What does it mean when a Hospital says someone died of COVID-19? Most people would guess it definitively means that COVID was the direct cause of their death. However, since the pandemic began there has been a gray area in the way COVID-19 deaths are reported, which has led to conspiracy theories about severely inflated numbers in some countries. The most recent case is the viral rumor that Italy is the first country to step up to plate, and give their residents an accurate picture of the number of people who have actually died from COVID, but is the rumor true?
Details on Why People Think Italy Reduced Their COVID-19 Death Toll Count by 97% from 130,468 to 3,783
A viral report from the Italian news company ‘Iltempo‘ claims the Italian Higher Institute of Health revised the way COVID-19 deaths are counted, by counting a COVID death as somebody who died “from” COVID, rather than “with” COVID. The ‘Iltempo’ report alleges the Italian Institute of Health discovered that only 2.9% of the 130,468 COVID deaths reported in Italy since February 2020 were actually from COVID. They claim their new stats show that 3,783 Italians have died from COVID, meaning Italy reduced its COVID death count by 126,685 people.
In addition ‘Iltempo’ reported that new Institute of Health data showed that in the group of 3,783 Italians who actually died from COVID, 65.8% had Arterial Hypertension (high blood pressure), 24.8% had Atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat), 17.4% had previous lung damage before contracting COVID, 16.3% had cancer in the last five year, 28.3% had ischemic heart disease, 29.3% had diabetes, and 1 in 10 victims were obese. However, it appears the Iltempo writer may have misinterpreted the data they were reading.
What is the Truth About the Rumor Italy Changed its COVID Death Toll from 130,000 to 4,000?
According to the actual documents from Institute of Health, in a study conducted on 8,000 hospital patients who allegedly died from COVID-19, 97% had underlying conditions, while 2.9% were considered healthy. It appears the Iltempo writer may have mistakenly thought the 2.9% meant 3,783 Italians died from COVID rather than 130,468. The underlying conditions listed out in the Iltempo article are actually referring to underlying conditions the 97% group was suffering from before they caught COVID.
Official stats from Italy still show around 132,000 Italians have died from COVID-19, which indicates Italy did not reduce their COVID reduce their COVID-19 death toll to 3,783. However, what could be inferred from the study is that in Italy the chances of a person with no underlying conditions dying from COVID is probably extremely rare.
Is the COVID Death Toll Reporting System Flawed?
With the false rumor of Italy reducing their COVID-19 death toll by 97% spreading through social media like wildfire, it restarted an important conversation about the alleged inconsistencies in the system that is used to count COVID deaths.
Those inconsistencies were best explained in viral video where Dr. Ngozi Ezike who is acting director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, explained that American Hospitals count a COVID-19 death as any person who had COVID at the time of their death, but didn’t necessarily die from COVID.
In conclusion the rumor isn’t true, Italy didn’t change their COVID death toll from 130,000 to 4,000. It seems the viral Iltempo article may have been an opinion peace that readers seeking truth in all the fog misinterpreted as fact. However, there is definitely some strange rules that go into reporting COVID deaths, which is what fueled the engine that made this false rumor go viral.
Author: JordanThrilla Staff