What kind of mistakes are we talking about?
Self-confidence, slowness and errors in diagnosis
A month ago, Italy looked anxiously at China, the epicenter of the pandemic, but the excitement was stopped by the feeling that “we have everything under control.” There were three cases of infection in the first ten days of February; all of them were imported from an Asian country. Patients were isolated in the infectious box of one of the capital’s hospitals.
According to experts, the virus was circulating in Italy for several weeks before. The sick were given an erroneous diagnosis – the flu. Asymptomatic patients who did not show external signs of infection continued to go to work, attend movie theaters, and hang out at parties and in the stands of stadiums, transmitting the virus to others.
“The one we call the first patient was most likely patient number 200, and maybe more,” said virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco.
The number of cases by that time had barely reached 400, and the number of deaths had only just become double-digit. Rumors circulated that the virus has an anti-Asian orientation and that Europeans are not in particular danger, relaxed. Air traffic was not blocked, bars – cafes – restaurants worked as usual. Italy is a southern country, in the budget of which proceeds from holiday tourism occupy a prominent place, and therefore the authorities until the last hoped that it would not be necessary to cover this income item. And about the shutdown of industrial enterprises, there was no discussion at all.
Inability to keep secrets and quarantine too soft
It turned out to calm the nation for an extremely short time: ten days later Dzingaretti had to publish a new video in his Facebook account – already with the message “I got sick.” Official statistics at that time showed 5833 patients and 233 dead. The authorities finally thought about taking urgent tough measures.
But they thought, so to speak, too loudly: information about the plan to quarantine the north of the country, the execution of which was scheduled for March 9, had leaked to the masses a day earlier. Crowds of Milanese who had room to escape from a city preparing to impose a state of siege rushed south. Bringing a virus with you, naturally. So the epidemic easily and simply spread throughout the country.
The quarantine imposed by the Conte government was, to put it mildly, strange. He had nothing to do with the concept of “total isolation”. People continued to go to work, choke on store lines.
The Chinese who arrived two weeks later in Italy to share their experience in fighting the pandemic were extremely surprised: “Do you call this quarantine and dream of defeating the virus? It is necessary as we have: to stop production and completely cease contacts. ”
When the question of whether or not to be Italy rose to its full height, the Prime Minister decided to finally go ask for help from the “autocratic regimes”: China, Cuba, Russia. And they came to the rescue, sending not only the necessary materials and equipment, but also sending teams of their specialists.
The main reason is health sequestration
According to Deputy Minister of Health Sandra Zampa, Italy has only just begun to assess the seriousness of the situation. Before that, she perceived the example of China not as a practical warning, but as a “science fiction film that does not concern us.” Later, when Italy’s health crisis erupted, the rest of Europe and the United States looked at the transalpine country “just like we looked at China.” Now the press is full of explanations, “why the outbreak in Italy turned into a real whirlpool.
Among the reasons, according to Corriere Della Sera, you can find a high component of the elderly population (65+) in Italian society – 26%.
And too many people aged 30 to 49 years living with their parents – 20% (in Germany, where mortality from coronavirus is several times lower than in Italy, this category makes up 10% of the population). And the excessively high average age of patients is 66 years (in Germany – 47). And little attention is paid to testing young people, and due to its high mobility and less susceptibility to the virus, it is precisely its main carrier-distributor.
They do not focus on only one, but the main reason: Italian health care was not ready to meet the epidemic attack fully equipped. There weren’t enough masks, respirators, mechanical ventilation devices, specialized beds in intensive care units and infectious diseases wards (compare: in Germany – 29.2 beds for every hundred thousand people, in Italy – 12.5).
But this situation has developed for one simple reason: the European Union, created for “mutual assistance of the alliance members”, knows only one form of withdrawing countries from the financial crisis – each country receiving a loan is obligated to transfer its life to asceticism. But it was precisely the financial crisis that Italy experienced only a few years ago. As a result, it significantly reduced budget spending. The first to fall traditionally fall into the spheres of healthcare, education and social programs. And if the cutback in financing the latter two is negative, but not critical, then leaving medicine “without pants” (the same masks, anti-infective clothing, etc.) is fraught.