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Why Italy? The factors behind a coronavirus disaster

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By Dmitry ZAKS

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Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that...

-2 ( +26 / -28 )

Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that

You seem to be trying to beat Akie to the punch, or you didn’t read the article.

8 ( +23 / -15 )

The truth is, it's probably a summary of many factors. Age, demographics of the region, smoking, health issues, health care system, corrupt government, and more. In the end, I doubt anyone can point at one particular factor and definitively say "That's why!" Instead, it'll be like the straws piled on top of the camel's back. Sure, there was that one straw that broke it's back, but reality is it's the combined weight of all the other straws that caused the issue.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

The grim reality learned across Italy's devastated north is that diseases start spreading much faster once the healthcare system reaches its saturation point.

Doctors have to start making life and death decisions about whom they help first -- and why -- when they run out of equipment such as respirators and even beds.

I see it as a big factor to the dire consequences with high casualty (other than age of patients).

The most critical incident is that clusters took form at local hospitals among not only patients but also medical officials. That completely paralyzed the entire healthcare service operations, leaving many patients untreated only to die. Although it may sound a bit ironic, in battling infectious diseases, medical staff must be first and foremost protected above any other persons concerned.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@kurisupisu

Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that...

It does not matter so much. Even assuming that all Chinese tourists are infected, 10 x difference in the number of Chinese tourists between 2 countries would be offset just in a week, because of the exponential growth of the CV infection. As the article wrote, Spain, France, and Germany will follow Italy in a week. The effect of the number of tourist is just delay the spread by a few weeks. This is why travel restriction is ineffective.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

What's also try is that men have a much higher mortality from Covid-19 than women.

The vast majority of fatalities are elderly men.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Italy is not an exception, but a representative norm. It is the reality. Most of countries will follow the trajectory of Italy in a few weeks, even faster in some countries.

https://www.statista.com/chart/21112/covid-19-growth-curve-selected-countries/

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/19/world/coronavirus-flatten-the-curve-countries.html

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Figures released Friday showed the age of Italians dying of COVID-19 averaging out at 78.5. Almost 99 percent of them were also suffering from at least one pre-existing condition or ailment.

I would imagine there are very few 78 year olds that don' have at least one pre-existing condition or ailment. Virtually all of them do

Other causes in Italy? They like big family gatherings with hugs, kisses on the cheek and similar...not a stand-offish culture unlike some countries I can think of.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

At least 12 doctors have died from the virus. With family in Roma and Milan makes its a bit scary. Hope it peaks soon. People entertaining each other from their balconies shows the Italian spirit not to be overcome by the pandemic. No panic buying of the essential items.

The medical services are at 200%. There's is no EU policy for dealing with pandemics leaving each country to deal with on their own.

Italian doctors living in the UK went back home to help with the pandemic.

Many Italians have their elderly parents living with them. Always large family gatherings.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that.

I'm not sure that the Northern regions have more tourists, but they definitely do have more investment from the Chinese Silk Road Initiative, and coincidentally Iran and Italy are two of the major anchor countries in Europe and the Middle East. The pollution in both is also very bad in both (worse than Spain), although Iran is a much younger population with fewer smokers....the coronavirus's make up is one thing but understanding all the ways it is moving through affected populations is going to take a lot longer.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

This article while explaining why Italy has had such a high number of deaths leaves the reader wondering why Japan, a country with even more elderly, with limited testing and God knows is crowded and close quartered as hell has not produced more COVID19 related deaths. And no, an autopsy is not required to determine if a patient who has died from pneumonia had COVID19.

Unless a nation can balance testing with available medical resources, this Italy scenario will be repeated. Once the medical system is overwhelmed the battle is lost.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

From what I've read and choose to believe the virus did start in China. Its rapid spread to Italy and elsewhere has been the result of a number of factors. Its spread needs to be looked at as a dynamic, one made up of numerous elements.

But my Occam's Razor view is government's - worldwide - lack of preparedness and inaction have allowed it to become the monster it now is.

My explanation is government's have made public health a low priority for too long.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Germany has 25,000 ICU with sophisticated respiratory support systems, Italy 5000.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

CNN reporters met their Mayors and the other in charges complaining their citizens carried on doing mass gatherings and parties..As such social factor looks like giving power multiplication to the numbers of the victims subject to infection, basicly.

Then after wards that social factor ,along the same causes, helped to transmit the virus to their vulnerable and aged patiants....

To start analysing the problem from the roots is totaly not as working on the consequences or the announced outcomes..

You have to figure out the bigger number represents those were in good health infected with a low class of that virus but still transmiting it...

Such factor repreented by the groups refused lockdown and following WHO instructions but transmiting such deseases freely is the main reseon#

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why Italy?

Because Milan has a major international airport, and was an entry point for Chinese tourists en route to Venice.

Once virus established, transmission was simple. An aged population, one that kisses hello and generally dirty Italian cities did the rest.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

The number of Chinese living in Italy is only 0.3% of the total population. They are mostly not people travelling between China and Italy.

Most major cities have China Towns but those are not infecting those communities.

Chinese people live in all first world countries and many others too.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Italian cultural norms of kissing on cheeks and close contact could be an answer.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Western governments were too slow accepting that the virus would become a pandemic.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The numbers of Chinese tourists to Japan are much higher than any European country.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

The sad fact is.... everybody here is just guessing. None of theories presented so far hold up to scrutiny. For very example (lots of Chinese tourists, lack of testing, dirty cities, etc.) there are counterexamples. Some countries are hit hard, while others seem to get by.

So this "you better do as we say or we will be the next Italy" just doesn't hold water. Not to diminish the risk - we should take it seriously. But there is clearly much going on here that nobody understands yet. Until it's better understood, schools should remain closed and large unnecessary gatherings should be avoided.

All this reminds me of when people hear someone they know has gotten cancer. They are always eager to find "reasons" that will make them feel safe. "Oh, he smoked. He ate too much fatty food. He never exercised...." Fact is, we just don't know. Any country could be the next Italy, for reasons we don't understand. Likewise, many countries will not get hit hard. For reasons we don't understand.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I don't want to overstate the impact of Chinese people on the spread of Covid-19, but with Italy people here are overlooking something interesting: The very large number of Chinese who work in the country's garment and designer bags industry. The situation reached the point where a mid-size Italian city like Prato a few years ago had around 40,000 Chinese residents out of a population of 180,000. That's more than 20 percent of the population. How many such Chinese workers flew into Italy from a short trip home following the end of the Lunar New Year in January?

But that alone doesn't explain why the situation spiraled out of control in Italy after that.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Yet Japan's median age of 47.3 makes it an even older nation than Italy -- and it has just 35 officially registered deaths.

So age is clearly not the only factor.

Right on!!!

Number of Chinese tourists, quality of healthcare, preparedness all are contributing factors, single one cannot be blamed.

Hoping that this is the peak and we see numbers fall from now on....

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Social distancing could be a key factor that differentiates, Italy from Japan.

Japan culturally does not, outside family life, have close physical social contact.

A polite bow, not the "La bise" or the Italian. 'il bacetto'......A kiss that can kill....

Italy has another underlining dilemma, catastrophic economic collapse.......

Italy asks for help from EU crisis fund as death toll spikes......

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/20/italy-conte-calls-for-eu-crisis-fund-as-coronavirus-death-toll-rises.html

Coronavirus: What is social distancing?

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/health-51966112/coronavirus-what-is-social-distancing

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am Italian and I have to say that many comments are not correct and even superficial,and I want to add some data. First of all we have many contacts with China. We have in the European Union, the largest legal and illegal Chinese population in the EU (check it on Wikipedia) and we have many many Italian businessmen visiting China. Italy was the first country in EU to be part of the "Silk road initiative". Many Italians love China and we have a long history of relationship with China, think to Marco Polo (Google it if you do not know that).We are a very warm country, like Spain, and we love gatherings, meeting friends and family sport events, going to bars and sport events: actually most of the population did not realize the huge danger that was coming: the beaches and mountains were really crowded a few weeks ago. For this the virus spead.They just wanted to enjoy life like it happened in Spain. Before of being judgemental try to know Italians if you cannot visit the country. I had some Japanese friends and I know Japan better that you know Italy. Last but not least we have a wonderful healthcare system and for that Italians are the oldest in the world after Japan: think to that. We have wonderful food, design, architecture and art museums and we can enjoy life (it is the "Italian way"). One cannot say the same of many other countries in the world!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

It looks like a few or more of Chinese tourists just don't give a damn when it comes to passing on the Coronavirus. Maybe that's why the Chinese govt. clamped down on the populace there with an iron fist. Case in point, one of the earliest Coronavirus cases in Japan was a Chinese national who had a fever in China on Jan. 3rd and just three days later was in Japan on Jan. 6th testing positive for the Coronavirus. Who does that!? Also heard that there were a lot of Chinese nationals living in N. Italy working at the luxury brand companies working for low wages producing goods for the Chinese market.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

First, Italy was part of new CCP silk road initiative and Chinese traffic were there. Second, many Chinese tourists including some from Wuhan visiting Italy during Chinese New Year. CCP use WHO to claim that they doing good job, but actually many Chinese traveled to Europe, especially Italy. If CCP didn't silenced the dead doctor whistle blower and covered up; they should prevent the EXPORTING of the virus to many places. Unless the CCP and other nations come to term of the origin and cause of this pandamic; it will happen again. So, the world must hold CCP accountable for this suffering.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

We are fighting against the coronavirus. Thing is we lose LITTLE or we lose BIG whatever. Humans never win. Italy use/used as many test kits as possible for as many mild symptom people as possible, but not enough beds and medical equipments for them. As a result most people were infected each other at hospitals. All doctors are exhausted and so many patients die. So many mild symptom people should not have come to hospitals in the first place and they took beds from serious symptom patients who are supposed to have first.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The Brighton business has Italian employees that have lost family members to this pandemic. They have not be able to attend the funerals.

My own UK family will soon experience severe financial hardship. I have made arrangements to send a large proportion of my salary, and bonuses to help relieve the burden. It will not be sufficient to close the gap.

Kochi, has not noticeably been affected by this pandemic. 

SJ, I am at a loss to understand the origins, and how this pathogen move so swiftly through communities globally and not others..........

From the Wall Street Journal,

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-epidemic-draws-scrutiny-to-labs-handling-deadly-pathogens-11583349777

The release of pathogenic microorganisms from high-containment laboratories, such as the pandemic CoV-19, seems more likely in countries without current, historically solidified standards or legislation,” says Thomas Binz, who leads biosafety efforts at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health.  

let me be clear, I am not suggesting that the Government or People of China are in any way directly responsible for this pandemic.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that.

Lots of countries have a lot of Chinese tourists. This alone doesn't explain it, so it really isn't that simple

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Italy has had a high proportion of Chinese tourists visiting that have passed on infections to the Italians-simple as that...

Yep..

https://summit.news/2020/03/20/italian-virologist-says-concerns-over-racism-crippled-italys-coronavirus-response/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Chip Star

Maybe you aren’t aware of the high number of Chinese visiting Italy where the outbreak occurred.

———- end——-

To blame the corona virus outbreaks in Italy on an Italian couple is inaccurate.

However, what of the sudden and large number of cases in Iran?

We won’t see a. Article trying to explain that and I wonder why not?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The question should be "Why Italy second?" ( China was first)

which will soon be followed by "Why __ third?" ( insert any country including Japan later) and so on

Anyone else see the latest govt data that Osaka governor received to expect large increase in next two weeks with sudden shutdowns to follow?

Meanwhile 50,000 Lemmings queued for hours to jump over the cliff, I mean see the Olympic torch.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Honestly I flew back to Japan from Italy last week and you can say whatever you want but the truth is:

1) Italian population is older than basically any other country in the world (excluding Japan)

2) the north was hit more than the south because it is better connected and has a lower density of population

3) comparing Italy to Germany by number of ICU rooms does not make sense because Germany is well above the European average by that standard and has a larger population than Italy. It makes more sense to compare the number of ICU rooms per 100000 people and you will realize that Italy is well ahead of France, UK, Spain and the Netherlands by that standard (Germany is still in a better position).

4) the way deaths are counted and reported is not universal, each country decides how and which words to use to report it

5) Italy is actually taking steps to fight the virus by checking passengers temperature all over the airports. After arriving in japan from a very high risk country (as I said at the beginning of the post, I was flying back from Italy to Japan last week) nobody checked my temperature whatsoever. Is this panacea Japan is using to fight the epidemic? Ignoring it?

God, I love this country, but I wish the government put people ahead of economy.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Most media wants to push that narrative that one man who visited China somehow spread it to everyone in Italy. Here is the reality:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/international/covid-19-did-you-know-about-italys-china-connection/videoshow/74694266.cms

If there is one country that has suffered the most due to COVID-19 beyond China, it has to be the European country of Italy. But what is the connection between Italy and the novel coronavirus considering the deadly virus is reported to have originated from China? The answer is fashionably simple. The northern part of Italy has been a traditionally prosperous region due to the flourishing fashion and garment industry. Most of the big global brands like Gucci and Prada have their base in this region. With China offering one of the cheapest manufacturing options in the world, it came as little surprise that most of these fashion brands were working with China. A large number of these Italian fashion and garment houses had outsourced their manufacturing to Chinese labour, specifically in Wuhan. Italy also has direct flights from Wuhan and reports suggest over 100,000 Chinese citizens were working in Italian factories. Chinese made a slow and steady move into Italy and many Italian fashion firms are now owned by them as well. As per a news report, there are more than 300,000 Chinese and over 90% of them work in the Italian garment industry. As per reports, there are thousands of small companies that are active in exports. This region is also very interconnected as well.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@therogou

please, when you post links to articles, place some reputable newspaper, not that piece of garbage.

Rome had direct flights to Wuhan and Rome has much more Chinese tourists than Milan, nevertheless it has not become a hotspot for the virus yet. How does one explain that with the article’s narrative?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Vincenzo Germanicus Apuliensis Sansarella has the most informative post but what he fails to mention is the dirty little secret that all those "made in Italy" hand bags and fashion items people overpay for are mostly made by the 300,000 Chinese workers slaving away in pretty poor working conditions in that industrial area of Italy.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

In 2018 there were 2 million Chinese tourists to Italy. In 2019, 710,000 Chinese tourists to Japan. 2018, 400,000 Chinese tourist to the UK.

Japan has the largest Chinese community, 750,000. Italy 195,000 (0.3%). UK 455,000 (0.7%).

itsonlyrocknroll

My own UK family will soon experience severe financial hardship. I have made arrangements to send a large proportion of my salary, and bonuses to help relieve the burden. It will not be sufficient to close the gap.

You are a good son to your family.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@titin

please, when you post links to articles, place some reputable newspaper, not that piece of garbage.

Rome had direct flights to Wuhan and Rome has much more Chinese tourists than Milan, nevertheless it has not become a hotspot for the virus yet. How does one explain that with the article’s narrative?

The whole point is that the "reputable" newspapers haven't been reporting this. And If you read the article, you'd know it isn't talking about tourists, but people that live and work in Italy so that they can slap a "Made in Italy" label on their products.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It looks like a few or more of Chinese tourists just don't give a damn when it comes to passing on the Coronavirus. Maybe that's why the Chinese govt. clamped down on the populace there with an iron fist.

Yeh, the tourists are the bad guys, but the government who covered it up for 2 months are the heroes....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Italy on Saturday reported 793 new coronavirus deaths, Yet Japan's median age of 47.3 makes it an even older nation than Italy -- and it has just 35 officially registered deaths.

Question. Why does Japan only 35 -total deaths- and Italy have 793-in one day-.?

Japan's system is run by bureaucrats not specialist. Right? Japan does not have a CDC right? Japan is run by old men. right? Japan is not testing enough. right?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@Caliboy

Italy on Saturday reported 793 new coronavirus deaths, Yet Japan's median age of 47.3 makes it an even older nation than Italy -- and it has just 35 officially registered deaths.

Yes. I agree. The ultimate reason is the traditional bureaucratic selfishness of Japan: the Japan Medical Association (Nihon Ishi Kai, JMA). The JMA actually monopolies the Japanese medical industry. The JMA considers that coronavirus mass testing would require a lot of sacrifice of Japanese doctors, but is not profitable at all (virtually no money to doctors). Some doctors from the JMA say mass test is not useful in preventing the spread disease, because they know very well that they will be overwhelmed by the tests, but without any profit. It is all about money. The propaganda of the JMA has been successful in brainwashing naive Japanese. The JMA and the NIID do not care of Japanese, but only themselves. This is why the number of test and death is so low but the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, under influence of the NIID and the JMA, seemingly tries to suppress it. Remember that this kind of bureaucratic selfishness once started the Pacific war (WWII), destroying the entire Japan. Let's see what the SARS-CoV-2 strain combined with the JMA under another bureaucratic regime of the LDP will do.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

From today's Telegraph (UK): "The way in which we {Italian hospitals} code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus," according to Prof. Ricciardi. 'On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity - many had two or three,' he says."

Take it for what it is worth. Seems the simplest explanation.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

The contagion is dramatic in Italy due to the incompetence and stupidity of the Italian government which has not used and still does not use the infrared body thermometer like all Asian countries to check the population in gathering places, such as hospital entrances and other public places , using the army now will only further increase coronary artery propagation and bring down the entire economy. All the actions of the Italian government are completely wrong and it is now too late to remedy and will only get worse, a pity for this beautiful country that will be completely ruined economically with thousands of deaths that could be saved.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I personally know a group of more than 20 doctors who I sometimes works for. Doctors in hospitals all receive monthly salaries depending on age, experience, number of years. It isn't based on the number of patients they see or the type of patient. The hospitals make profits but not the doctors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The headline is bait-and-switch, because the article merely hints at possible factors behind the spread of Covid-19 in Italy. The article is actually very good though and warns against blaming Italy for any particular failings. It just says other countries' turns will probably come.

Since this is a Japan-centered site, the big question is what is actually going on in Japan. With the lack of testing, no-one really knows. So long as the Olympics remains in place, it is all too easy to suspect the government's actions as being motivated by that, not what is best for the general public.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan and Italy, two countries with the oldest populations but with contrasting conditions that seem to be polar opposites of the spectrum.

One answer that could explain both conditions is social factors. One culture has behaviors and practices that encouraged the spread of the virus and on has behaviors and practices that discouraged it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is because nobody took the outbreak seriously in the beginning. The same thing is happening in Australia right now.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

titin

@therogou

please, when you post links to articles, place some reputable newspaper, not that piece of garbage.

Err, what? The Times of India is a piece of garbage? Because the article points out some facts that you do not like? Is the situation of the luxury brand industry mentioned in the article NOT true?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm curious too why it is a piece of garbage. And seems funny to trash another paper from the comment section of JT =)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Some scientists think that it could really have been almost any other country after China.

That's what I would have thought. Or perhaps I was just imagining all those mainland Chinese tourists in Japan these past few years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Compare Japan - in public little displays of affection, kissing, hugging, shaking hands, almost no skinship; with Italian warmth and physical familiarity, embracing, kissing, etc..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The way of reporting deaths must certainly be a contributing factor.

One aspect that has not been discussed here yet is the Italian mistrust of government and authority. For a long time people laughingly ignored the warnings, until suddenly it became too serious to ignore, and by then tragedy was already striking. Even face masks, which everyone pooh-poohed, suddenly became fashionable.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Compare Japan - in public little displays of affection, kissing, hugging, shaking hands, almost no skinship; with Italian warmth and physical familiarity, embracing, kissing, etc..

S.Korea is similar to Japan as regards what you asserted yet the infection is about 7.5 times that of Japan. The problem is not the number of infections but early preparation and prevention of a spike of serious cases.

A spike in serious cases will overwhelm even the best prepared medical system.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Different strains of COVID19

Japan has more visitors from China and Korea than Italy. The closing down of borders also came much later. Japan like Italy also has an aging society but the elderly don’t congregate and many live isolated to begin with. China had holidays in the new year where family, relatives, and friends gathered. This could have caused the spike. I don’t know if Italy not being isolated is the reason for 800 deaths in one day. Can we simply attribute that hugging and kissing? It may be so, but the assumption is that the virus is of one kind and stays the same without mutating. That is unwarranted.

Academic research papers show the United States has five subspecies of covid-19. It also has a patent on the coronavirus. The papers that discuss coronavirus are dated way before December 2019, some even decades. Humans have been researching the coronavirus. In terms of understanding, we seem only to be in the early stages of Marie Curie and isolating radioactive isotopes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

'On re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus,  

Wouldnt it be a good idea then to revise down w.h.o, governmental and media data?

Irrespective of peoples opinions on the risk of coronavirus, I think everyone would agree that unnecessary panic is counterproductive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Compare Japan - in public little displays of affection, kissing, hugging, shaking hands, almost no skinship; with Italian warmth and physical familiarity, embracing, kissing, etc.

If this is really a factor, then consider which age group in Japan does has massive warmth and physical familiarity with others: small children with their parents/ grandparents/ professional carers. So we should expect, if they were tested, large numbers of (possibly asymptomatic) Coronavirus positive small children, and a spike in sick adults who have had contact with them. But because of the (non) testing regime, dont expect any hard data to support this idea any time soon.

In the meantime, lets be cautious and not use the past tense to discuss any countrys case: this outbreak is not over, anywhere, any time soon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hi zichi, many thanks for the sentiment.

As a daughter, I hope the course of this pandemic changes course.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The flu’s mortality rate of .1% is accurate only if it is based on the number of estimated cases. Because the WHO calibrates the mortality rate for COVID-19 solely on the basis of confirmed cases—it doesn’t even try to supply an estimated number of undiagnosed or suspected cases of this coronavirus—it is significantly higher than that of the flu.

Yet if the Experts at the WHO were interested in just the most rudimentary analogical reasoning, they would have figured out this comparison is worthless because the two things being compared are incomparable. Now, when the mortality rate of the seasonal flu is grounded in confirmed cases, then its .1% mortality rate jumps to 10%! This makes it vastly more deadly than the thing that has brought the whole world to a grinding halt.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think main reason is the incompetence and uselessness of the Italian government. They could close the country about two months ago and put everyone on lockdown, especially knowing the specifics of the country... All world's governments demonstrated an elementary incompetence by not closing and puting the countries on lockdown right away two months ago... We must elect smart politicians in our governments if we want smart competent decisions especially in such critical situations like we got now... We have way too many incompetent politicians running our lives... I hope the 7.7 billion people in the world will start using their brains when electing governments, and not other parts of the body... We have lots of smart people around, why we elect morons? Get rid of useless incompetent politicians, elect smart ones!!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This Time article goes into much more detail.

https://time.com/5799586/italy-coronavirus-outbreak/

1) Covid-19 hit Northern Italy at exactly the same time as the normal winter 'flu and cold season. Its arrival was masked by this event, and those infected were not diagnosed as quickly as they should have been. It then had the opportunity to get a good foothold in the hospitals and community before it was noticed.

2) As touched on, Italy has a very elderly population. 99% of the fatalities had at least one or more pre-existing health condition.

3) The healthcare systems is suffering from years of under investment.

4) Respiratory illnesses such as Covid-19, SARS and MERS have *STRONGLY* been linked to poor air quality. Northern Italy has 25 of the 100 most polluted cities in Europe.

5) Close to 24% of Italians smoke. This at the top end of the scale when compared to the averages in other European countries which vary from 8% (Sweden)-27% (Romania and Bulgaria).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Time article is, in fact, relevant. Thank you for posting @InspectorGadget.

Also, a few days ago a CNN article showed a comparison between Italy, China and South Korea.

Cannot find the article but it was on top of the news.

Keys are:

1) Air quality

2) Age

3) Percentage of smoking population.

Also, as for the deaths, as I have already stated, each country uses different policies when counting.

For example, Italy classifies as deaths by Coronavirus all people affected by coronavirus who passed away (comorbidities included). Italy is also conducting autopsies to ascertain the cause of death.

Germany is a more conservative in the counting, which explains the huge discrepancy.

Hugging and all does not really factor in though. Tokyo's subway is packed all the time and has been so for decades. If that was the reason, Japan would have a much higher number of infections considering that 3.5 million people commute through Shinjuku Station on a daily bases.

Bottom line is: if you do not test you do not have cases.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@titin you should be thankful that you have a safe habor, and wish your own country had cared it's people more than Chinese money.

Anyway please do your part in this crisis and self isolation as "expected".

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@drlucifer S Korea was a special case. It was deliberately spread by a cult nut job. Frankly im not surprised at all, there are so many underground cults in that country. It's just bound to happen when the "time has come"

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Seth, are you defending the indefensible? It does not matter whether I am Italian or not. I pay taxes in Japan and I support, through my payments, the health care for a lot of people in this country. So who should I be thankful to and for what, exactly?

Self-isolation? When I entered Japan had no rules about that. Being cautious, I keep checking my temperature three times a day and wear mask whenever I am not at home.

I would like to remind you that the 1000 cases in Japan are community-spread, not imported from abroad. There is a huge difference.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And by the way, who is pulling out this story of the Chinese money? Because Japan has far more Chinese workers than Italy. If you want to spread false info, it is better to chose something that does not show up on as first or second result on Google. Cheers mate!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Blaming the coronavirus outbreak on two Chinese tourists is very inaccurate. We need to look at the bigger picture. There are, of course, many factors which we should consider. In Italy they are still trying to trace 'patient zero' which will never be possible. In my opinion, there could have more than 100 'patient zeros'. When Italy banned all direct flights to China during the epidemic, many Chinese people and Italian businessmen arrived through different routes after the Chinese new year. These people were NOT quarantined nor asked to self-isolate. There is a big Chinese community in Italy (legal or illegal) and they run coffee bars, restaurants, nail and massage salons, etc from north to south... you name it. As one reader wrote about a city called Prato (near Florence) where the percentage is 40%. The worst hit areas are NOT tourist destinations (Bergamo, Brescia, Lodi, Cremona) and therefore the virus could have spread through these hotbeds. But the big blame goes to the Chinese authorities for their lies, cover ups and lack of transparency regarding the outbreak. The World Health Organisation should be ashamed for their support for China without even sending a fact-finding mission to assess the true scale of epidemic. They praised China instead. The head of the WHO should RESIGN and we should all have the right to question his wealth and bank accounts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No reason at all," Yascha Mounk of Johns Hopkins University told Canada's CBC television.

anytime an "expert" comments about something, I take a step back and look at it, because allot of them say a whole lot about things, they usually dont know anything about.

Of course there are factors that count, like the close contact Italian culture and, having worked with Italians, I can say there are things that they are good at, but allot of other areas that are important, where they drop off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, the fact that Italian politicians urged people to prove that they are not racist, probably did not exactly help.

Apparently, being accused of racism is worse than Corona:

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/mayor-florence-encouraged-italians-hug-chinese-pandemic-hit

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What I say IS NOT against any community, religion, ethnicity. I just want to look at facts:

Italy has a BIG chinese community == 300.000+ ; mostly short-term settlers (year to year working permits. It means perpetual exchanges).

Many direct flights from northern Italy to Wuhan.

Europe's Favourite destination for Chinese poeple.

Timing - High tourism activities (New Year in China - Venice Carnaval)

Timing : Due to Chinese New Year == Intense family visits (both directions)

Cultural and interpersonal habits : Warmth and physical familiarity, embracing, kissing, ...

Stupidity of some wishfull thinkers and SJW == "Free hugs to Chinese"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o_uXF9B4KI

My thoughs go to all victims and relatives of that virus, regardless of their origins and nationalities. But it will be necessary to investigate any kind of political responsabilities, and keep these people accountable.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think allot of it has to do with immunity. I had colds etc before coming to Japan, but once I got the flu in Japan I was down for a week. Some nasty strains here; some attack the joints, throat, depends on season. I think those people in other countries who have never been exposed to such a mutated virus and have zero immunity. Im not a medical professional, but thats my suspicion.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Apparently Italy’s national health care system is a major reason why they are failing to adequately deal with this health crisis. That and the high number of Chinese tourists.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Italy unlike some over foreign governments that wanted to save face went through this situation seriously and tested many people and provided help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Latest breakdown from the Lombardy that I saw looks like this.

Corona deaths:

age group 0-29: 0 (zero)

age group 30-39: 12

age group 40-49: 41

age group 50-59: 168

age group 60-69: 541

age group 70-79: 1768

age group 80-89: 2023

age group over 89: 1

So this thing rampages through the elderly population like a wildfire, but leaves the younger segments pretty much untouched. I think politicians should take that in account when introducing radical quarantene measures.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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