No, Italy hasn’t recounted its coronavirus data and found that most died from other diseases

22 May 2020
What was claimed

96.3% of the Italy’s Covid-19 deaths were actually caused by other diseases.

Our verdict

This is incorrect. Official data shows that 96.3% of Covid-19 patients had other health conditions when they died.

A widely shared Facebook post claims that: “ITALY DID A RECOUNT OF THEIR PLANDEMIC DEATHS: 96.3% of the 25,000 deaths WERE NOT FROM THE VIRUS!!”

The post links to a speech made by Italian politician, Vittorio Sgarbi on 24 April. Mr Sgarbi argues that 25,000 people have not died from Covid-19 in Italy. Instead, he says, “the data from the Higher Institute of Health say that 96.3% died of other diseases.” The video has itself been viewed many times elsewhere.

Mr Sgarbi and the Facebook post are both incorrect. They refer to figures in a report from the Higher Institute of Health which was published on 20 April, four days before his speech.

But this report does not describe the proportion of Covid-19 deaths which were caused by the new coronavirus. Nor is it a recount of Italy’s Covid-19 death toll, as the Facebook post claims. 

It is a regular summary of the latest data about the 21,551 people (at the time) who had died after testing positive for the new coronavirus. 

The report lists some of the pre-existing conditions, or “comorbidities”, from which deceased Covid-19 patients also suffered. It says that “3.7% of the sample presented with no comorbidities”. 

This means that 96.3% of the people who had died in Italy after testing positive for the new coronavirus had also suffered from at least one condition. It does not mean that the virus did not cause their death. 

The day before Mr Sgarbi’s speech, the President of the Italian National Institute of Statistics, Gian Carlo Blangiardo, wrote that, “the number of deaths in Italy has dramatically increased, with unprecedented peaks in some territorial areas of the country”. Mr Blangiardo cites research estimating that the number of deaths in March 2020 was 49% higher than in March 2019.

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