News from the front: Estimation of excess mortality and life expectancy in the major epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy

The analysis provides estimates of excess deaths observed during the peak of COVID-19 outbreak in these areas. We further, assess the effect of COVID-19 on human life by estimating period life expectancy at birth for the first quarter of the year (seasonal life expectancy) as well as for the entire year 2020 (annual life expectancy). The results show a substantial number of excess deaths in the older age groups, providing empirical evidence that COVID-19 is especially lethal for older populations. In the five most affected provinces alone, we observe 7,189 excess deaths for men and 5,747 excess deaths for women in the period January 1 to April 15, 2020. Correspondingly, seasonal life expectancy in these provinces reduced by 5.1 to 7.8 and 3.2 to 5.8 years for men and women, respectively. In a scenario with no harvesting effect i.e. mortality rates resume to an average level of the years 2015-2019 after the end of the first epidemic wave, the years of life lost is equivalent to 2 to 3.5 years for men and 1.1. to 2.5 years for women in the five provinces.