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A M Reid
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Italy has one of the highest coronavirus death tolls, with approximately 19,000 deaths. They also have the third-most confirmed COVID-19 cases, with only the United States and Spain having more cases. However, after what has been a long period of lockdown and social isolation, the daily number of new coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations has finally begun to show signs of declining.
Nevertheless, Italy has still extended its nationwide lockdown until May 3, although, some closed businesses, such as bookstores and baby clothes shops, could potentially be re-opening as soon as next week on a trial basis.
“There are clear indications that the restrictive measures are bearing fruit,” said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at a news conference regarding the lock down extension. “If we yield now we would risk, as our experts tell us, losing all the positive results we have achieved so far.”
On Saturday, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio addressed the declines in a video for Fox News.
“Italy has been the first European country to be hit by the coronavirus in such a devastating way. As a country, we have responded with determination to the health emergency. We have imposed restrictive measures of social distancing, and we are finally beginning to see some positive results in terms of decrease of the contagion,” Di Maio stated.
He then thanked the United States and U.S. citizens for all their support.
“Italy could not have made it alone,” Di Maio said. “International solidarity from our friends and partners around the world was key to withstand the hardest part of the crisis. The United States were second to none. The generosity of the American people and of the American government was remarkable, as proven by the many donations that we have received, including the field hospital in Cremona.”
The 68-bed field hospital was donated by the U.S. non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse, and was airlifted to Cremona, a city in the Lombardy region, on Mar. 17. The field hospital was set up quickly and ready for use a few days later.
At the field hospital’s opening, Health and Welfare Minister for the Lombardy region, Giulio Gallera, said “Lombardy is leaving a dark period. You are a bright light—the first bright light in our dark sky.”
Lombardy is the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy, having the highest amount of cases out of all the regions.
On Friday, after Italy requested more aid from the United States, President Donald Trump pledged to further support Italy in their fight against coronavirus in a presidential memorandum. The aid includes measures such as giving more vital medical and equipment supplies, and identifying “public international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including faith-based organizations, that are positioned to support Italy.”
The U.S. military personnel in Italy will also assist in a variety of ways like “providing telemedicine services to Italian hospitals,” transporting supplies, and facilitating the “set-up of field hospitals.”
In the Fox video, Di Maio went on to “warmly thank President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (for) their true friendship.”
“Now the United States are going through the hardest part of the epidemic. But I am sure that you will make it through. We will defeat the virus and we will be back closer and stronger than before. Italy and Italian people are with you,” Di Maio added.
The United States now has the most confirmed cases and deaths in the world, with more than half a million cases and 20,000 deaths. Today, the United States reported an additional 2,100 coronavirus fatalities, making it the deadliest single day increase so far.
Despite this overall increase, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that New York was starting to experience a decline in daily coronavirus fatalities and hospitalizations. However, he emphasized he is “cautiously optimistic” and urged New York citizens to keep following the lock down guidelines.
“New York is flattening the curve, but we need to stay the course,” Cuomo said. “All the numbers are on the downward slope. Still people getting infected. Still, people going to the hospital.”
Today, he tweeted out the following message:
“I know we all want things to go back to normal. But the worst thing that can happen is that we make a misstep and we let our emotions get ahead of logic and facts, and we go through this all over again.”
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