Confronting COVID-19 in Italy

The city of Padua, one of the largest metropolitan areas in northern Italy, was destined to become the center of the outbreak. South of Milan, on the territorial boundary of Lombardy, Padua (population 250,000) and its Venetian province offer the first glimmers of hope and a model for reopening cities around the globe. Padua was the second most affected province in Italy, after Lombardy, for number of infected, hospitalized, and deceased due to the novel coronavirus. Nearly three months later, the disease is not defeated, but here, in Padua, there is a noticeable slowdown. One of the largest in Northern Italy, the hospital in Padua employs 7,276. Only 18 were ever infected.

Touring the Padua hospital offers a glimpse at how proactive planning (the hospital bought several million test kits in February when the virus broke outside of China) and strict lockdown measures have led to supreme dominance over the disease and stifling it. The hospital sits at the heart of the city, something of a common area and lifeline to the college, of which its part, and the city, many of whom are employed either directly or indirectly through hospital contracts.

Out of 60 residents from Castiglione D’Adda, one of the municipalities in the former red zone of Lodi near Padua, 40 tested positive without knowing they had contracted the disease. All asymptomatic, the volunteers escaped from official statistics: they came into contact with the disease, they did not develop it, and now they could be instrumental in getting the country out of lockdown.