Coronavirus: still fragile, the decline has started in Italy

It remains at the mercy of a slackening of efforts, but it is there: the recession of the pandemic has started in Italy, which remains the country in the world most cruelly hit by COVID-19.
R OME – It remains at the mercy of a slackening of efforts, but it is there: the recession of the pandemic has started in Italy, which remains the country in the world most cruelly hit by COVID-19.

“The curve has started to descend” after a week of stabilization “plateau”, noted the boss of the Higher Institute of Health Silvio Brusaferro, while the number of deaths now exceeds 16,000 dead.

Sunday, a symbolic figure was made public: with 525 dead, Italy experienced the least deadly 24 hours since March 19, more than two weeks. On Saturday, an unprecedented drop in intensive care hospitalizations was announced.

Beyond intensive care, “the number of people hospitalized in conventional services […] is decreasing” in turn, welcomed the head of civil protection Angelo Borrelli.

“The real good news is that there is less pressure in the most affected hospitals in Lombardy. We are not sure we are out, but we are less under pressure, ”said Massimo Galli, an infectious disease specialist at Sacco Hospital in Milan, on Saturday.

It has now been almost four weeks that 60 million Italians have been banned from gathering, allowed to go out only for shopping, for health reasons, to walk their dog, to help relatives if necessary or to work for those whose activity is considered essential.

And it has also been four weeks that they have been listening to their officials cracking down on the measures and forecasts that do not bode well for the third European economy: 6% recession provided that the country reboots in May according to the employers, loss of 40 % of the turnover of bars and hotels in the country according to the association of chartered accountants, distribution of food vouchers for the needy …

History book and economics manual

In an interview Sunday with the American chain NBC, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, of which one of the bodyguards, 52 years old, succumbed Saturday to the coronavirus, repeated Sunday to Europeans that they had to “write a book of history “and not” a textbook on economics “. It is necessary to adopt “a reconstruction and reinvestment plan”, he said, pleading again for “coronabonds”, a mutualisation of the debt which the northern countries of the EU refuse, in particular Germany and the Netherlands.

While Italy is to announce new measures to support its economy this week, EU member states plan to seek an agreement this week for a joint response to the economic challenges of the pandemic.

If the encouraging epidemiological figures are repeated, the authorities seem determined to restart the economy. If the trend is confirmed, we should “think about phase 2,” said Silvio Brusaferro. In the restart plan drawn up by the authorities, it corresponds to a period of “cohabitation” with the coronavirus with a gradual resumption of productive activity.

But it would not bring about a return to daily normality. “It is important to maintain the measures that made the curve decrease,” warned Silvio Brusaferro. “The better we respect the rules, the sooner we will get out” and in the event of a resumption of the pandemic, “our efforts and our sacrifices will have been in vain,” warned Giuseppe Conte.

The Interior Ministry announced that 9,300 fines for breaching confinement were issued on Saturday, the highest figure in ten days. At the start of Easter week, the police are preparing a plan to make room for those who want to go to their second home.

Giulio Gallera, the Lombardy health manager, is worried about the situation in Milan, which has so far been less severely hit than its neighbors Bergamo or Brescia. Since Sunday, the Lombards who go out must cover the respiratory tract at least with a scarf or scarf. “The risk that everything starts again is real,” warned the manager.

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