Fact Check

Did Italy Confirm Almost 200 Coronavirus Deaths in 24 Hours?

As of early March 2020, Italy had seen the worst COVID-19 outbreak outside Asia.

Published March 13, 2020

Updated March 13, 2020
VENICE, ITALY - MARCH 11: Ecological operator sanitizes a garbage can in Piazza San Marco against coronavirus on March 11, 2020 in Venice, Italy. The Italian Government has taken the unprecedented measure of a nationwide lock-down, in an effort to fight the world's second-most deadly coronavirus outbreak outside of China.The movements in and out are allowed only for work reasons, health reasons proven by a medical certificate.The justifications for the movements needs to be certified with a self-declaration by filling in forms provided by the police forces in charge of the checks. (Photo by Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images) (Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images
Almost 200 people in Italy died from the coronavirus in a 24-hour period between March 11 and 12, 2020.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic in early March 2020, alarmed readers asked Snopes to verify reports that nearly 200 people died in a 24-hour span in Italy as a result of the disease.

Sadly it is true that between March 10 and March 11, 2020, 196 people died in Italy, which was suffering the worst outbreak of COVID-19 outside Asia. Reuters reported on March 11 that, "The death toll from coronaviruses in Italy has risen from 196 to 827, an increase of 31%, Civil Protection [Agency] announced today."

The death toll rose again the next day as an additional spate of deaths was reported. On March 12, The New York Times reported, "The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23%, the Civil Protection Agency said."

On March 13, 2020, Italy experienced its worst 24 hour period in terms of fatalities, reporting 250 deaths from the virus.

Italy was struggling to keep pace with the disease, running low on hospital beds and equipment to treat the rapidly-spreading virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

The news of these fatalities came amid announcements in the United States that everything from basketball tournaments to Disneyland were shutting down in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

U.S. health officials estimate that COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, is roughly ten times more deadly than the seasonal flu.


Reuters.   "Morti per Coronavirus in Italia Salgono a 827 - Protezione Civile."     11 March 2020.

Reuters.   "Italian Daily Coronavirus Deaths Jump 23% to 1,016."     12 March 2020.

Higgins-Dunn, Noah and Berkeley Lovelace Jr.   "Top US Health Official Says the Coronavirus is 10 Times 'More Lethal’ than the Seasonal Flu."     CNBC.   11 March 2020.

Reuters. "Italian Daily Coronavirus Deaths Jump 25% to 1,266."   13 March 2020.


[UPDATE 03/13/20]: Updated to note that Italy reported a new 24-hour record of 250 coronavirus-related deaths on March 13, 2020.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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