Introduction: Unexpectedly, Italy was the first Western country to face COVID-19 outbreak, but promptly it was the first one to adopt stringent procedures to stem the spread of infection. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiological situation and comorbidities in Italy, in addition to containment measures and health system and social protection strengthening ones applied in this country.Methods: Available population data were collected, managed, and analysed from the daily reports on COVID-19 published every day, from 1 February to 8 June 2020.Results: Lombardia, a northern region of Italy, is considered the epicentre for the wave of the infection with the first diagnosed case, but in a few weeks other regions were involved (with Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto covering more than 70% of the Italian total cases).In the European context, after 3 months of containing measures of the sanitary emergency, Italy is the fourth country for the number of total positive cases (with 235,278 total case as at 8 June 2020), after Russia, the United Kingdom, and Spain, whereas it is the second for the number of deaths (with 33,964 deaths as at 8 June 2020), only after the United Kingdom.Regarding incidence, the curve of daily new cases shows an increasing trend up to 22 March 2020 with 6557 new daily cases and then a decreasing trend up to 280 as at 8 June. This turnaround can be explained by the application of national lockdown starting from 9 March and by the following 14 days of incubation of infection.Profiles of subjects at major risk of poor prognosis and death for COVID-19 are elderly (mean age of 80 years) and with three or more comorbidities. These characteristics can partially explain the high lethality rate for coronavirus observed in Italy, which is the European country with the highest share of elderly. In addition, other possible explanations of this high lethality are differences in testing policies among countries that influence the number of asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic patients diagnosed as coronavirus positive, together with differences in definition and in the way of recording deaths for coronavirus.In the absence of a vaccine, severe nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including national lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and use of facial masks, have been applied with success to reduce the virus spread and the burden on the National Health System. In addition to these stringent containment measures to fight the pandemic, other policies have been adopted searching to ensure economic sustainability, social safety, and stability.Conclusion: Italy was the first Western country with a wide spread of COVID-19, but it was the first one to introduce containment restrictions, tightening them week by week and subjecting the 60 million people living in the country to unprecedented limitations. Many measurements have been adopted by the government, such as lockdown during the early stages of infection and subsequent social distancing and wearing face masks in public areas. Italians were compliant with all the measures ordered by the government and their discipline reflected in the COVID numbers: the curve of daily new cases after a peak at the end of March now shows a consistent decreasing trend up. In this phase of current reduction of virus diffusion, it is crucial to accommodate the need to continue protecting citizens from the risk of infection with the undeferrable, although gradual, restart of the economic and social system. This new scenario requires an active collaboration among all the actors: statutory bodies, employers, civil society, and the third sector.

Bezzini, D., Schiavetti, I., Manacorda, T., Franzone, G., Battaglia, M.A. (2021). First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Data and Evidence. In A. A. A. Asea, P. Kaur (a cura di), Coronavirus Therapeutics: Clinical management and public health (pp. 91-113). Springer Nature [10.1007/978-3-030-85113-2_6].

First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Data and Evidence

Bezzini D.
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
Battaglia M. A.
Writing – Review & Editing
2021-01-01

Abstract

Introduction: Unexpectedly, Italy was the first Western country to face COVID-19 outbreak, but promptly it was the first one to adopt stringent procedures to stem the spread of infection. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiological situation and comorbidities in Italy, in addition to containment measures and health system and social protection strengthening ones applied in this country.Methods: Available population data were collected, managed, and analysed from the daily reports on COVID-19 published every day, from 1 February to 8 June 2020.Results: Lombardia, a northern region of Italy, is considered the epicentre for the wave of the infection with the first diagnosed case, but in a few weeks other regions were involved (with Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto covering more than 70% of the Italian total cases).In the European context, after 3 months of containing measures of the sanitary emergency, Italy is the fourth country for the number of total positive cases (with 235,278 total case as at 8 June 2020), after Russia, the United Kingdom, and Spain, whereas it is the second for the number of deaths (with 33,964 deaths as at 8 June 2020), only after the United Kingdom.Regarding incidence, the curve of daily new cases shows an increasing trend up to 22 March 2020 with 6557 new daily cases and then a decreasing trend up to 280 as at 8 June. This turnaround can be explained by the application of national lockdown starting from 9 March and by the following 14 days of incubation of infection.Profiles of subjects at major risk of poor prognosis and death for COVID-19 are elderly (mean age of 80 years) and with three or more comorbidities. These characteristics can partially explain the high lethality rate for coronavirus observed in Italy, which is the European country with the highest share of elderly. In addition, other possible explanations of this high lethality are differences in testing policies among countries that influence the number of asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic patients diagnosed as coronavirus positive, together with differences in definition and in the way of recording deaths for coronavirus.In the absence of a vaccine, severe nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including national lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and use of facial masks, have been applied with success to reduce the virus spread and the burden on the National Health System. In addition to these stringent containment measures to fight the pandemic, other policies have been adopted searching to ensure economic sustainability, social safety, and stability.Conclusion: Italy was the first Western country with a wide spread of COVID-19, but it was the first one to introduce containment restrictions, tightening them week by week and subjecting the 60 million people living in the country to unprecedented limitations. Many measurements have been adopted by the government, such as lockdown during the early stages of infection and subsequent social distancing and wearing face masks in public areas. Italians were compliant with all the measures ordered by the government and their discipline reflected in the COVID numbers: the curve of daily new cases after a peak at the end of March now shows a consistent decreasing trend up. In this phase of current reduction of virus diffusion, it is crucial to accommodate the need to continue protecting citizens from the risk of infection with the undeferrable, although gradual, restart of the economic and social system. This new scenario requires an active collaboration among all the actors: statutory bodies, employers, civil society, and the third sector.
978-3-030-85112-5
978-3-030-85115-6
Bezzini, D., Schiavetti, I., Manacorda, T., Franzone, G., Battaglia, M.A. (2021). First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy: Data and Evidence. In A. A. A. Asea, P. Kaur (a cura di), Coronavirus Therapeutics: Clinical management and public health (pp. 91-113). Springer Nature [10.1007/978-3-030-85113-2_6].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11365/1196030