Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries by the global coronavirus pandemic. The country has been on total lockdown over the last few weeks and even though the number of infections and deaths is still high, we are starting to see signs that perhaps the worse could be over soon. Recent data shows that the rate of new infections in the European country is decreasing.
As of now, Italy has reported over 100,000 cases and about 11,591 deaths. The infections are largely concentrated in northern parts of the country where the military and law enforcement officers are enforcing a stay at home order issued by the government on the onset of the pandemic. There are also reports that hospitals in the north are completely overwhelmed with patients.
But the good news amidst these dark times is the fact that efforts put in place by the government seem to be working. The rate of daily new infections, according to recent data, stands at just 2%, the lowest ever recorded since the pandemic started. Italy has also reported a sharp increase in the number of patients who have recovered from the illness with the total number now hitting 18,000.
These latest positive numbers come as reports indicate that the government is going to extend the lockdown, which is likely to extend by an additional three or four weeks. But there are some experts who warn that even though the rate of new infections is low, Italy’s outbreak is yet to peak, but we are getting there very fast. This means that new infections and deaths could be reported over the coming weeks.
Italy’s government is availing up to $441 million in emergency funding for local authorities to provide food vouchers for the affected populations. There is a real risk that the ongoing shutdown is causing massive economic damage to most families. Now that the state is looking to extend it further, there could be more and more people out of food and other necessary supplies. The hope is that the emergency relief issued by the state will be enough to keep people indoors, at least over the next few weeks.
As Italy continues to deal with its pandemic, other countries such as Spain and the US are also seeing sharp increases in the number of new infections and deaths as well. Spain looks to be on course to become the European epicenter. The country has now reported 110,000 new cases and 10,000 deaths. The US, on the other hand, is already above 230,000 cases with a total of over 5,600 deaths reported.
The US is also expected to issue additional stay at home advisories for various states affected by the pandemic. Unlike Italy, the US is still relatively far away from peaking. Internal modeling data from public health officials also paints a grim picture ahead, predicting a best-case scenario where the US could lose nearly 200,000 people to the virus.