An elderly patient is attended in one of the emergency structures that were set up to ease procedures outside the hospital of Brescia, Northern Italy, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)
Italy has definitely been having a challenging time dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus, with an incredibly high mortality rate compared to some other places in the world.
As of this writing on Wednesday, March 24 they had almost a ten percent death rate, with 69,176 confirmed cases and 6820 deaths, according to Worldometers. The positive thing, though, is that over the past two days, the number of new cases each day has been dropping. It looks like they might be beginning to flatten their curve, which is good for them and a hopeful sign for us.
Italy started out with some disadvantages and then, their initial response was not great. They had a concentrated elderly population, they had an already overwhelmed national health care system, they had a business relationship with Wuhan that had people traveling back and forth and they didn’t cut off travel early on, according to an Italian virologist because of fear of being viewed as racist.
But they’ve now been locked down for a bit and that may be why the new cases are now dropping. We’ll have to see if the trend holds.
The officials are now taking it very seriously. They shut down domestic travel and only essential businesses like groceries and pharmacies are allowed to be open, according to The Guardian.
But “too many people are still out and about” despite the new lockdown rules, according to Attilio Fontana, the president of Lombardy, the region worst affected by the virus. “I hope more rigorous norms can be applied,” he told Italian TV.
A compilation video of mayors warning their citizens to “stay inside” has gone viral. It’s a mixture of both seriousness and humor as they vent their exasperation at some folks who are still going out.
The mayors were nailing people from walking their dogs to playing ping pong on the beach:
One of the mayors said: “I saw a fellow citizen amiably jog up and down the street, accompanied by a dog that was visibly worn out. I stopped and told him: ‘Look, this isn’t a film. You are not Will Smith in I Am Legend. So, you have to go home.’”
Another said: “Where the [f**k] are you all going? You and your dogs … which must have an inflamed prostate?”
People actually have to fill out a form to explain why they are leaving their homes, from health reasons to grocery shopping, and folks are getting nailed by the police.
One of the most serious transgressions happened last week in Sciacca, Sicily, when a man who had tested positive for Covid-19 was discovered by police while out shopping, despite the strict order to self-isolate at home. Another man, aged 60, who had also tested positive, was charged by police as he walked his dog in Lavinio, in the Lazio region.