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The epicenters of the Covid-19 pandemic

In the beginning there was only the Wuhan outbreak but within a few weeks, it spread to the entire province of Hubei, a territory where 60 million inhabitants live - six times the population of Lombardy. How did the invisible enemy invade every continent, from Europe to America via Africa?

Published: March 25, 2020, 7:22 am

    In Italy it all started from Codogno, a town in the province of Lodi that has just under 16 000 inhabitants. Almost right away Vo ‘Euganeo followed. Soon the Italian outbreak got bigger to include the whole of Lombardy, with Bergamo and Brescia as cities most affected by the viral scourge.

    Virologists believe that the virus spread to the rest of Europe from Germany, including to Italy with the main outbreak located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region with almost 5 000 infected. And in Bavaria there is over 2 200 infected patients.

    In France, the main focus is on the Paris region and Alsace, where the army is building a field hospital. In Austria the greatest danger is concentrated in the Paznaun valley, precisely in the renowned ski resort of Ischgl. According to reports from Der Spiegel, the resort closed too late, and hundreds of people from Denmark, Germany, Sweden and many other countries were infected there.

    In the UK, London is the main source of the outbreak. Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, a suburb of the City, has raised the white flag declaring a crisis due to the high number of patients hospitalized for suspected contagion by Covid-19. The situation in Spain is also dramatic, where the numbers in Madrid are not so different from those in Lombardy.

    Despite being about a week late compared to Italy, the infection has brought the Iberian capital to its knees. El País reported that on Monday March 16, hospitals in the Madrid region counted one death every 16 minutes while another Spanish daily El Mundo added that the two crematoriums in the city work 24/7 without interruption.

    In South Korea the ground zero of the infection was located in Daegu. Until a few weeks ago, 60 percent of cases (initially even 80 percent) were located right here, in the fourth urban center of the country by number of inhabitants, about 250 kilometers south-east of Seoul.

    Iran had its deadly outbreak in the religious city of Qom, about seventy kilometers from the capital Tehran.

    Finally, in the United States, the epicenter of the infection is located in New York, where a spike in cases occurred on Friday March 20. The New York Post reported that on that day the new Coronavirus killed citizens “at a rate of more than one an hour” bringing the death toll to tripple figures.

    According to the New York Times, in La Rochelle, a city in New York State (about half an hour north of Manhattan) the first containment efforts were made. On Monday, researchers noted an “attack rate” in New York that was “five times higher” than the rest of the country. Dr Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has warned that anybody leaving NY should self-quarantine for 14 days.

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