When Milan resident Antonia Mortensen was pulled over by police while driving recently, it wasn’t for a traffic offense. It was to instruct her fellow passenger to sit in the back of the car and to check that both were wearing face masks.
Such are the tight restrictions on Italians now living in the deadliest hotspot of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Italy’s death toll is now the highest in the world at 10,023. Fatalities passed the grim milestone on Saturday, with an increase of 889 since the last figures were released on Friday, according to Italy’s Civil Protection Agency.
With 92,472 confirmed cases, Italy appears to have the highest death rate on the planet. Compare it to China, the epicenter of the pandemic, which has a roughly similar number of confirmed cases at 81,999, but under a third as many deaths, at 3,304, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
Italy now has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, which stands at more than 120,000. But the US has a fraction of the deaths, at just over 2,200.
As Italy enters its sixth week of restrictions, many are asking: why does its death rate seem so much higher than other countries?