The coronavirus has been relatively tame as of late in the Italian peninsula, and despite a recent trend of growth among cases, hospitals and people have both remained in good order. While an all time high of Italians have been enjoying the summer sun, an estimated 75% drop in foreign tourists has certainly hurt many local businesses in the tourism industry. This begs the question of how the recent upward trend of cases has occurred.

Of all the recent cases detected in Italy, 71.7% were developed from Italian transmission, while the remaining 28.3 came from foreigners entering Italy, indicating that the recent spike isn’t directly correlated to foreigners.

It turns out most recent cases of Covid-19 have come from the younger Italian population, with an average age of 30 among those diagnosed. It is well known that healthy young people are not as affected as their sicker or older counterparts (since the age among deceased coronavirus patients is 80 and with an average of 3.4 pre-existing conditions), and the vast majority of these new cases have been asymptomatic, which combined with the organised hospitals explains the low mortality rate. It is thought that with the relaxing of outdoor regulations, the opening of public spaces, bars clubs and other known exposure risks which young people tend to enjoy the most, the transmission has fallen predominantly onto them.

Furthermore the Italian ministry of Health states the current rate of transmission (Rt) was estimated at about 4.1-3.7 at the beginning of the pandemic, but since then; protection measures, screening, monitoring of asymptomatic cases and foreigners, testing, and sanitation have dropped that figure down to Rt 0.83 with a variation of 0.67-1.06 in mid August (it is expected that a disease above the Rt of 1 can remain in the local population while below a figure of 1 will eventually stop being transmitted.

What can we expect for Autumn?

People tend to transmit flu-like diseases to one another more frequently in colder seasons, so local spread, particularly in working and family environments may see an increase, while spread due to tourism, vacations and socialising are expected to decrease, though it is possible that bars, clubs and restaurants may facilitate higher transmission among the younger population, seeing a growth in the current model we have now, where the younger members of society are experiencing lighter symptoms or none at all. If our screening measures remain as vigilant as they have been so far, this should continue to stabilise the rate of transmission.

What can you do to keep yourself and your family safe?

It seems that the responsibility falls upon the actions of the younger population, frequenting social places should be kept to a minimum when you live with older people or visit/work with the elderly, while the obvious maintenance of a high standard of sanitation is recommended, and with the price reduction on face masks, the return of sufficient supplies of alcohol and other previously scarce hygiene products, that should be manageable. No one wants a return of quarantine measures, and thankfully, if everyone does their part, that doesn’t seem like a reality for the near future.

How does Italy compare with elsewhere in the world?

As you may know, the United States is suffering under a widespread transmission of coronavirus, with many refusing to cooperate with sanitary measures. A proportionate explosion is occurring in nations such as Brazil and India, countries with many developing environments where sanitation and monitoring are difficult. Italy, having been one of the earliest explosions of the global outbreak, has seemingly turned itself around, while some other European states like France and Spain seem to be harder hit during this “second wave”. Some countries are experiencing similar if not slightly better transmission rates than Italy, like Germany, who has a similar number of new cases but a larger population, with much less overall deaths recorded than in Italy.

While it’s still too early to call Italy a success story yet, we can certainly say that we are maintaining a flat curve and keeping our vulnerable safer than before.

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