Covid-19 Is Speeding Up How Deaths Are Recorded



When governments realized death tolls were too low, they revamped the way they counted them


Weeks after the virus hit Italy last year, doctors, funeral homes and officials realized that government Covid-19 death tolls were too low and many victims weren’t getting included. Informal tallies quickly revealed that thousands of deaths most likely caused by the virus had been omitted. Limited testing left the number of infections unknown, and many people had died outside hospitals, which were the initial source of fatality figures.

Italy’s statistical agency, Istat, scrambled to assemble more reliable information, collecting data from towns and cities faster than ever before. In May, it revealed what people at the front lines had suspected: a 39% jump in nationwide deaths between Feb. 21 and March 31 compared with previous years.

“Normally, they [the data] would have arrived six months later,” said Istat President Gian Carlo Blangiardo in May. “We made an extraordinary effort.”

Author: Daniel Michaels

Publication Date: 23 January 2021

Publication Site: WSJ

The Covid-19 Death Toll Is Even Worse Than It Looks



Description: Estimating global excess mortality, and comparing against official COVID death counts. As of date of publication, official COVID deaths globally were about 2 million (excluding: China and India, and many other large countries), while excess deaths for 2020 were about 2.8 million.

Authors: Paul Overberg, Jon Kamp and Daniel Michaels

Graphs by: Lindsay Huth

Publication Date: 14 January 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal