Italy celebrates 2nd anniversary of COVID-19’s haunting milestone

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Friday was the second anniversary in Italy of a terrible milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. It was the day that a convoy made up of army trucks transported the dead from Bergamo, because the city’s crematoria and cemeteries were full.

Premier Mario Draghi opened Friday’s press conference with leaders from Spain, Portugal, and Greece. He reminded them that Friday was Italy’s Day of Remembrance for COVID-19 victim. Italians were asked by the Health Ministry to observe a moment of silence. President Sergio Mattarella paid respect to the deceased and Bergamo held an event at its living memorial, which is a park of new trees.

Mattarella declared in his tribute, “We bow down to memory of the victims.” “The pain felt by the families is shared by the entire international community.”

After the first case of infection was confirmed in Codogno, Lombard, in February 2020, Italy became the epicenter. However, Bergamo became the most severely affected province in the region. Bergamo saw a 5711% increase in deaths over the average five-year period. This was the largest increase in Italy and one the most localized increases in European mortality rates.

Footage of an army convoy weaving its way through Bergamo on March 18, 2020, carrying caskets for the dead is one of the most iconic and haunting images of the pandemic. It’s early evidence of how devastating the epidemic had affected the city northeastern of Milan.

As Italy begins to ease down its anti-virus restrictions, the anniversary of the convoy is coming. Roberto Speranza, Health Minister to Italy, announced Thursday that many of the workplace vaccination requirements, quarantine rules, and mask mandates will be relaxed in the coming weeks.

Italy has vaccinated 89.7% over its 12 years of age, surpassing 157,000 deaths from COVID.

Roberto Fico (president of the lower chamber) spoke at the Bergamo Memorial Friday. He stated that the purpose of the commemorations was not only to honor the deceased but also to make sure Italy is better prepared for next pandemic.

Fico stated that it was important to not only remember the victims and be near their families, but also to learn from what happened. Fico called for more investment in Italy’s network general practitioners and other health care providers. He also suggested that telemedicine be improved and the public health system rebuilt as a “pillar” of Italy’s social service.

He said, “We must do this to remember those that died in an active manner.”