How does Italy manage to keep the number of coronavirus cases low while the numbers in other countries are exploding
Italy was the first country in Europe that was overwhelmed by the first wave of Covid-19.
Lombardy, in particular, was the epicenter of Europe at the beginning of the pandemic.
People who followed the first wave can still remember the pictures of overcrowded hospitals and columns of military vehicles taking the dead away from the epicenter because there was simply no room left for all the corpses.
But now, while Europe is facing the second wave, Italy is looking pretty good with only moderately increasing numbers.
While the number of infections is exploding in other European countries, life is almost every day again in most of Italy. Schools, shops, bars, and restaurants are open, and people catch up on their summer vacation and other activities that were not possible before.
How did Italy do it?
On the one hand, it plays a role that Italy was the very first country in Europe to be affected.
Fabrizio Pregliasco from the University of Milan says: “Italy is in a better situation than other countries such as the United Kingdom, Spain or France because we were among the first in the world to face the Covid hurricane.“
So the country had more time than other countries to learn to deal with the virus.
Above all, this has meant that Italy has been able to prepare for the period after the lockdown longer and thus has better mechanisms to react to increasing case numbers during a new wave.
Knowledge is always a head start and the first way to a solution. Besides, a collective trauma has arisen in Italy due to the many deaths. Almost everyone has lost a family member or knows someone to whom this has happened.
That is why the Italians are more vigilant than other European countries and accept Covid-related restrictions more than others.
Also, Italy is still in the State of Emergency, making it easier to react quickly to regional outbreaks.
Besides, Italy was also one of the first countries to introduce mandatory masking across the board, which certainly helped a lot.
The successes are impressive.
Italy continues to test a lot, and while some European countries have almost given up contact tracing, it is now also doing very well in Italy. Following the contacts is very important above all to register asymptomatic cases.
But Italy will also have to work hard to cope with the second wave in autumn and winter.
The population should remain vigilant, and the authorities should conduct many tests.
Additional contacts must be traced, and the government must respond appropriately and quickly to new regional outbreaks.
If everything is done right, Italy may be able to prevent the second wave.