Italy may have 10 times more cases of coronavirus than have been officially certified, the head of the country’s civil protection agency said Tuesday.
"For every officially certificated positive, there are ten non-certified,” Angelo Borrelli of the agency said in an interview with the daily La Repubblica."
His office told CNN the quote was accurate.
That would mean Italy would have had more than 600,000 positive cases of coronavirus, according to Borrelli’s estimate, having recorded a total of 63,967 cases as of Monday.
It could also potentially help explain what seems to be a much higher death rate in Italy than in other countries. According to World Health Organization statistics, as of March 22, Italy had a death rate of more than 9 percent of all confirmed cases.
If the country actually has had ten times as many cases as recorded, the death rate would be 0.9%. This would be more in line with the 0.6 percent death rate in South Korea, for example.
Civil protection agency data Tuesday showed a slight decrease in the number of cases for a second consecutive day, but only in the “next few hours we will see if the growth curve is really starting to flatten,” Borrelli said.
“We should buy more ventilators and masks should be sold at every street corner,” said Borrelli, admitting difficulties in finding these medical supplies.