Munich Personal RePEc Archive

When did coronavirus arrive in Europe?

Cerqua, Augusto and Di Stefano, Roberta (2020): When did coronavirus arrive in Europe?

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Abstract

The first cluster of coronavirus cases in Europe was officially detected on 21st February 2020 in Northern Italy, even if recent evidence showed sporadic first cases in Europe at the beginning of the year. In this study we have tested the presence of coronavirus in Italy and, even more importantly, we have assessed whether the virus had already spread sooner than 21st February. We use a counterfactual approach and certified daily data on the number of deaths (deaths from any cause, not only related to coronavirus) at the municipality level. Our estimates confirm that coronavirus began spreading in Northern Italy at least a week before the beginning of February.

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