Italy tops Europe in COVID-19 death toll
Italy on Sunday eclipsed Britain to become the nation with the worst official coronavirus death toll in Europe.
Italy, where the continent’s pandemic began, registered 484 COVID-19 deaths in one day, one of its lowest one-day death counts in about a month. Still, those latest deaths pushed Italy’s official toll up to 64,520, while Britain’s stood at 64,267, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Both numbers understate the true toll of the pandemic.
Counting criteria differ in the two countries, and many coronavirus deaths, especially early in the pandemic, are believed to have gone undetected, including those of elderly people in nursing homes who were not tested for COVID-19.
Among the reasons cited for Italy’s high death toll was that it was the first country in Europe to be slammed in the pandemic, leaving health staff to grapple with a largely unknown virus. Italy also has a lower ratio of medical staff to patients compared to other European nations.
Germany, a nation much bigger than Italy, has a death toll one-third of Italy’s.
A little more than half of Italy’s known COVID-19 deaths were registered in the first surge.
On Sunday, Italy reported another 17,938 coronavirus infections to raise its official tally to 1.84 million.
Largely heeding the advice of medical experts, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has tightened travel rules for the period straddling Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany Day holidays.
From December 21 to January 6, people in Italy won’t be able to travel between regions except for work or urgent reasons.