While Covid is outbreaking dramatically in some Countries all around the world, Italy is recording a very low rate since a couple of months. Warnings have never been put down completely and we do still keep taking every possible precaution, although the situation appears to be under control.
The New York Times released an article today about that, stating that Italy’s behaviour should be taken as an example. The ful article is available here
What made it possible deals with a set of things:
- Italy has been the first widely hit Country after China. The local government (for once we had the right man at the right place) enforced a State of Emergency since January 31st for a period of 6 months. Such scenario allowed the Prime Minister to take immediate actions to counteract a possible outbreak of the virus, thus when it happened, at the end of February, he was able to immediately release orders to lockdown or to put under control specific areas.
- We were scared and we never underestimated the potential impact of the virus: at the beginning, when the virus started outbreaking heavily, reaching up to 5.000 cases per day, and we saw a high death rate due to Covid 19, we were really scared, thus we respected the lockdown carefully. There were no big protests, just few with very few participants. Such behavioir prevented the virus from further outbreaking, thus when it got to the peak, it started going down rapidly.
- Preventive measures have been eased down in a long timeframe. When the lockdown was removed we were not yet allowed to move from one region to another and we could only visit the members of our family: no friends gatherings were allowed.
- At the present date, all public places and means of transportation such as shops and restaurants are obliged to provide hand sanitizers at the entrance, gloves where necessary, and it is still mandatory to wear face masks. We are still respecting such rules even during the current heatwaves that makes it very hard to wear face masks.
- Other Countries, especially in Europe, wasted almost one month just watching what was happening here and they didn’t take any action until the first case appeared in their own territory, thus they let the virus circulate freely for long and eventually the impact has been harder than in Italy.
- Thankfully, the Italian health system is public and free. All those who had to be healed at a hospital, even for a long period of time, were taken care of and they didn’t spend a single penny. The government invested a lot of money in creating quickly new ICU beds in every hospital as well as temporary hospitals. Pre triage units were built outside every hospital just before the entrance to avoid people entering the hospital for other emergencies to get in touch with possible covid infected patients.
All the above doesn’t mean we did it perfectly: several mistakes were made by local administrations, who are locally in charge of the health systems as well as several problems arose during the outbreak such as the lack of face masks for the health staff and equipments. However, we were the first to experience this ans we reacted with the information available at that time while the rest of the world was just watching us.
The virus has not yet completely disappeared from the Country, and it won’t, until a vaccine will be available, in fact we do still record some 200 cases per day, however such circumstance is allowing us to live pretty much without hard restrictions: we just keep wearing face masks at every public indoor place and we sanitize our hands everytime we enter a shop or a restaurants or similar places. We do still observe a sort of physical distance of 1 meter. We do not hug or kiss each other every time we meet as we were used to do. But all in all our lives are not impacted much today.
That is why travelling to Italy now is pretty safe. A new lockdown is not considered as possible at the present date and if we will keep observing the rules it won’t happen in the near future. The economy is restarting and our cities have never been so beautiful.