Comparing Italy to previous years

Has anyone compared the current impact of coronavirus on Italy to the average impact of seasonal flu or swine flu (2010) on that country? It seems to me that would eliminate reporting differences between countries.

Not Italy, but Switzerland is tracking the number of deaths each week, and has been tracking this data for many years. Just in the last week the number of deaths is more than expected, and probably this number will continue to rise.

Mortality, causes of death

In the graph it is interesting to note that the weekly totals at the beginning of the year were at the low end, as the winter has been mild and the flu season was also mild. There is a theory that some of the older people who are dying now “should have” died during the flu season. If this were the case, then the absolute numbers would be the same. It’s too early to see this.

The numbers are updated each Tuesday.

For reference, Switzerland went on lockdown* on March 13th, so we’re three weeks in. The lockdown is supposed to last until April 19th. According to Friday’s press conference, they are considering to extend the lockdown until mid-May.

Lockdown for Switzerland is take-away only, all hair salons, non-food shops, schools, etc. are closed. Social distancing of 2 m and maximum group size of 5. To prepare for this weekend, they removed all the park benches along the lake in Luzern and closed the acces. Too many people.

Typical influenza impacts in Italy (note spread over a whole season of 4ish months):

NOT apples to apples (the above is excess mortality) but so far there are 15,362 deaths, 255 deaths/million (25.5/100,000) attributed to COVID-19 in Italy, most among the elderly … concentrated a much narrower window of time, and initially overlapping with influenza demands on their healthcare system. If it was apples to apples it would illustrate the importance of flattening the curve to spread it out over months not weeks, and trying to time its peak to NOT coincide with influenza demands.