Relationship between COVID-19 Mortality, Hospital Beds, and Primary Care by Italian Regions: A Lesson for the Future

J Clin Med. 2022 Jul 19;11(14):4196. doi: 10.3390/jcm11144196.


One of the characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 infection in Italy is the significant regional difference in terms of lethality and mortality. These geographical variances were clear in the first wave and confirmed in the second one as well. The study aimed to analyze the correlation between regional differences in COVID-19 mortality and different regional care models, by retrospectively analyzing the association between the Italian COVID-19 deaths and the number of hospital beds, long-term care facilities, general practitioners (GPs), and the health expenditure per capita. The period considered was from 1 March 2020 to 1 March 2021. The number of hospital beds (p < 0.0001) and the number of GPs (p = 0.0094) significantly predicted the COVID-19 death rate. The Italian regions with a higher number of hospital beds and a lower number of GPs showed a higher number of deaths. Multivariate analyses confirmed the results. The Italian regions with a higher amount of centralized healthcare, as represented by the number of hospital beds, experienced a higher number of deaths, while the regions with greater community support, as exemplified by the number of the GPs, faced higher survival. These results suggest the need for a change in the current healthcare system organization.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 infection; community healthcare; healthcare system; hospital healthcare; mortality.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.