Three weeks after the imposition of lockdown in Italy, the number of new coronavirus cases, severe infections and Covid-19-related deaths, all are hinting towards an optimistic trend, suggesting that the country may have well passed its worst crisis since the World War II. After weeks of a sharp surge in the number of coronavirus patients, the data this week offer a glimmer of hope as the growth in infection is slowing, signifying that the pandemic is on the wane.
In a press conference on Sunday, the Italian government adviser Luca Richeldi stated that the number of new people taken to intensive care dropped each day from Saturday from 124 on Saturday to 50 on Sunday. New cases on Sunday also dropped to 5217 from 5974 a day before. There is also a drop in the mortality rate, from a record 919 deaths on Friday to 756 deaths on Sunday.
Italy has endured the world’s deadliest outbreak of the respiratory pandemic, with 62% of the fatalities registered in Lombardy, the country’s most populous and wealthy region. More than 12,000 people in Italy have already died of the contagion that first emanated from one of the wet markets in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has now paralysed a large number of countries across the world.
Though the numbers are inspiring, the Italians, having experienced the worst, are taking it with a pinch of salt. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday that the restrictions imposed last month are extended for another two weeks till April 13.
“We must not be complacent and mistake the first positive signals with an ‘all clear’ signal. Data shows that we are on the right track and the imposition of harsh measures is yielding the desired results,” Speranza told the upper house Senate. She further added that the battle against the infection is still very long.
In its peak, Italy had come to personify the severity of the threat posed by Wuhan coronavirus. The public health system was overstretched as the number of coronavirus patients in Italy swelled alarmingly. The healthcare professionals were faced with the grim dilemma of prioritising who should get access to the limited number of ventilators at their disposal, resulting in large-scale mortality.
However, the encouraging numbers coming out of Italy offers a beacon of hope for the rest of the world that the contagion, if not clinically treated yet, can at least be subdued, if the countries that are facing the wrath of the virus, act swiftly and implement extensive lockdown measures before the virus hollows out the country’s public health system.