Italy recalled this Sunday how a year ago the town of Codogno, located south of Milan (Lombardy, north), became “ground zero” in Europe, upon detecting the first positive autochthonous case of coronavirus and start a lockdown that would extend to the entire continent.
Between applause and with a music concert, the municipality of Codogno has inaugurated a steel memorial with which it honors all the dead and their families, but also the “resilient community”, without forgetting the toilets, who have been so necessary throughout all this time.
The anniversary could not be celebrated anywhere other than this small town of about 15,000 inhabitants, which a year ago became the first focus of the coronavirus in Europe.
“A year ago at this time we were trying to understand the situation that had befallen us”, said the mayor of Codogno, Francesco Passerini, at the inauguration of the memorial.
THE FIRST AUTOCHTHONIC CASE IN EUROPE
It all started on the afternoon of February 20, when the hospital in Codogno found that Mattia Maestri, a 38-year-old healthy man and athlete, was positive in coronavirus.
Dr. Annalisa Malara, 39, had decided to carry out an anti-covid test when she found a strange pneumonia that was spreading quickly and learned that days before she had had dinner with a friend who had been in China.
He skipped all the protocols, well until then Italy He only tested those who had returned from China, and decided to perform one that made Maestri “patient 1”, the first autochthonous case of someone positive for coronavirus and who had not set foot in the Asian giant.
Later it would be verified that that friend had returned from China a long time ago, that he was negative for COVID-19, also that the virus had previously circulated in the continent and that many diagnoses of common pneumonia made in the previous months were not correct. But then it was not known.
The events were precipitated: the next day, on February 21, the first death from coronavirus was reported, Adriano Trevistan, a 78-year-old Italian, infected in the Veneto region (northeast).
The Italian government confined eleven towns in the north of the country, with about 50,000 people, with the intention of curbing the spread of the virus.
But it was too late, the virus was already widespread and on March 9 Italy decreed its national confinement, a confinement that paralyzed people’s lives for two months and that was a blow to the economy and caused a crisis of which Italy, like the rest of Europe, it now has to leave.
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) described the coronavirus as a pandemic and on March 13, Spain declared a “state of alarm.”
Shortly afterwards, on March 18, a photograph went around the world: A long column of military trucks passed through the center of the Italian city of Bergamo, in Lombardy, transporting dozens of coffins of coronavirus victims for cremation elsewhere, since the cemetery had no capacity to accommodate them.
It was later discovered that Italy had a pandemic plan dating back to 2006 that had not been updated; and that, although it was out of date, it was not launched in January either, when the WHO asked countries to act with protocols to contain the virus that at that time came from China.
THE HOPE PUT IN THE VACCINES
A year later, Italy is immersed in the vaccination campaign to try to achieve group immunity as soon as possible and return to normality.
So far, 3,456,292 vaccines have been administered and 1,328,162 people are already immunized with the two necessary doses.
Experts warn that the vaccination plan must go faster, and Italian authorities blame the delay on supply cuts announced by pharmaceutical companies that deliver vaccines to Europe.
The latest has been the firm AstraZeneca, which has warned Italy that it will not be able to deliver 60,000 doses promised on time, something “very serious” according to the secretary of the Democratic Party (PD, center-left), Nicola Zingaretti.
Beyond the non-compliance of the pharmaceutical companies, Italy has already received 4,692,000 doses and for the moment it has administered 73.3%.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.