Epidemiol Prev. 2022 Jul-Aug;46(4):25-32. doi: 10.19191/EP22.4S1.053.
OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the impact on total mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, by country of birth.
DESIGN: historic cohort study based on administrative databases.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: the study is based on subjects included in the Base Register of Individuals of the Italian National Institute of Statistics on 01.01.2019, aged 35-64 years, and followed-up until 31.07.2021.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: age-standardized mortality rates were computed to analyse trends in overall mortality by country of birth grouped in three categories: 1. Italy and other high developed countries; 2. European countries with strong migratory pressure (EU-SMP); 3, non-European countries with strong migratory pressure (non-EU-SMP). Variations in mortality rates during the pandemic (March 2020-July 2021) with respect to the pre-pandemic period (January 2019-February 2020) were measured and compared across groups using mortality rate ratios (MRR) estimated by Poisson regression models, separately for men and women.
RESULTS: the cohort includes 26,199,241 individuals, of whom 172,847 died during the follow-up. Over the whole period, mortality was consistently lower in individuals born in non-EU-SMP countries as compared to those born in Italy and other high developed countries. During the first pandemic wave (March-April 2020), individuals born in non-EU-SMP countries had higher excesses as compared to those born in Italy or other high developed countries (MRRs: 1.42 vs 1.28 in men and 1.30 vs 1.11 in women). Similar results were observed during the pandemic period October 2020-April 2021, when the MRRs were 1.37 vs 1.20 in men and 1.30 vs 1.11 in women. In the same period, the excess mortality among individuals born in EU-SMP did not significantly differ from that observed among those born in Italy and other high developed countries.
CONCLUSIONS: in Italy, excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic was higher among immigrants born in non-EU-SMP countries as compared to the native population and immigrants born in high developed countries.