Data from the rapid mortality surveillance system in 19 major Italian cities were used to carry out a timely assessment of the health impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. By 18 April, a + 45% excess in mortality was observed, with a higher impact in the north of the country (+ 76%). The excess was greatest among men, with an increasing trend by age. Surveillance data can be used to evaluate the lockdown and re-opening phases.
Keywords: COVID-19; demographic factors; mortality; surveillance system; vulnerable populations.