The whole world is heavily afflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the situation in Italy is one that has raised a lot of brows and drawn a lot of attention.
The European country has hospitals overwhelmed and a nationwide lockdown imposed.
As of the 23rd March 2020, 601 new deaths were recorded taking the total death toll to 6077 with 63,927 cases reported according to Worldometers
The country has the second-oldest population on earth. In Italy, 23 percent of the population is over the age 65.
This is mainly due to the extended longevity and how fast the decline in fertility has been in the population.
Young Italians tend to interact a lot with their elders who live in rural areas and travel to work in major cities.
Young people working and socializing in urban areas interact with large crowds, where they may pick up the virus and take it home.
If they have no symptoms, they will have no clue that they are infecting their elders, the most vulnerable population.
So, though there is a lockdown, the number of cases keeps rising.
A study revealed that almost 40 percent of infections and 87 percent of deaths in the country have been in patients over 70 years old.
According to Prof Walter Ricciardi, scientific advisor to Italy’s Prime Minister , the death rates are higher due to how doctors record fatalities.
He added, “only 12 percent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 percent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity (i.e. pre-existing disease) – many had two or three.”
This does not mean that Covid-19 did not contribute to a patient’s demise, rather it shows that Italy’s fatality toll has surged as a large fraction of patients have underlying health conditions.
The situation is likely to worsen as more healthcare workers are infected and have to isolate – already, about 2,000 of them have contracted the virus in Italy.