Student Volunteers Partake in Assessment of COVID-19 Death Toll

Alberto Gandolfi, Professor of Practice in Mathematics, is working on a worldwide statistical analysis of COVID-19 mortality rates to more accurately depict the amount of deaths occurring from the disease.

Working with student volunteers from around the world, Gandolfi is looking at collecting the mortality rates by month from various parts of the world and comparing them to the same time last year and adjusting them for the appropriately estimated statistical error.

That, he says, will provide insight into the death toll from coronavirus in heavily affected areas as a spike in death tolls could be reasonably associated with coronavirus.

“If you look at deaths in March in a given area in Europe from last year, and compare them to this year and see a big jump you can attribute those deaths to coronavirus with a fair degree of certainty,” he said.

He said that the work is not aimed at discrediting state administrations but rather to help assist health systems that are already stressed by the situation.

“I am not trying to put the blame of a possible discrepancy in the data on anybody; in an emergency situation, all sorts of causes can determine anomalies in the data, in spite of the best efforts that the involved people can make. One possible outcome of the research could be that in most countries the number of deaths has been underestimated, so no blame can be attached to any administration,” he said.

Collaborators on the research project are reaching out to regional governments and will continue to compile the data for publishing at a later time.

Gandolfi is looking to expand the data collection sets globally and is asking for volunteers to help him contact regional governments around the world to request mortality rates. Those interested can contact him here: