The role of lockdowns and health policies for COVID-19 in Italy
In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Italy initially flattened the curve after a stringent lockdown spanning from February 23 to early May but not without casualties, with 240,760 cases and 34,788 deaths on June 30, 2020. However, increasingly lax policies saw rising cases starting in August. Italy currently sits with 423,578 cases and 36,616 deaths (October 20, 2020). This retrospective observational study aimed to assess stringency policies related to nation-wide containment and closure, as well as health system instruments, to determine their potency. The first nationally implemented policy was on January 31, followed by a battery of strong restrictions imposed on February 22-23. The Stringency Index peaked at 93.5 on April 12. However, policies were relaxed following a flattening of the curve on May 4 when the Stringency Index went from 93.5 to 63.0. Italy’s policies were essential to contain the spread of the virus initially, but the lax policies since the end of spring, especially related to school reopening, no stay-at-home and domestic travel restrictions, and reduced contact tracing, have now resurrected the COVID-19 pandemic.
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