But I can't give it today.”


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