News & Politics

Italy Virus Deaths Fall, But Officials Warn the Worst Is Not Behind Them

Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators are given supplies as they line up before entering the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash. to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, near Seattle. The nursing home is at the center of the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Italy recorded the second straight day of a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases. The number of day-to-day deaths also decreased for the second day in a row.

But Italian health officials are saying that the small decrease could be a statistical anomaly and not an indication that the country has turned the corner on fighting the Chinese virus.

Meanwhile, Italian labor unions went on strike against inadequate health and safety measures being taken by the government and private companies.

CNBC:

The number of deaths rose by 601 on Monday, the smallest increase in four days, according to data from the Italian authorities. The number of new confirmed cases also slowed on Monday. These figures have raised expectations that the worse could be over for the country with the highest number of deaths from the virus worldwide.

However, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday that Italy had not yet reached the “most acute phase” of the infection.

“It is early to say” when this crisis will be over, Conte told the newspaper La Stampa Monday.

One official is saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The Hill:

One of Italy’s national health officials, Silvio Brusaferro, warned against any optimism, saying the decrease in new cases reflected actions taken at the beginning of the month.

“We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favorable situation,” Brusaferro said, according to the AP.

And it wouldn’t be a crisis without a strike by the Italian labor unions. In this instance, they may have a case. Prime Minister Conte has left it up to individual companies whether to close their doors and send the workers home and there appear to be some industries that are not only resisting the call to close but are exposing their workers to risk of disease.

However, metalworkers and bank unions have vowed to strike on Wednesday. They are demanding more stringent measures for the factories that are still open and for bank employees, who they say do not have enough masks, gloves or disinfectant.

“As a result of the amateurish management of the recent decision to impose a shutdown of all non-essential economic activities, the government has managed to alienate both trade unions and business groups,” Wolfgango Piccoli, co-president of the research firm Teneo, said in an email Monday.

He added that the current coronavirus crisis was making the political atmosphere “increasingly toxic.”

Sounds familiar.

The tragedy in Italy won’t happen here — as long as we continue to abide by restrictions recommended by health officials. Italy started late and failed to act aggressively to contain the virus. They are now paying the price for their government’s hesitation and mismanagement.