Home > Journals > Panminerva Medica > Past Issues > Articles online first > Panminerva Medica 2021 Apr 28



Publishing options
To subscribe
Submit an article
Recommend to your librarian


Publication history
Cite this article as



Panminerva Medica 2021 Apr 28

DOI: 10.23736/S0031-0808.21.04397-4


language: English

Excess mortality in Italy in 2020 by sex and age groups accounting for demographic changes and temporal trends in mortality

Gianfranco ALICANDRO 1 , Carlo LA VECCHIA 2, Giuseppe REMUZZI 3, Alberto GERLI 4, Stefano CENTANNI 5

1 Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy; 2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy; 3 Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche, Centro Anna Maria Astori, Science and Technology Park Kilometro Rosso, Bergamo, Italy; 4 Management Engineering Tourbillon Tech srl, Padova, Italy; 5 Respiratory Unit, Department of Health Sciences, ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy


BACKGROUND: Differences between total deaths registered during the Covid-19 pandemic and those registered in a previous reference period is a valid measure of the pandemic effect. However, this does not consider demographic changes and temporal trends in mortality.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the excess mortality in 2020 in Italy considering demographic changes and temporal trends in mortality.
METHODS: We used daily mortality and population data for the 2011-2019 period to estimate the expected deaths in 2020. Expected deaths were estimated, separately by sex, through an over-dispersed Poisson regression model including calendar year and age group as covariates, a smooth function of the year’s week, and the logarithm of the population as offset. The difference between observed and expected deaths was considered a measure of excess mortality.
RESULTS: In 2020, 746,146 deaths occurred in Italy. We estimated an excess mortality of 90,725 deaths (95% CI: 86,503-94,914), which became 99,289 deaths after excluding January and February, when mortality was lower than expected. The excess was higher among men (49,422 deaths) than women (41,303 deaths) and it was mostly detected at ages ≥80 (60,224 deaths) and ages 65-79 (25,791 deaths), while among the population aged 25-49 and 50-64 we estimated an excess of 281 and 4764 deaths, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: After considering demographic changes and temporal improvement in mortality the excess deaths in 2020 still remains above 90,000 deaths. More important, considering these factors, the excess at ages <80 years is revised upwards, while the excess at older ages is revised downwards.

KEY WORDS: SARS-COV-2, COVID-19; Pandemics; Mortality

top of page