Sumary of Italy’s staggering virus toll poses uncomfortable questions:
- ROME (AP) — Italy could soon reclaim a record that nobody wants — the most coronavirus deaths in Europe — after the health care system again failed to protect the elderly and the government delayed imposing new restrictions..
- Italy was the first country in the West to be slammed by COVID-19 and, after suffering a huge wave of death in spring, brought infections under control..
- Italy then had the benefit of time and experience heading into the fall resurgence because it trailed Spain, France and Germany in recording big new clusters of infections..
- Guido Rasi, former executive director of the European Pharmaceutical Agency, told state TV after Italy reported a pandemic-high record of 993 deaths in one day..
- Italy added another 761 victims Friday, bringing its official total to 63,387, just shy of Britain Europe-leading 63,603 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University..
- Italy has the world second-oldest population after Japan, and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the virus..
- In addition, 65% of Italy COVID-19 dead had three or more other health problems before they tested positive, such as hypertension or diabetes, according to Italy Superior Institute of Health..
- Germany has a similarly old demographic and yet its death toll is one-third of Italy despite its larger population of 83 million..
- Germany recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus victims Friday — 598 — but has only 21,000 dead overall..
- Analysts point to Germany long-term higher per-capita spending on health care, which has resulted in greater ICU capacity, better testing and tracing capabilities and higher ratios of doctors and nurses to the population..
- said Matteo Villa, research fellow at the Institute for International Political Studies, a Milan-based think tank..
- Italy, he said, waited too long after infections started ticking up in September and October to impose restrictions and didn’t reinforce its medical system sufficiently during the summertime lull..
- “And if you look at a comparable population with similar demographics, which is Germany, Italy did a lot worse.”.
- Doctors have blamed systemic problems with Italy health care system, especially in hardest-hit Lombardy, for failing to respond adequately..
- Brain drain and bureaucratic obstacles have resulted in fewer doctors going into practice, while general practitioners have complained of a lack of support despite being the backbone of the system..
- And in recent weeks, investigative news reports have noted that Italy hadn’t updated its influenza pandemic preparedness plan since 2006 — which could help explain its critical shortage of protective equipment early on and its chaotic initial response to the pandemic…