In just a matter of weeks, the COVID-19 situation all over the world has evolved dramatically.
Worldwide, there are more than 200,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Instead, Italy’s situation has so quickly evolved that the spotlight is now on them:
Fatalities in Italy Now More Than China Which Means It’s the Worst-Hit Country So Far
Yesterday (19 March), as many as 15 trucks and 50 soldiers had to be deployed to move the dead bodies of COVID-19 victims from Bergamo, Italy to neighbouring provinces.
This came after local authorities in Bergamo had asked for assistance with cremations after their crematorium could not cope with the number of coronavirus related deaths.
My hometown, Bergamo (Italy): The vehicles from the army move coffins out of the city as the crematorium is struggling to cope.
(I was unsure about posting. But I saw a video of students irresponsibly partying in Florida during semester break.) #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/wgH439BWe9
— Guido Salvaneschi (@guidosalva) March 19, 2020
According to Giacomo Angeloni, the local official in charge of cemeteries in Bergamo, the crematorium has been working around the clock and handling about 24 bodies each day.
This is almost twice as many as its normal maximum. Thus, it has been struggling to cope.
Number of Confirmed Cases & Deaths In Italy Surpasses China
If anything, these figures show just how dire the situation in Italy is. If we’re looking at numbers, it’s even worse.
For one, the number of confirmed cases in Italy has risen to 41,035 from 35,713.
The number of deaths in Italy due to the COVID-19 has risen by 427 to 3,405.
This figure not only represents the biggest single-day increase in Italy since the outbreak began last month, but it has also officially overtaken the death toll in China.
China officially reported that there have been a total of 3,245 deaths since it had seen its first coronavirus last year.
The Situation In Bergamo, The ‘Global Heart’ Of The COVID-19 Outbreak
Bergamo, Italy has now been described as the “global heart” of the coronavirus outbreak.
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The situation is so bad that there have been back-to-back burials at the cemetery.
However, burials have had to take place 30 minutes apart to avoid contagion through crowding.
Government To Extend Deadline Of Emergency Measures
According to newspaper Corriere della Sera, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the government will be forced to extend the deadline on current emergency measures that have resulted in schools and businesses closing.
The measures include ordering most shops to close until at least 25 March and 3 April. However, it was not specified how long the measures would be prolonged.
The government is also entertaining the possibility of implementing tougher measures because people have not been abiding by the stay at home order for all but essential purposes and thousands are still becoming infected.
Why Has Italy Been So Hard Hit?
It all began with a 38-year-old Lombardy man who was asymptomatic but was likely infectious for weeks.
He was treated on 14 February for influenza but his condition only worsened. He was examined in Cododno Hospital where the virus-infected patients and staff.
Clusters began to emerge and the highly contagious virus spread rapidly. The rest is history.
So back to the question…
The country has been so hard hit because it is home to the second-oldest population on earth wherein 23% of the Italian population is over 65. Comparatively in the United States, the number is just 16%.
According to their study, the average age of the fatalities is 79.5.
It is also believed that the coronavirus situation in Italy is not going to let up anytime soon.
According to the WHO chief, this is because countries did not implement stringent measures or take extra precautions early enough.
This is a tough time for everyone involved, including Singaporeans and everyone else all over the world. I’m certain though, that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel.
Stay safe everyone and do remember to practice good personal hygiene and to avoid crowded places.
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