Italy was a symbol of the first wave of the pandemic. It was the first country in the world to go into a national lockdown, as its hospitals — especially in cities such as Bergamo and Cremona in the north — struggled to cope with the spike of cases and there was a sharp increase in deaths.
As fear of a second wave grips Europe, Italy appears to be coping much better than other countries such as France, Spain and the U.K. This is hardly a time for complacency; as Britain can attest, this virus can return with a vengeance. But over the last two weeks, Italy recorded slightly fewer than 35 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — compared to nearly 315 in Spain, almost 200 in France and 76.5 in the U.K. The number of average deaths stood at 0.3 per 100,000, a third of the French rate and nearly a tenth of Spain’s. Italy’s figures are only marginally worse than Germany’s, which has been praised as a model of sound pandemic management.