"Should anti-COVID measures in Lombardy be stricter than in other regions?" was the question asked by PXR Italy to Italians in its latest survey on 20 May. The result is that almost 7 out of 10 people (67%) think that more containment measures should be implemented in Lombardy than in other regions. Let's ask ourselves: 1. how many infections are there in Lombardy compared to the rest of Italy? 2. Why are there so many infected and dead people in Lombardy?
COVID-19: how many infections are there in Lombardy compared to the rest of Italy?
Let's start with the data that jumps out at us: half of those who have died in Italy of COVID are in Lombardy (15.6 thousand out of 32 thousand) and almost one third of those infected in Italy have been recorded in Lombardy (86 thousand out of 227 thousand). In addition to this data, of the total number of swabs carried out in Italy in the last 60 days, 1 in 5 was done in Lombardy (608.000 out of 3.1 million) (sources: Il Sole 24 Ore and Gedi Visual). As of 10 April, Lombardy would have deserved the sad title of 'the most affected region in the world' (source: IlGiorno); just to give an idea, of the total number of people who have died in the world from the Coronavirus, 1 in 21 is Lombardy (source: Google News).
Why are there so many infected and dead people in Lombardy?
The Coronavirus phenomenon (and therefore contagions and deaths) is multifactorial in nature: the causes are multiple and complex. However, it should be emphasised that Lombardy is the second most densely populated region in Italy (source: tuttitalia.it). The region where the first outbreaks were detected at the end of February, from which the contagion could have started and spread. One cause is therefore to be sought in the characteristics of the territory, while the other, which has gone unnoticed in the last 60 days, deserves much more attention. In fact, there seems to be a direct relationship between the number of cases of COVID-19 and the state of pollution by PM10 (i.e. atmospheric particulate matter). (sources: SIMA, UniBo and Università Aldo Moro and The Journal of Infection)
It is pointed out that pollution is a medium that facilitates the transmission and contagion of coronaviruses; on the other hand, Dr Antonio Frontera, a researcher at the IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele in Milan, admits that 'those who are chronically exposed to PM (or particulate matter) develop conditions that can then favour an increase in the incidence of certain respiratory viruses', adding that this theory is being studied worldwide (source: fanpage.it). And, incidentally, in 2019 the Po Valley was the most polluted area in Europe (source: Lifegate). Is it therefore time to reconsider the impact that pollution has on our lives?
However, in the light of these considerations, it is possible that the reopening of the regional borders in June will lead to a new increase in the number of infections, and the Italians, perhaps motivated by this fear, say that the anti-COVID measures in Lombardy must be stricter than in other regions.
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