Italy’s COVID-19 Death Toll Spikes But New Infections Drop

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
April 13, 2020Updated: April 13, 2020

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 566 on Monday, up from 431 the day before, officials said.

But the number of new infections slowed to its lowest level since April 7, dropping to 3,153 from a previous 4,092.

The total death toll, since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, has risen to 20,465, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The number of officially confirmed cases in Italy now stands at 159,516, according to the agency.

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Medical responders in protective suits attend to a patient suspected of COVID-19 infection, in Rome, Italy, on March 30, 2020. (Reuters/Remo Casilli)

Italy has been under lockdown since March 9, with most shops, bars, and restaurants closed. People are forbidden from leaving their homes unless it is for essential things like getting food or medical attention.

Officials have repeatedly said the infection rate can only be brought down if strict social distancing measures remain in effect.

On Sunday in Vatican City, which is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Pope Francis called for global solidarity to confront the “epochal challenge” posed by the pandemic.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, has spread aggressively across the world, with a Johns Hopkins tally noting over 1.8 million infections globally.

The number of fatalities attributed to the CCP virus worldwide stands at over 115,000 as of April 13.

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A hospital employee tends to a patient at a temporary emergency facility set up to screen patients with COVID-19 symptoms at the Brescia hospital, in Lombardy, Italy, on March 13, 2020. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

109 of Italy’s Doctors Have Died Fighting Pandemic

In Italy, 109 doctors have died on the frontlines of the outbreak, according to an Italian doctors’ association.

The editorial board of the Italian Association of Doctors (FNOMCeO) updated on April 9 its running tally of doctors who died amid response efforts to the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, the sad list of doctors who have fallen during the COVID-19 epidemic is growing,” FNOMCeO’s board wrote in a note accompanying the tally, to which six new names were added on April 9.

“The dead do not make a noise. Yet, the names of our dead friends, our colleagues, put here in black and white, make a deafening noise,” said Filippo Anelli, FNOMCeO president, in earlier remarks to The Financial Times.

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Two nurses walk in front of the Emergency Room of the local hospital in Cremona, near Milan, Italy, on March 20, 2020. (Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

The association did not specify how directly the deaths of the 109 doctors could be attributed to COVID-19, noting that “many doctors die suddenly, even if the cause of death is not directly attributable to the virus, because there’s no buffer.”

The association said it would update the tally regularly, hoping it will serve as “a warning, a lesson for all.”

Anelli earlier made urgent calls for more personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff, telling The Financial Times that Italian doctors were being sent into a “war” against the virus “unarmed.”

According to an April 13 count (pdf) by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), a total of 16,050 healthcare workers in Italy have contracted the virus.

Reuters contributed to this report.