Italy has surpassed China in the number of reported deaths from the coronavirus.
A study by Italy’s national health authority found that more than 99 percent of the country’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions.
The Rome-based health authority said it examined medical records of about 18 percent of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8 percent of the total, had no previous pathology.
Almost half of those infected suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions.
More than 75 percent had high blood pressure, about 35 percent had diabetes, and a third suffered from heart disease.
The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government is evaluating whether to extend a nationwide lockdown beyond the beginning of April, daily La Stampa reported Wednesday.
Italy has more than 41,000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus and more than 3,400 deaths. China has reported 3,245 coronavirus deaths, but several reports say the communist government has for months been under-reporting the number of deaths.
The national health authority’s study sheds light on why, at about 8 percent of total infected people, Italy’s death rate from the virus is higher than in other countries.