The daily rate of increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths in Italy slowed by 10 percent on Wednesday, but the number of new infections surged by over 26 percent.
Deaths from the CCP virus in Italy rose by 542 on Wednesday, a lower tally than the 604 the day before, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said.
The number of new COVID-19 infections climbed to 3,836 compared with a previous 3,039, the agency said.
The total death toll since the outbreak emerged in the country on Feb. 21 rose to 17,669, according to officials.
Italian authorities said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country climbed to 139,422. The country is second only to Spain in terms of deaths from the disease in Europe. Spain’s health ministry said 757 people died over the past 24 hours, up from 743 the previous day, bringing the total death toll to 14,555.
In an encouraging sign, Italy had 3,693 people in intensive care on Wednesday against 3,792 on Tuesday, the fifth consecutive daily decline.
First Lady Melania Trump addressed the trend in a tweet on Wednesday, expressing condolences to Italy’s first lady for the country’s COVID-19 deaths.
“Hopeful that positive trend will continue in Italy & other parts of world soon,” Trump wrote.
The country 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.
96 of Italy’s Doctors Have Died Fighting Pandemic
In Italy, 96 doctors have died on the frontlines of the CCP virus outbreak, according to an Italian doctors’ association.
The editorial board of the Italian Association of Doctors (FNOMCeO) updated on Wednesday 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 one name was added on Wednesday.
“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.
The association did not specify how directly the death of the 96 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 8 count (pdf) by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS), a total of 13,522 healthcare workers in Italy have contracted the virus.
Reuters contributed to this report.