Italian deaths from COVID-19 peaked Saturday, March 21, and then fell for two days, giving people hope that the number of deaths had peaked. But the middle of the week brought grim news when deaths starting climbing again.
Now we’re repeating the sequence, with the number of dead falling from a high of 919 on Friday to 889 on Saturday and then 756 on Sunday, bringing the total to 10,779, or more than one-third of all the deaths from the disease worldwide.
While the total number of confirmed cases rose to 97,689 on Sunday from a previous 92,472, it was the lowest daily rise in new cases since Wednesday.
But despite hopes by Italian officials that the downward trend would continue, it appeared increasingly likely that restrictions on all but essential activities that were due to expire on Friday would be soon officially extended.
Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia told Sky TG24 television:
“The measures that were due to expire on April 3 inevitably will be extended. I think that it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to talk of re-opening (schools and production sites).”
Italian media have reported that the extension could last for a further two weeks until about April 18.
In better news, the number of daily deaths in the Northern Italian region of Lombardy, which has been the hardest hit, fell sharply.
Danilo Cereda, an official from the Lombardy regional government, said:
“There isn’t an exponential rise in the data anymore, showing that what has been done is giving results.”