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Open AccessArticle

The COVID-19 Infection in Italy: A Statistical Study of an Abnormally Severe Disease

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INGV, Osservatorio Vesuviano, 80124 Naples, Italy
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CNR-INO, 80078 Pozzuoli, Italy
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Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale, Università della Campania ‘L.Vanvitelli’, 80138 Naples, Italy
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Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare—Sezione di Napoli, 80126 Naples, Italy
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Department of Physics, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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CoronaVerus, 80136 Naples, Italy
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Department of Mobility, Public Works, Ecology, Env, Puglia Region Government, 70100 Bari, Italy
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Department of Physics ”Ettore Pancini”, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, 80126 Naples, Italy
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CNR-IRISS, 80134 Naples, Italy
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Department of Neurosciences, Reproductive and Odontostomatology, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1564; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051564
Received: 4 April 2020 / Revised: 5 May 2020 / Accepted: 19 May 2020 / Published: 21 May 2020
We statistically investigate the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, which became particularly invasive in Italy in March 2020. We show that the high apparent lethality or case fatality ratio (CFR) observed in Italy, as compared with other countries, is likely biased by a strong underestimation of the number of infection cases. To give a more realistic estimate of the lethality of COVID-19, we use the actual (March 2020) estimates of the infection fatality ratio (IFR) of the pandemic based on the minimum observed CFR and analyze data obtained from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, a good representation of a “laboratory” case-study from an isolated system in which all the people have been tested. From such analyses, we derive more realistic estimates of the real extent of the infection as well as more accurate indicators of how fast the infection propagates. We then isolate the dominant factors causing the abnormal severity of the disease in Italy. Finally, we use the death count—the only data estimated to be reliable enough—to predict the total number of people infected and the interval of time when the infection in Italy could end. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; epidemic in Italy; statistical forecast COVID-19; epidemic in Italy; statistical forecast
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De Natale, G.; Ricciardi, V.; De Luca, G.; De Natale, D.; Di Meglio, G.; Ferragamo, A.; Marchitelli, V.; Piccolo, A.; Scala, A.; Somma, R.; Spina, E.; Troise, C. The COVID-19 Infection in Italy: A Statistical Study of an Abnormally Severe Disease. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 1564.

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