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Why is Lombardy the epicentre of the Corona crisis?

The region of Lombardy has involuntarily found itself to be the epicenter of the Italian epidemic and is paying the price: 9 202 deaths since the beginning of the infection and over 51 000 cases.

Published: April 8, 2020, 8:38 am

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    For every ten patients diagnosed, two die. In Milan, in the last week there are 100 deaths per day – three times above average, Italian daily Il Giornale reported.

    Covid-19’s lethality rate in Lombardy is almost double that in the rest of the country. The death rate is almost certainly overestimated due to the huge number of Coronavirus-infected people that the authorities are unable to record.

    According to some studies, in Italy there are 1,4 to 7 million people already infected, but asymptomatic. The virus kills, but in many cases no one notices it: according to Istat research, comparing the deaths of 2019 with those of 2020 there is a 100 percent increase in the thousand municipalities analyzed.

    However, the Lombard anomaly remains. The average lethality rate in Italy is 12,5 percent, while in Lombardy the percentage rises to 17,9 percent. But if one considers only the rest of the regions of Italy, excluding the Lombardy provinces, the national lethality is 9 percent.

    It must be said that Lombardy has performed nothing short of a miracle to double the available beds in a few days, which at the beginning of the emergency numbered 724. Thanks to the increase in intensive care places and the slowdown of infections, hospital staff are currently less pressured.

    During the first wave, when the whole country was unprepared, doctors were forced to choose who to assign a respirator to and who to let die, according to the now famous Italian Society of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Intensive Care or SAARTI document, revealed by Il Giornale.

    Lombardy, moreover, believes that it is paying for the government’s inability to respond immediately to the crisis: protection systems arrived late, forcing staff to wear “toilet paper” masks. “We were hit by a tsunami,” one councilor explained, accusing Prime Minister Conte of having done too little.

    “Almost a month and a half has gone by since the beginning of the epidemic and basically we are receiving crumbs from Rome. If we had not done it ourselves, we would have closed the hospitals after two days”.

    In general, all of Italy showed an inability to cope with the emergency of the Coronavirus. Their preparedness was lower than other EU countries, where lethality appears lower. According to Eurostat data, in 2017 Germany boasted 6,0 places per thousand inhabitants for the treatment of acute cases, against 2,6 in Italy.

    The same applies to intensive care: at the beginning of the crisis Berlin could count on 28 000 respirators (34 for every 100 thousand people). Italy only had 12 per 100 thousand. But there are those who, in the government, seem to want to blame the Lombard system only.

    The death toll among Italian doctors from the Coronavirus rose to 94 after another five died on Tuesday, the federation of doctors guild FNOMCEO said.

    The intensity of the crisis triggered by the pandemic for households and businesses is unprecedented, even worse than the 2008 financial crisis, ISTAT said on Tuesday.

    The statistics agency said consumer spending will plunge 9,9 percent if the lockdown persists until June, and added that an anti-Coronavirus shutdown covered 34 percent of all productive activities.

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