Italy’s coronavirus death toll feeds fear of what lies ahead in Europe and the U.S.
As death tolls mount across the continent, Italy has become a symbol of the enormous challenges facing public health authorities in Europe and in the United States, who are struggling to contain the virus.Eleven days into Italy’s nationwide lockdown, which includes travel restrictions and the closure of most stores apart from groceries and pharmacies, the number of confirmed cases still soared, with 6,557 new cases since Friday. Hospitals and morgues were overwhelmed. The government has reported 53,578 total cases, concentrated in the northern part of the country.Italy’s struggle to keep up with the virus offered a glimpse into what U.S. health officials fear could be ahead in New York and elsewhere: shortages of respirators, basic medical equipment and beds in intensive-care units.Among the help coming to northern Italy is a team of 65 Cuban doctors and nurses with experience in battling Ebola outbreaks, Italian health officials said. In Bergamo, among the most devastated areas, military trucks have lined up outside a hospital to take the dead to farther-away crematoriums.Italy now stands atop a grim list of global statistics, surpassing the death toll in China, where the virus originated. But surging rates of infection were not limited to the country.Medical workers