CLOSE An epidemiologist answers the biggest questions she’s getting about coronavirus. WochitROME — This could be the week Italy receives some desperately needed sustained good news about the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country. If it doesn’t, it may have to tighten one of the strictest peacetime lockdowns in modern European history. Over the weekend, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called the month-long outbreak Italy’s worst crisis since World War II, and it is hard to disagree.  Doctors in the northern regions of the country have been forced to make decisions usually reserved for wartime triage tents: deciding who lives or dies when the number of respirators is outnumbered by the patients who need them. Morgues are running out of space to hold corpses. Medical staff are collapsing from exhaustion during shifts lasting as long as 36 hours. The country’s economy has ground to a halt.NIH chief Francis on COVID-19:Best response one Americans would find ‘too drastic’With more than 50,000 active cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Italy has more sick than any other country. Nearly 6,000 have died – also higher than in any other country, including China, where the outbreak began in December. Italy now has more than 3,000 patients

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