On February 21, 2020, the first case of Covid-19 in Italy was detected in Lodi. Soon afterwards, infections increased very rapidly not only in Lombardy, but also in three other regions of northern Italy – Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont.
On February 23, the government isolated ten municipal areas in Lodi province, Lombardy and Padua province, Veneto. On 8 March, these rules came into force throughout the Lombardy region, including Bergamo, as well as in other regions of northern Italy. Two days later they were extended to the whole country; On March 11, all restaurants, bars and shops were closed, except grocery stores and pharmacies.
On March 13, Bergamo had become the most severely affected province with 2,368 cases. In contrast, Lodi, where the outbreak in Italy started and where social distancing decisions were made most quickly, had 1133 cases.
Since Lodi introduced these measures as early as February 23, and Bergamo only March 8, these data provide empirical evidence of the success of social distancing in controlling the spread of the virus.
Italy is the second oldest company in the world after Japan. 23.3% of the Italian population is over 65 years old. So far, Covid-19 mortality rates are very high among the elderly, especially in the 80s.
In Italy, there is close intergenerational contact – adults often live together or are very close to their parents. It is also common in rich regions of the country. Even if several generations of the same family do not live under the same roof, they still meet often. As a result, the economically active generation, who are actively socializing with one another and with foreigners in their work and daily lives, became infected themselves and subsequently transmitted the disease to their parents, researchers say.
Mortality rates in Italy indicate that the disease is more dangerous for the elderly.
In the economically most active age groups, the mortality rate is around 0.2%, while in the 70-79 age group it increases to 10.8%. It reaches 17.5% in the eighties and 21.1% in the 90s.
Scientists point out that on March 12, a canton of Ticino in Switzerland, bordering Lombardy, introduced rules specifically designed to protect the elderly. The Canton Administration strongly encouraged people over the age of 65 not to look after children, participate in public or private activities, or use public transport unless it was strictly necessary. It is also recommended to avoid staying in public places.