Millions of Italians Return to Work

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On Monday, approximately 4.5 million Italians returned to work. Italy’s social distancing measures are being relaxed after one of the world’s longest lockdowns, one that started on March 9th.

The construction sector, wholesale and certain manufacturing companies welcomed their workers back on Monday. Other aspects of life in Italy are returning to normal. Parks can reopen with social distancing measures and people can move 200 yards beyond their homes. Restaurants will now reopen their take out services.

Many social distancing measures will remain. Individuals will be required to carry documents explaining why they are out of their homes.

Italy was one of the first Western countries to be hit with the Covid-19 pandemic. It quickly became the global epicenter of the crisis. Due to high levels of smoking and having one of the world’s oldest populations, the country was particularly vulnerable to Covid-19’s worst consequences.

Currently, Italy has the 5th highest death rate in the world, 49 deaths per 100,000. In February and March, the outbreak utterly devastated Italy. Northern Italy has been far more devastated than the poorer southern region. Lombardy, which includes the northern Italy city of Milan, has the highest death rate of 143 per 100,000.

In the first week of April, the numbers of new infections and deaths began to plateau throughout the country. Since that week, the numbers have sharply declined. And though the declining numbers suggest the nation has passed through its worst period of infections, the concern is that this partial reopening may lead to a new increase in infections and deaths. The more long-term concern is that the virus may return on a cyclical bases.