Italian Experts Warn Of Second Wave Of Coronavirus As Lockdown Eases

A customer enjoys a pastry outside a bar in Rome, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, as bars reopened but only for take away. Italy began stirring again Monday after a two-month coronavirus shutdown, with 4.4 million Italians abl... A customer enjoys a pastry outside a bar in Rome, Tuesday, May 5, 2020, as bars reopened but only for take away. Italy began stirring again Monday after a two-month coronavirus shutdown, with 4.4 million Italians able to return to work and restrictions on movement eased in the first European country to lock down in a bid to stem COVID-19 infections. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) MORE LESS
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May 5, 2020 9:09 a.m.

ROME — Italian experts are warning a second wave of coronavirus infections will most certainly accompany Italy’s gradual reopening from Europe’s first lockdown.

They are calling for intensified efforts to identify possible new victims, monitor their symptoms and trace their contacts

Dr. Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Superior Institute of Health, briefed a Senate committee on Tuesday about the next phase of Italy’s coronavirus pandemic. He joined experts a day after 4.4 million Italians went back to work and restrictions on personal movement were eased for the first time in two months.

Brusaferro says the key to keeping the outbreak under control lies in the early isolation of people with suspected infection, more tests and the quarantine of their close contacts. He says it will require “a huge investment” of resources for training medical personnel to monitor possible new cases. He adds any phone app that can help trace contacts, while useful, doesn’t substitute for the actions of people.

The head of the institute’s infectious disease department, Dr. Giovanni Rezza, told La Repubblica the coming weeks were essentially an “experiment” to see how the infection curve reacts to the easing of the lockdown and production shutdown.

“We are not out of the epidemic. We are still in it. I don’t want people to think there’s no more risk and we go back to normal,” Rezza told La Repubblica.

In Italy’s hard-hit northern Lombardy, tens of thousands of sick overwhelmed the health care system. Scientists say a second wave of infection would particularly hit the south, which didn’t have many infections.

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