Italy’s center and south have not been touched by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may seem strange, given all the fanfare in the media about the pandemic, but, if we look at the graphs, we can see that the number of deaths has gone up only in the north of Italy, not in the center and south.
We present here data and graphs whose sources are Italy’s Government agency ISTAT, or Italian National Institute of Statistics, which is Italy’s main producer of official statistics, and the local government of Tuscany Region.
To better understand the data, we need to remember that mortality (number of deaths) always increases in the winter months and decreases in the summer months, with some exceptions in July and August, when temperatures reach very high values.
The population of Northern Italy, it should also be noted, is greater than the population in Central or Southern Italy, which partly explains the north’s higher absolute numbers of deaths, regardless of the year.
Northern Italy Was the Only Part of Italy with Higher Mortality in 2020-2021
The first graph shows curves describing the number of deaths from all causes per month from the beginning of March 2020 to the end of February 2021.
Here we see an anomalous trend in the whole country of Italy (top curve, black, representing numbers derived from the sum of the other 3 curves), which follows the contours of the blue curve representing the north of Italy, the only part of the country which experienced a higher mortality than normal.
The rest of Italy, the center (in green) and the south including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia (red) experienced a mortality absolutely in line with expectations. The mortality trend throughout Italy is affected by the trend in the north but mitigated by the other regions.
The green and red lines clearly show that the pandemic in Italy’s south and center has not occurred, or at least, if it has occurred, it has had no victims, very rare for a pandemic.
The second graph is even more interesting. It shows the trend in number of deaths from all causes in the first two months of each year from 2011 to 2021 (February 2021 is estimated by ISTAT).
In the north (orange), mortality in 2021 is in line with that of 2015 and 2017, but higher than that of the other years, including 2020.
But, in the center and south (blue and green respectively) mortality in 2021 is visibly lower than in 2015 and 2017 and is in line with that of the other years, including 2020.
The trend of total deaths in Italy (red), in the months of January and February of 2021, is however lower than that recorded in January and February of the years 2015 and 2017 and slightly higher than that recorded in 2012, with the difference that today Italy is in lockdown while in those years it was not and on TV there was no constant talk 24/7 of the terrible pandemic that was devastating the planet.
In Italy, in addition, it should be remembered that the mortality rate tends to rise every year due to the progressive aging of the Italian population, with the average age of Italians in constant increase.
Central-South Italy Had Fewer Deaths in January 2021 than in 2015-2019 Average
And now we’re coming to the third graph, even more intriguing than the previous two.
It compares the number of deaths in January 2021 with the average of the same month in the period 2015-2019, represented by the black straight horizontal line in the middle. Although, as explained, Italy’s mortality rate tends to increase every year because of the progressive aging of the Italian population, only in the north (orange) more people died in Jan 2021 than 2015-2019.
In Italy’s center and south, not only there has been no increases in mortality, not even for the over-80s and for men, but in fact mortality has got lower than the average of 2015-2019.
It would appear that, unlike Julius Caesar, who crossed the river Rubicon that symbolically separates the north from the rest of Italy, the pandemic has not done that. But then again, this is a very unusual pandemic indeed, behaving in ways unheard of in previous pandemics.
A “pandemic” which affects only part of a not particularly large country? Which doesn’t kill anyone in great areas of a supposedly affected country? I’ll leave you to decide for yourself whether this makes any sense at all.
ISTAT, Italy’s National Institute of Statistics
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash