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True COVID-19 mortality rates from administrative data

Authors
  • Depalo, Domenico1
  • 1 Banca d’Italia, Economics and Statistics Department,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Population Economics
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Sep 29, 2020
Pages
1–22
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00148-020-00801-6
PMID: 33013001
PMCID: PMC7524382
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Original Paper
License
Unknown

Abstract

In this paper, I use administrative data to estimate the number of deaths, the number of infections, and mortality rates from COVID-19 in Lombardia, the hot spot of the disease in Italy and Europe. The information will assist policy makers in reaching correct decisions and the public in adopting appropriate behaviors. As the available data suffer from sample selection bias, I use partial identification to derive the above quantities. Partial identification combines assumptions with the data to deliver a set of admissible values or bounds. Stronger assumptions yield stronger conclusions but decrease the credibility of the inference. Therefore, I start with assumptions that are always satisfied, then I impose increasingly more restrictive assumptions. Using my preferred bounds, during March 2020 in Lombardia, there were between 10,000 and 18,500 more deaths than in previous years. The narrowest bounds of mortality rates from COVID-19 are between 0.1 and 7.5%, much smaller than the 17.5% discussed in earlier reports. This finding suggests that the case of Lombardia may not be as special as some argue.

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