European journalist David Carretta posted a grim video Saturday morning that’s getting a lot of attention on Twitter. It shows the stark comparison between obituary pages in an Italian newspaper on Feb. 9 versus March 13.
As Carretta’s contrast depicts, the daily paper L’Eco di Bergamo had a page and a half of obituaries on Feb. 9, 2020.
On March 13, the obituary section took up 10 pages.
The video was originally posted to Facebook by Giovanni Locatelli on Friday.
The tested and confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus pandemic spreading around the globe — are exploding in Italy. The number of confirmed Italian cases has doubled in the past five days, according to ourworldindata.org, a site maintained by the University of Oxford. The site shows 1,268 reported deaths in Italy, as of March 14. It’s little surprise the obituary pages in L’Eco di Bergamo have grown, accordingly.
Bergamo is located in Northern Italy, some 25 miles east of Milan.
Between 20 to 60 percent of adults globally are expected to become infected with coronavirus, and some 15 percent of cases are severe or critical. It’s people over 60 who are most vulnerable, and this demographic, tragically, looks like it’s filling up the obituaries.
Confirmed cases are rising in the U.S., too. In the last three days, the number of confirmed cases has grown to more than 3,000. But, critically, a woeful lack of testing in the U.S. means that the actual number of infected Americans is far greater than we know. Sunday morning, Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard University, emphasized this point, noting that the true amount of infections is certainly “much higher” than confirmed cases.
While testing lags, everyone globally still has a powerful tool to limit the spread of coronavirus: social distancing. This means staying at least three feet away from people, or avoiding gatherings and crowds.
Many infected folks, however, will likely pass the virus to the more vulnerable among us, because some 80 percent of people have milder symptoms, or no symptoms at all. You can walk around for five days without showing any symptoms at all.
“That person is flying, walking, and interacting,” Mark Cameron, one of the infectious disease scientists who contained the 2003 SARS outbreak in Canada, told Mashable. “They’re spreading the virus without realizing they’re sick.”
“It takes an unprecedented public health response to put a lid on this one,” he added.
Follow coronavirus updates from the World Health Organization here.
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