Virus in Italy: despite a terrible toll, a small ray of hope

The battle is far from won in Italy where the results remain terrible, but on Sunday, for the first time, officials expressed a very cautious hope for an imminent ebb of the coronavirus pandemic.
In one month, nearly 5,500 people were swept away by the pandemic wave in Italy, by far the most affected country on the planet, with more than a third of the deaths recorded by AFP from official balance sheets.

In the past 24 hours, 651 people have died on the peninsula, a very high figure, but down significantly from the previous day’s record (793).

“The figures announced today are lower than those of yesterday. I hope and we all hope that these figures can be confirmed in the coming days, “said the head of civil protection, Angelo Borrelli.

Crucial next week

“But we must not lower our guard,” he added after a second weekend of confinement for the Italians. Their freedoms have been drastically restricted across the country for almost two weeks now, and controls have been tightened even this weekend in the streets of deserted towns crushed in silence.

“We must not indulge in an exaggerated enthusiasm or overinterpret” the balance sheet of the day, but “it is a sign that we welcome positively,” added Franco Locatelli, an official of the Italian health authorities.

“The first strict containment measures were taken on March 11. So we expected results after two or three weeks. Next week will therefore be absolutely crucial, “” and we expect to see a sign of trend reversal, “he said, calling for the utmost care in the family to avoid contagion.

Clearer than obscure

This very shy hope came in particular from Lombardy, the Milan region, very badly affected, since 3,456 people died there. But the increase in positive cases has slowed by half (+1691 Sunday against +3251 the day before).

“These are figures that are as usual in chiaroscuro. But today they are clearer than obscure, even if we do not cry victory, “said the head of health for the Lombardy region, Giulio Gallera.

In this rich region, hospitals are overwhelmed and medical staff exhausted. “It is time to give the umpteenth demonstration that we are a united and united nation, to respond as a country. The transfer of patients [to other regions] is the only mechanism to guarantee the solidity of the structures “in Lombardy, said Franco Locatelli.

Doctors and nurses are on the front line. Andrea Carli, a general practitioner from Lodi (Lombardy), who died on March 19, is the last on the list of doctors killed by the coronavirus, an ordinal organization announced on Sunday. This list has 18 names.

Saturday, politicians and Lombard doctors had called to give yet another screw. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte then announced the closure of non-essential productive activities.

On Sunday, a government ordinance also prohibited “traveling with public or private transport in a different commune”, “except for proven reasons of work, absolute urgency or for health reasons”.

But “we have reached the maximum of what can be contagion prevention measures in social terms”, however recognized Franco Locatelli.

He also specified that he was not aware of any deaths or of intensive therapy treatment for patients under 20 years of age: “And among the people who died, there is only one% under 50 years of age. It is always the elderly who must be protected above all without underestimating the role of the youngest in the spread of the virus. ”

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