431 more people have died from coronavirus according to the most recent data available, while 4,092 more people have tested positive for the virus.
Italy's coronavirus crisis
The new centre of the global coronavirus crisis, Italy has seen some 19,899 deaths and more than 156,363 confirmed cases since the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in the country’s wealthy northern region of Lombardy on Feb. 21.
The first two cases confirmed in Italy were a couple in their mid-60s from Wuhan, China, the city at the epicentre of the original outbreak of the disease. They were visiting Italy and were taken to an isolation unit at a medical centre in Rome specialising in infectious diseases and viruses.
Since then 1,010,193 people have been tested for the virus in Italy.
The highly infectious virus has mainly affected Italy’s northern regions, especially Lombardy.
Across Italy, for every 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, about 4 are diagnosed in Lombardy, and for every 10 who have died from the virus, about 5 did so in the region.
Antonio Pesenti, head of the Lombardy regional crisis response unit, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on March 8 that the health system in Lombardy was “a step away from collapse” as intensive care facilities came under growing strain from the new cases:
“We’ve emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people.”
The government is worried that if the current crisis worsens and spreads, the health system in the less-developed south of the country will collapse, causing deaths to spike.
Overall, the coronavirus has hospitalized 31,190 people in Italy, 71,063 have been isolated at home and 34,211 have recovered from the disease so far.
Struggling to cope with the rapid growth of the virus, Conte enacted strict travel and work restrictions, first in Lombardy and then across the entire country. The government told all Italians to stay at home and avoid non-essential travel. Shops and restaurants closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled and streets emptied across Italy:
One way to gauge the extent to which such measures slow the spread of the disease is to look at the number of days it takes the number of infected people to double. The longer it takes, the more effective containment measures may be.
Projecting from the latest data available, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy is on course to double in about 38 days, compared to a rate of about every 4 days in early March. But testing rates can dramatically impact those trends.
Sources: Italian Civil Protection Agency and Reuters reporting