Italy has recorded the highest global death toll of 10,779 and has surpassed China with over 97,689 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus as per John Hopkins University data, becoming the second-worst impacted country in the number of cases and the worst-impacted in the matter of deaths around the world. Many are now wondering why the country has such a high rate of fatalities.
According to reports, despite imposing a total ban on movements across the region, and placing million under the lockdown as a containment effort, Italy has a combination of several factors contributing to the death toll. The country’s large elderly population and the inaccurate methods of testing could have been among the leading causes of the surge of deaths.
Massimo Galli, head of the infectious disease unit at Sacco Hospital in Milan, said in a news conference that Italy’s recorded data did not accurately represent the ground report. The real figures, he said, were significantly higher. He was also quoted saying that thousands waited to be tested with mild symptoms at home, as tests were limited to only up to 5,000 per day. Massimo stressed that northern Lombardy region, the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy, still has fewer people tested due to a shortage of the testing kits and limited availability of the protective gear for the medics.
According to reports, Italy’s healthcare system is in shackles and the lack of space to accommodate the new patients has rendered the medical facilities helpless. The crisis has worsened beyond control, claimed the health authorities. According to Flavia Riccardo, a researcher in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Italian National Institute of Health, the virus had long arrived in Italy and was circulating way before the government discovered the first case, a media outlet reported. This happened around the time when the country was facing a peak of influenza, and citizens were showing influenza symptoms, he added.
A French daily gazette reported Stefano Paglia, the head of the emergency ward at a hospital in Codogno in northern Italy, saying that there was an unusually high number of pneumonia cases recorded ahead of the first COVID-19 patient’s admission in the hospital.
(with inputs from agencies)