Memories of Italy's brutal first wave have caused people to follow protocols and keep Covid-19 cases low
- In the last week, Italy had fewer than 1,500 new infections on average per day, compared to France’s average of about 10,400, Spain’s 10,500, and the UK’s 3,700.
- Italy isn’t facing a second wave like Spain and France because people have continued to practise social distancing, wash hands, and wear masks, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- Italy’s brutal first wave involved more than 250,000 infections, and 6,000 new cases per day at its peak in March, The Guardian reported.
- Since then, masks have been compulsory inside public places, on public transport, and in crowded outdoor areas.
- Italy also did not focus on growing its tourism sector and banned dancing clubs in August.
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Italy's first wave of coronavirus was so distressing that many in the country are still following protocols six months later, while other European countries, which have been laxer about protocols, now face a second wave.
Cases are rising across Europe, but in the last week, Italy had less than 1,500 new cases on average per day, compared to France's average of about 10,400 new cases, Spain's 10,500 new cases, and the UK's 3,700 new cases.
Italy isn't facing a second wave like Spain and France because people have continued to practice social distancing, wash hands, and wear masks, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Italy's brutal first wave involved more than 250,000 infections, and 6,000 new cases per day at its peak in March, The Guardian reported.
The Italian military had to drive bodies from Bergamo, a city in Lombardy, to different provinces when its morgue became full, while oxygen had to be piped into hospitals as they became overrun with patients.
Milan resident Enrica Grazioli told The Journal despite her love of dinner parties she hadn't had a guest over since the pandemic hit.
She said she might have been overdoing it, "but we had a national tragedy of epic proportions and you don't quickly forget something like that."
In Italy, masks have continued to be compulsory inside public places, on public transport, and in crowded outdoor areas.
A survey conducted by Imperial College London and YouGov found 85% of Italians said they were wearing masks in public spaces, which was the highest in Europe, other than Spain, according to The Journal.
Imperial College molecular parasitologist Andrea Crisanti, who is on secondment to the University of Padua, told The Telegraph an important factor was Italy kept its quarantine period at 14 days, while other European countries dropped down to seven or 10 days.
She said surveillance was another factor.
"Every time we get a positive case, even asymptomatic, we test everybody who is part of the various family, social, and work networks of that person. This is how all our clusters are now being handled," she said.
Italy also did not focus on growing its tourism sector, and banned dancing clubs in August, according to the Telegraph.
In contrast, Spain's loose restrictions for family gatherings, street parties, and night clubs have been cited as reasons for its own resurgence.
Italy's government has also been working hard.
According to Italy's National Health Institute, more than two-thirds of Italians who had Covid-19 were discovered through screen testing and contact tracing, not because they had symptoms, The Journal reported.
Italy isn't safe from a second wave. There are now concerns that schools, which reopened on September 14, could provide an opportunity for the virus to spread.
As Milan's Catholic University psychology professor Guendalina Graffigna told The Journal: "People were very afraid in March and April and that has an effect on short-term behavior, but it's not clear how long it will last."
"We're a Mediterranean country and often we act on our emotions more than in other countries," Graffigna said.
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