At the start of the outbreak, Italy was hit by a terrifying wave of infections. It was the first country to implement emergency lockdowns, and the first to look like it was losing the battle against the virus. Hospital capacity shrunk as cases increased, whilst the death toll surged. Today however, Italy is handling the coronavirus well.
Italy has gone from being the face of the pandemic in Europe to one of the top models for response and management – up there with Germany. How did they do it and what can we learn from their transformation?
The country seems to have avoided implementing more draconian safety measures, like shutting down pubs and clubs, heavy fines for failing to where a mask, and varying times for curfew. As many countries can attest however, second waves can come suddenly and hit hard. Yet, Italy has managed to maintain a lower number of cases and death rate compared to most.
Despite Italy’s famously competent healthcare system, the country suffered perhaps the most in the world in the first stages of the virus. This could be what led the people of the country to take mask wearing and social distancing very seriously of their own accord.
Perhaps this can be attributed to the unforgettable first stages, when many Italians lost their lives and loved ones. Communities adopted a ‘never again’ attitude and decided to get through the pandemic the right way. Having seen the worst possible scenario unfold before them, Italy is handling the coronavirus with the utmost care on an individual level.
Another major factor that could have helped Italy would be their widespread use of contact tracing and infection tracking apps. The effectiveness of this method alone changes from one country to another depending on a number of factors. Along with the 100,000 tests per day, it became easier to track and isolate infected individuals before they could transmit the virus to others.
As for the lower death rate, this could possibly be attributed to the physicians’ now sadly extensive experience with the virus. Italian healthcare professionals had plenty of time to learn more about the course of the disease.
To conclude, despite a very rough start, Italy is handling the coronavirus miles better than before. The country’s improvement can be attributed to multiple factors: the awareness and efforts of the Italian people, their robust healthcare system, as well as the technology keeping them safe and informed.