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Ten Thousand Coronavirus Deaths in Italy in Three Weeks

Medical staff in protective suits at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, Italy, March 27, 2020 (Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters)

On March 7, the coronavirus death toll in Italy was 233. As of March 28, Italy’s coronavirus death toll was 10,023.

Some skeptics of “social distancing” have suggested that if most Americans had generally carried on with life as usual, the coronavirus would not present any greater threat than the seasonal flu or car crashes, each of which kill about 40,000 Americans a year. The fact that 10,000 people have died from the coronavirus in three weeks in Italy — a country with one-fifth the population of the United States — should dispel such wishful thinking.

And keep in mind that this is the death toll in Italy weeks after lockdowns were imposed — first within the region of Lombardy on February 21 (affecting only about 50,000 people) and then on March 9 for the entire country.

The spike in the daily death toll in Italy — a record 919 coronavirus deaths were recorded on March 27 alone — does not mean that the national lockdown is not working.

There is an average five-day delay between infection and appearance of symptoms and an average 18.5 days between the appearance of symptoms and death (for those who don’t survive).

The good news out of Italy is that the daily percentage growth of new cases has been decreasing:

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