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A Nation of 60 Million on Lockdown

Should the United States be watching Italy for lessons on how to contain and mitigate the coronavirus?
March 11, 2020, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The whole of Italy has been put on lockdown, as the government desperately tries to gain control of the coronavirus spread," reports Angela Dewan for CNN on Tuesday evening.

Italians are facing a new reality of life with a curfew, travel restrictions and enforced space between people in public places, as the country reports more than 9,000 infections and more than 630 deaths.

That's an increase of 167 deaths since Monday—a 36 percent jump in one day.

The restrictions were announced Monday night by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. In addition to travel restrictions, the measures include "a ban on all public events, the closures of schools and public spaces such as movie theaters, and the suspension of religious services including funerals or weddings," notes an earlier CNN report.

To enforce the movement ban, military police, railway police, and health workers are carrying out checks on transportation sites like highways and train stations.

This lockdown represents the toughest coronavirus response to be implemented outside of mainland China, and comes as the country buckles under the weight of the epidemic.

CNN has a slew of articles on the Italian restrictions posted Tuesday. This video by international correspondent Ben Wedeman accompanies all of them. His newscast mirrors most closely this article by Emma Reynolds and Rob Picheta that focuses particularly on the northern region of the country known as Lombardy

Lombardy President Attilio Fontana said in a statement said the new lockdown measures may not be enough.

"A necessary step but, I fear, still insufficient," Fontana said. "The numbers in Lombardy and in the rest of the country show that the contagion is constantly expanding, with all consequences we know starting with the overload of work in hospitals, in particular in intensive care."

Coronavirus mitigation measures – terminology

CNN favors the use of the word "lockdown", although the article also uses the term "red zone quarantine." Based on this NPR report with Sylvia Poggioliwho is based in Rome, posted Monday (audio available), it would appear that the two terms have similar meanings. Poggioli concludes at the end of the 3-minute audio version that the public is largely supportive of the quarantine measures.

Overall, there's been a huge consensus...that the quarantine is the only way to curb the spread of the virus...Italy could be a laboratory for the future – other countries may have to deal with this in the same way.

 Beniamino Pagliaro, a journalist for national newspaper la Repubblica, who is cited extensively in the source article, conveys a similar message.

Reading news of the UK and United States, what they are doing is what we were doing two weeks ago. The pattern is very, very clear, like you are in denial because you think you can act in another way, but then facts and scientists tell us the only way is to slow down -- you cant stop it -- but slowing down the virus will mean a lot less problems in your hospitals.

Coronavirus update from CDC:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage, "Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.," updated March 10, 2020, shows:

  • Total cases: 647, up from 99 on March 5 [see the base of post]
  • Total deaths: 25, up from 10
  • States reporting cases: 36 (includes District of Columbia), up from 13 on March 5
Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in CNN
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