Death toll in Italian province may be twice as high as official count: researchers

Death toll in Italian province may be twice as high as official count: researchers

The death toll from coronavirus in one Italian province may be twice as high as the official count, a study published Thursday says.

In the study from L’Eco di Bergamo and InTwig, first reported by The Associated Press, researchers indicated that the official death count in Bergamo is likely low, as authorities have not counted those who were found dead in nursing homes and other residences after falling ill and dying without being tested for the disease.

The grim suggestion points to the potential death toll for the province of 1.1 million people sitting at 4,500, according to the researchers, compared to Bergamo's official count of 2,060.

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Bergamo is one of the hardest-hit parts of Italy, which itself has registered the most confirmed coronavirus cases anywhere in Europe. The country's total number of cases sat at 110,574 on Thursday, behind only the U.S. Italy has officially registered 13,000 deaths from the disease.

Questions about Italy's official death count come the same day as the World Health Organization (WHO) officially cast doubt on the numbers presented by Chinese health authorities, claiming that the most recent numbers from China are not credible, according to the AP.

The WHO's statement comes as U.S. officials have confidentially assessed that Chinese authorities deliberately under-counted the numbers of total cases and deaths within China's borders. The official count in China sits at around 80,000 cases of the disease and 3,300 deaths.

The coronavirus outbreak is thought to have begun in China's Hubei province, around the city of Wuhan. Nearly 1 million cases have since been confirmed globally.