A Milan resident Antonia Mortensen was pulled over by the city’s police recently and the police instructed her fellow passenger to move to the rear seats of the vehicle and checked if both were using face masks.
“We were told we cannot both sit in the front,” said Cable News Network journalist who was with her husband travelling to see a sick relative in hospital.
“We have a special certificate giving us permission to go to the hospital,” she said, satisfying the authorities that the relative does not have coronavirus.
Italians are fierce restrictions as they country became hotbed for the virus in Europe. The death in Italy is now the highest in the world with 10,023 deaths of Covid-19 reported the government. Fatalities hit the milestone on Saturday with daily count rising to 889 according to numbers released by Italy’s Civil Protection Agency.
Having highest fatality rate on the earth, Italy now has 92,472 confirmed cased affected by global pandemic. Whereas, China, the epicenter of the pandemic with a roughly similar number of confirmed cases hanging at 81, 997 lies at under a third as many deaths at 3,299 according to the figures maintained by John Hopkins University and Medicine.
Italy is only behind US with confirmed cases in the world which has recorded 105,470 confirmed infected individuals across its states but has far less deaths standing at just over 1,700.
As Italy enters the 6th week of lockdown, many are questioning the high mortality rate that is considerably higher than other countries across the world. Experts assess that it is so because of a multitude of factors most notably the country’s large elderly population more vulnerable to Covid-19 and the method employed by medical systems for the testing of the virus that doesn’t not provide the full picture.
Another factor according to Dr. Massimo Galli who heads the infectious disease unit as Sacco Hospital in Milan is the number of confirmed cases that is “not representative of the entire infected population and that “the real number are much much more,” he emphasized. Due to distorted numbers only most severe cases are being tested and not the masses which in turn results in the large-scale fatality. Around 5,000 tests are being carried out daily in the northern Lombardy region, worst-hit by the lethal outbreak. He added that this was much lower than what needs to be done and “thousands of people are waiting for diagnosis at their homes.”
A major hurdle for the health workers is the shortage of protective gear, Massimo said. Warning the other countries lulled into complacency by the lower number of cases, the doctor said: “We have national healthcare system that works very well, especially in Lombardy but even our system has been hit by this.
“Miracles have been done in multiplying the number of beds in hospitals but medicine has been lacking and this is a big problem that will be felt by other countries.
One factor contributing to mass fatalities is the country’s elderly population which is only second to Japan. The average age of Italians who succumbed to the pandemic after screened positive was 78, the country’s Health Institute released the figure on Friday.
However, stories like Itlaica Grondona, 102 still bring hope in the had-hit healthcare system that has been crashed by virus. 102-year-old Grondona recovered from Covid-19 after spending 20 days in Hospital.
‘We nicknamed her Highlander — the immortal,” said Doctor Vera Sicbaldi. “Italica represents a hope for all the elderly facing this pandemic.”
Lastly, the emergency measures and lockdown imposed by the Italian state many think was not enough to stop the spread of virus. People can only go out for buying essentials, food items and medicines and those violating the restrictions have to bear $3,350 or 3,000 euros fine.
Dr. Giorgio Palu who has previously served as the president of European and Italian Society for Virology and a professor of virology and microbiology of the University of Padova told Cable News Network that the Italian measures were not so forceful like the Chinese ones.
“But this is the best you can do in a democracy,” he added, pointing to the draconian measures pushed in mainland China by communist government.
Having said that, “some constitutional rights are taken from us,” Palu said of Italians’ freedom. “We can’t have public gatherings now.”
Nevertheless, with the death toll continuing to surge, the severity of sanctions in European state is only expected to increase in the coming days and weeks.