Traumatised Italy prepares for phase 2, after 10 weeks in which hopes and songs became grief and silence

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As Italy moves to “phase 2” from Monday, the country is lifting measures more slowly and more cautiously than most others.

Sky News reports that perhaps there is little wonder when you see the trauma this country has endured in little over two months.

Even in the early days of lockdown, you could feel the country was in a state of high anxiety. As Italians saw the health emergency escalate, they also had to process the shock of being the first country in Europe ordered to stay home.

In the early weeks of Italy’s outbreak there was a sense of hope and optimism. Italians gathered in their windows and balconies to sing together and say “Andrà tutto bene” – everything will be alright. But as the number of dying continued to escalate, hope faded. The singing stopped, shutters stayed closed.

Latest numbers: 

Reuters reports that deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy jumped by 474 on Saturday, against 269 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, posting the largest daily toll of fatalities since April 21.

The steep increase in deaths followed a long, gradual declining trend and was due largely to Lombardy, the country’s worst affected region, where there were 329 deaths in the last 24 hours compared with just 88 the day before.

The daily tally of new infections was broadly stable for a third day running at 1,900 against 1,965 on Friday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 28,710, the agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 209,328, the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.

People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 100,704 from 100,943 on Friday.

There were 1,539 people in intensive care on Saturday, slightly down from 1,578 on Friday and maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 79,914 were declared recovered against 78,249 a day earlier. The agency said 1.430 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.399 million the day before, out of a population of around 60 million.

10 weeks later

In exactly 10 weeks Italy lost more than 28,000 of its citizens to COVID-19. That doesn’t include most of those who have died in residential homes. More than 180 doctors and nurses have died from coronavirus – another two have taken their own lives.

The head of infectious diseases at Spedali Civili Hospital in Brescia, Lombardy, described the trauma of working with the fear of dying. More than 300 of his colleagues have tested positive for the virus. “We were asking each other who will be the next and that, of course, is psychologically demanding. Also because, apart from being colleagues, we are friends. “We are also isolated, each of us at home, because we fear also to maybe transfer the contagion to our beloved ones. “So if you put all that together, the workload, the fatigue, the tiredness, that is fairly psychologically demanding.”

Sky / Reuters 




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